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Safest way to pack skis with an ariline?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I am flying to some ski resorts this winter, and for the first time I have skis to pack. What is the safest way trasport them: a soft case, a hard case, etc.? Are locks an issue?

Thanks, Mainiac
post #2 of 36
A hard case is definitely the safest. If you do use a soft case pack you underwear, socks, pajamas and anything else you don't mind getting wrinkled in the soft case to provide padding. As for locks, they are an issue with airline security. If they decide to check your bag after its been checked in they will cut off the lock.
post #3 of 36
I always just use a soft case when I fly, I have a case with a little bit of padding that holds 2 pair. I'm sure a hard case would be better protection but you should be ok with a soft case. Airlines don't allow you to use locks anymore on any baggage but you can get little plastic tabs that you have to cut off to get into the case. 1
post #4 of 36
Can the idea of Sport Tubes to carry your skis on the airlines. Not only are they a bitch to pack, they are more of a pain trying to load in an S.U.V. on on the way to the Resort. Been there, done that. You can't lock them anymore either which brings about the use of wire ties or twisty ties to try and hold the tubes together in transit.

From now on all I use are the old double ski bags with the skis wrapped in old beach towels and other articles of ski clothing. This way the load on the luggage rack with only a few bungi straps to hold them there. Anyone who wants my Sport Tubes can have them for free cause i'll never use them again.
post #5 of 36
I have developed my own method that is the most satisfactory I've yet found. I have had cardboard boxes custom made that fit both my fat and slalom race skis (each in a separate box) with skis placed binding to binding. Two boxes (both skis) fit snugly into a salamon bag (the only double bag I have found that doesn't taper at the ends). This protects the skis and makes it very easy to pack as I leave the boxes in the bag. Transport is easy and these can be directly bungied unto any car rack or even a car roof with a non-sliding pad to protect the paint and keep them from moving. The boxes allow me to put in shovel handle, probes, tools, clothing, etc. quite easily and even with two pairs of skis and equipment are under a common 50 pound limit (at least on Northwest).

The cardboard boxes were pretty inexpensive and I bought a dozen of them. They easily lasted the whole season last year (about 5 or 6 trips) on planes and cars. I will probably replace them with new ones for the new year although I don't think I really have to yet.
post #6 of 36
two additional pieces of advice:
- don't rely on interlocked ski brakes to hold your skis together during transit. Use the strappy things that are sold to secure them. This prevents them from being torqued apart by the airline baggage gorillas and scraping the edges against one another and agaisnt the bases.
- I think that the poles are at even more risk than the skis (have had one pair of mine, and one of my son's bent, and never had skis damaged). Use the previously mentioned padding techniques for them, too.
post #7 of 36
post #8 of 36
I think all of the above ideas are good. Whatever you do you can be sure some idiot is going to throw your skis.
post #9 of 36
I've got about 5 plane trips with skis under my belt. Here is my limited experience speaking.

Your skis are either gonna be OK, or not. I'm not being facetious.

I've seen skis shipped in everything from Sportubes to a 3 mil plastic bag with a twist tie. Most arrive OK.

I've used a heavily padded High Sierra double ski bag and had the wheels torn off, straps ripped off, and the ski brakes forced through the bag.

I'd buy a well padded bag, pad the skis with clothes, cardboard, etc., and hope for the best. Sportubes do offer superior protection, but a good point was made about them being a bit cumbersome.

Most importantly, inspect your planks upon arrival, as the airline is responsible for any damage.
post #10 of 36
Rio. Pajamas???
post #11 of 36
I have flown many dozens of times over the years with my skis along. I have used both the Tube and ski bags.They both work. I've had skis mis-directed on occasion but never damaged with either system. However, since 9-11 I have elected not to use the Tube.

Since you can no longer lock your Tube because of security requirments at the airport, you are relying on Airport personel to remember to correctly lock or thread your jury rigged ties through three corresponding holes that must be properly aligned for the Tube to remain secure.

Security personel handle a lot of bags and depending on your travel connections, they may not have a lot of experience with the Tube. If the Tube is not properly secured, the risk you run is that it can slide apart and out come your skis and poles. : Mistakes happen.

SportsTube has just come out with what is supposed to be "idiot proof" fastener to replace the lock although I haven't seen it yet. Zippers and straps on bags are something you can reasonably expect security personel to understand.

