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Importing skis to Europe

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for some new skis, and am rather taken with the offers Bluehouse do. I'm in France and It's not quite clear how to get shipping info from them (it's listed in their FAQ, but it's not where they say it is), but I'm also wondering about customs fees. I've looked up the rates on the EU taxation site, which says ski stuff is 3.7%. Can anyone provide their experiences of importing ski gear from outside the EU?

post #2 of 8

Yeah, few years ago I got a pair of Lines from the States, thought I'd got away with duty but a few weeks after I got the skis I received a bill from custome which IIRC included duty and VAT so it was something like 20% of the cost of the skis. Made them rather less of a bargain than they were originally but given the exchange rate at the time it was still a bit less than I'd have paid over here. Also had some boarding boots sent over more recently for one of my kids (couldn't source the right size over here) and again got hit for duty and VAT - they were so heavily discounted though in the end of season sales that again they still worked out a bit cheaper than full price.


I'd suspect at the moment though unless you just can't get the item in Europe or they are seriously discounted the potential import and VAT charges might make them pretty similar in price if not more expensive but it may be different in France (still it's the EU so I'm not sure it will be).


I have heard of people who've got away with no charges though so you might be lucky but I wouldn't bet on it, particularly for somethng as large as skis.

post #3 of 8

The best way to bring skis into Europe from North America is in a ski bag, on a plane. And even then, some airlines hit you with a surcharge.


Even without customs fees, shipping charges will eat up your savings.


Unless you're making a trip to the States, or know someone who is, I suggest you buy your skis in Europe and don't fall in love with any US indie brands you can't find here.


These are two good places to buy skis on the web within the EU:



post #4 of 8

What Prickly said.


I've never been stopped at airport customs in Europe. Ever. And I've never even seen anybody else be stopped by airport customs in Europe. This includes me picking up a ski bag in August from the bulky luggage office that was located right next to the customs office.


I've been dinged by customs many times for outragous amounts on items shipped.


Ditto on Sport-Conrad, too.

post #5 of 8

Yup, you just need to buy yourself a bunch of double ski bags, get yourself a cheap airline ticket, and load up on flat skis. Make sure to choose an airline that doesn't charge to ship skis, and off you go, new boards for you, your friends and whoever. Get me some.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

I got a reply from Bluehouse quoting $270 for shipping + duty! That's a bit excessive...

VAT is 20% in France, so in theory import duty would be 23.7%. I got a couple of quotes from FedEx and UPS and shipping from them is pretty reasonable - only about $75 and it's the same for 1 or 2 pairs. So for a $350 pair of skis that would be 350 + 75 = 425, plus 350 * 0.235 = 82.95, total of $507.95, which is about £321 or €373. That's not a bad price for a decent pair of skis, but as you say it's not a huge saving.

Think I'll probably hold out until the local ski sales around here in November - last year I picked up a pair of K2 Apache Recons for €125. Since I earn in £, the improved exchange rate will make it even more worthwhile.

post #7 of 8

There are some nice deals on both those sites I linked in, and shipping's like 15 euros. They still have the K2 Coombas I bought last year on Sport Conrad, and there's a good deal on one of the Volkl models on Telemark Pyrenees. If I don't buy them first. Which I won't. Cause I don't need any more skis. Really. I don't. Not even looking. At this time.

post #8 of 8

You might also want to check out the Birdos ski site out of Andermatt.

Edited by prickly - 9/29/10 at 11:43am
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