Bags are easier to manouver in the close confines of an automobile and have more room to pack extra things. On the other hand, The Tube has wheels while many bags don't. The Tube will probably last longer than a bag if you fly a lot. Bags tend to develop rips and abrasions over time. Zippers can fail. Tubes can aquire dents and it can be a tight fit get your skis and poles into one.

With a bag, I strap my skis together with ski ties and wrap them in newspaper reenforced at the tips and tails with extra layers secured with masking tape. Sometimes I pack extra things in the bag, sometimes not. Never had a problem. [img]smile.gif[/img]

If SportTube's new fastener is indeed "idiot proof" then for me the choice would depend on how much room there will be in the vehicle when I arrive at my destination and whether I need extra room to pack things or not. If vehicle or packing space is not an issue I would feel fine with the Tube.

[ September 25, 2003, 02:33 PM: Message edited by: Lostboy ]
post #12 of 36
I, too, have had good luck travelling with the Sporttube. Rather than being cumbersome, I find that the wheels make it easier to manuever through the airport.

Just ordered the "idiot proof" clip from Sporttube, it is basically a 2" pin with a thin semi-circular spring clip to prevent it from slipping out. It seems like it should work, as long as the baggage handlers don't misplace it.

PS - WOW! finally my first post.
post #13 of 36
Welcome to Epic Ski. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #14 of 36
Welcome, crashagain!

Check this out. My daughter brought me her old snowboard on her last trip to see me.

She got an old blanket at Goodwill, and duct taped the shit out of it. It rode on the plane just fine, was easy to spot, cost $3 for the blanket and $2 for duct tape, and there's enough tape left over for the trip home, just toss the roll in your bag. I'm sure it works for skis. She had no problem with it as far as security went. She just told them what it was.

It may look like hell, but it was VERY well padded!

[ September 25, 2003, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Bonni ]
post #15 of 36
Pack your ski socks around your bindings. Wrapp bubble wrap around top and bottom so your edges don't slice your bag etc. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #16 of 36
Take an old sleeping bag and unzip it completely. Lay your skis on either edge of the bag and start rolling. Once they're tightly rolled into two little tubes of fabric, secure them with a bungie cord and stick them into your carrying bag. Add poles and you're set.

[ September 25, 2003, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: Zacman1987 ]
post #17 of 36
I have 2 double sport tubes, last season I shipped both with 2 pairs of skis fedex to colorado, the next month when I took a trip to utah we checked them at the airport, both times when driving we bungied the tubes to the ski racks, no problem even at 70 mph from salt lake to alta & park city, that being said there is not enough room inside the tubes to really protect the skis, you have to remember these tubes were designed for straight skis with low mounted bindings not the ski & binding combos we have now, a year or so ago I spoke with the owner of sportube about changing the size of the tube & he told me that tooling cost were to high to do that, as for the idiot proof clip you can buy it at any hardware store, last season I used them but had to drill the holes to 1/4" diameter & used a 1/4" pin, I am going to change to the heavy dual bags with wheels.

Lars you might want to list your tubes on ebay, they will bring a pretty good price.
post #18 of 36
Zacman - I know you suggested "an old sleeping bag", but I would probably change that recommendation to "a disposable sleeping bag". I think the probability of something sharp cutting or poking through the normal thin nylon shell of most sleeping bags is high.

Bteddy said:

> ...you have to remember these tubes were designed for straight skis with
> low mounted bindings not the ski & binding combos we have now...

FWIW, I have had no problems getting a pr of 184 10ex's and a pr of 190 Explosivs (with Look turntable bindings that stick way up) in a SportsTube of last year's vintage. Its a bit tight, but if you take your time and do it right, it can be done.

While tubes can be wheeled through the airport, I find that simultaneously pulling a double tube and a big suitcase behind me (the suitcase fully loaded with both ski and business clothing) can be quite a chore, and I usually wind up getting a cart. If you do this, you might as well have a ski bag as a tube since you can put the bag on the cart, and bags do go into most rental vehicles more easily.

Tom / PM
post #19 of 36
I've travelled with the same soft ski bag for years and had no troubles. It's a good quality one and the canvas is strong. I always end up packing heaps of other things in it like my towel, ski jacket, polar fleece, gloves, beanie etc etc so they end up pretty well padded - and leaves extra room in my backpack.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great ideas! And for the record, I am never going through Newark Intl. dead or alive again.
post #21 of 36
I've had airlines destroy 2 pais of skis in soft bags. The headache of dealing with the airlines was too much to take. I will never put my skis on an airplane again without a hard case. Yes, you can buy or make a pin to hold it closed. You might want to take a piece of string and tie the pin to the handle to keep it from getting lost.

I find the tube a much easier way to carry and transport my skis than a soft bag because it has wheels and you can hold it from one end and wheel it around. Especially if you are lugging two pair of skis. Also, putting a sport tube on top of a rental car is at least as easy as putting a soft bag on the car. I find it easier. I carry bungie cords and just strap them over the case. It's easier because the case is rigid, and you don't have to run the bungie cords back and forth over the bag 4 times to get it tight enough.

One bit of warning with the case, though. When you first get it, take the nuts off the wheels and put some loc-tite and lock nuts on them. I've had the nut fall off and the wheel fall off while walking through an airport. Luckily, I was able to back track and find all the parts.
post #22 of 36
Skis are unbelievably durable, only thing that messes them up is if the seperate, I take a plastic shopping bag and wrap it around the base and then around the tip of the ski and do the same with the tails. The I duck tape the skis together, with about 4 good passes of duct tape, right over the shopping bag. When you get there just cut off the tape, and the shopping bag keeps you from getting duck tape glue all over you skis, two skis ducked taped together are virtually indestructable, then just toss them in a $20 ski bag and your all good.
post #23 of 36

You've obviously never had your skis dragged down a tarmac at high speed, then run over by a luggage train! : They're not that indestructable.
post #24 of 36
I like my Sportube a lot. We have replaced the lock with a nut-and-bolt assembly, plus instructions taped to the case to HOPEFULLY get the airline/security to put it back together right, if they have to open the case. Supposedly, if it's just the skis/poles in the case, they will be able to identify the contents without a need to open it - maybe.

Northwest did manage to damage the case, amazingly enough. Sheared the wheel on one side off and put a major dent in the case. They must have literally dropped the case off of a plane to cause that amount of damage. Somehow managed NOT to damage the skis (thankfully, the shorter set of skis were on the damaged side of the case). Didn't fight for a replacement - it still works, its only $160, and they'd just damage a new one anyway...plus, ours is covered with cute stickers from all the places we've skied (lame, but sentimental).

I don't trust the airlines one bit. If they are damaging my hard case, I shudder to think what they are doing to soft cases. Actually, I know...in Calgary, we watched them (American) spin a luggage cart around on the tarmac and cause all the ski bags on top of the cart to go flying onto the ground....then, the handlers just dragged the bags over to the plane...nice. No wonder I hate to fly.
post #25 of 36
Wow john, that stinks, however unless the ski tube is made out of aircraft grade titanium tubing I think those poor skis were doomed regardless I guess my point was the skis are 'tough when together, in my opinion as tough as any plastic tube you can store them in anyways
post #26 of 36
Because you are only allowed two checked bags, and one will be your skis getting the most out of the other is important. A friend bought a snowboard bag with wheels just to use as his second bag. IT HOLDS A TON OF STUFF!

I agree with the others. Pack as much stuff in with your skis as you can. Typically, if I'm going to ski half a day prior to flying I'll use the ski bag for my ski pants, hat, gloves (not goggles), parka, etc.

post #27 of 36
Originally posted by saddlebackattack:
Ditto that. I never trust luggage to the airline if I can avoid it. If budget allows, renting may be a viable option.

Think of the different skis you'd get to demo!
post #28 of 36
John, were you actually clipped into your skis when they were being 'dragged down the tarmac at high speed'? Cos I reckon that'd be cool. Steve Segal eat your heart out!
post #29 of 36
Welcome, crashagain, I see you are from my neck of the woods. This weekend is open house at Boston Mills, check it out.

Since the 1950s we have used soft ski bags for airline travel, sometimes several times a winter, domestic and overseas and have never had any trouble. I usually place a piece of cardboard between them at the contact poing and wrap duct tape to keep the from sliding. always one pair and poles in each bag. No problems, lucky I guess.

post #30 of 36
Some airlines (at least Northwest & Continental) count a ski bag and boot bag as only 1 item. Makes it a little easier to pack for long trips.

Thanks, I'll definitely be at BMBW this weekend.
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