Best & Safest Ski Locks Of 2023 (Prevent Ski Theft)

by Simon Knott | Published: November 8th, 2022 |  Buying Guides

The theft of ski equipment is a growing worldwide trend that increasingly attracts thieves to more upmarket resorts, where they can take their pick of expensive brands. There are two main types of ski locks - ski racking or a permanent fixture - which wrap around your skis to a solid object.

The inexpensive cost and convenience of using a ski lock on the slopes make it a must. Getting your skis stolen creates all sorts of hassle and it can really take the edge off the enjoyment of your vacation.


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Here's what you'll need to protect your skis from theft while you visit a restaurant or shop on the slope.

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Do You Really Need A Ski Lock?

When you are skiing on vacation, it’s easy to become lulled into a false sense of security. Arriving at a slopeside restaurant, you lean your skis and poles against the racks and head off to get something to eat. The sun's shining, and everyone's in a good mood; what could go wrong?

The sheer number of skis on the racks gives the illusion of strength in numbers, so it’s difficult to understand how the skis could get stolen. However, they do get stolen, and there is big money in stolen skis.

In January 2020, a US executive of a ski company received a six-year sentence and a $250,000 fine for stealing skis on an industrial scale to the tune of $6 million.

Many people don’t take any precautions at all, and then when they discover their skis have disappeared, they must return to the resort to make a police report and inform the ski shop if the skis were rentals.

One of the simplest ways of avoiding theft is to give one of your skis to a buddy, and you take one of his. When you leave them on the rack, they are clearly a mismatched pair and won’t be attractive to a thief.

Key Takeaway: Thieves are generally lazy and look for easy pickings.

They want to spend the minimum amount of time sussing out the racking area, so they don’t attract attention. So, if you have swapped a ski with a buddy and kept the two sets of skis well apart from each other then most thieves will move on to easier pickings.


Logically, thieves often choose to operate where the price of the skis is higher. Clearly, they will prefer to steal a pair of skis costing $800 over a pair costing $300. So, thieves tend to target more upmarket ski resorts. These theft hotspots include such resorts as Davos in Switzerland, Ischgl in Austria, and Whistler, BC, Canada.

Key Takeaway: Thefts don’t always take place by the side of the runs and skis are stolen throughout the year from the basements and garages of homes, which have been left unlocked.

What’s the best way of avoiding ski theft?

The easiest way is to split your skis and place them in different ski racks. If you have expensive skis, it is also advisable to use any lockable ski lockers at base stations or at busy restaurants.

How Do You Secure Your Skis When Skiing At A Resort?

Alpe DHuez
Photo by Ian Gratton under CC BY 2.0

Even with cheaper ski rentals, it is worth securing your skis and poles when you have to leave them to go into a restaurant or shop. It takes a little extra effort but nothing like the effort you must put in if they are stolen, where you must make reports to the police and ski company, which all eats into your valuable vacation time.

The Different types of Ski Locks

There are several different types of ski locks, which all have different advantages and disadvantages. The main types include:

1. Benefits of Cable Locks

These are the most used ski locks, a low-cost and effective solution. Typically, the housing contains a retractable cable, which can be extended to wrap around your skis and poles and then secured against a rack or other permanent fixture.

Once the cable is secured around the skis the end of the line can be pushed back into the housing to lock it in place. There are different styles of locking so that you can choose between a key or a combination lock.

  • Precision Works Racing 1 Ski Lock

Uses a steel casing and a longer-than-usual 72-inch braided steel cable with PVC coating, so it won’t scratch ski equipment. The cable coils after stretching, enabling it to be easily carried around in your pocket. Combination lock with 3 tumblers.

  • 4605D Ski Lock

The Master Lock comes with a 36-inch retractable 2.4mm braided steel cable that is vinyl coated and retracts back into the housing at the push of a button. Not ideal for bikes.
  • Bosvision Ultra-Secure Ski Lock

It features a 36-inch retractable steel cable of 2.4mm in diameter which is coated with vinyl. The cable retracts into the housing with a spring-loaded button.

2. Benefits of Tether Locks

The second most popular type of ski lock is the tether lock. They are similar to cable locks but tend to have a stronger build and more heavy-duty parts, extending the security they offer but naturally making them slightly heavier. Once again, the locking mechanism can be either via a key or a combination lock.

It’s worth noting with cable and tether locks that you need to loop the cable through a fixed part of the item you are looking for to achieve maximum security. For example, the ski binding on a ski is an ideal site to pass the cable through.

Additionally, when choosing a cable or tether lock it’s best to go for one where the cable is sheathed in plastic. Over time the friction of metal cables against skis or snowboards can cause damage.

  • Reinforced clamp and cable

The Ski Lock company offers metal and plastic clamp design, which works in conjunction with a wraparound cable. The clamp opens and wraps around the waist of your skis before shutting to secure them.

Ski poles can be attached to the outer edge of the clamp and then the plastic-coated cable is used to tie the skis and poles to a ski rack or permanent fixture. The locking mechanism is made of stainless steel, and the clamp's body is made from aluminum to keep it lighter.

  • Ski Key Systems

A novel take on ski security is offered by Ski Key Systems, which has been growing across Canada and the US since 1989. You purchase an individual or family lock, which enables you to lock your skis in the company’s dedicated racking, which is now installed in over 100 ski resorts.

However, there are similar systems operating throughout Europe.

The key is small and inexpensive, and the racking offers superior security. You do have to carry the key around with you during the day and if you lose it, it will take some time to arrange for the removal of the lock.

The locks are suitable for snowboards, and junior skis and you can also secure your poles.

Do You Enjoy Other Types Of Activities Throughout The Year?

Avoriaz Ski
Photo by Andre Bach under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you enjoy getting out on the mountains during the warmer months with your mountain bike, then make sure you buy a lock, which is versatile enough to lock your skis and your bike.

Stay Safe with Ski Security

Simple Measures for an Enjoyable Vacation

  • Travel Insurance checks if your owned or rented equipment is covered and to what value. Do you need specialist cover? Rental companies offer insurance but it’s often expensive. Make your plan before you leave and read the small print.
  • Serial numbers if you rent your skis take a photo of the serial number and the rental company. If you own your skis take a photo of the serial number and note the shop, you bought them from.
  • Mark your equipment mark your personal equipment with your name, cell phone number, and the name of your accommodation. This will speed up the return of your gear if it gets lost.
  • Keep your rental receipt the ski shop should have full details of the transaction but with the receipt, you can demonstrate you are the person who rented the equipment.
  • Stolen equipment as soon as you realize your equipment has been stolen notify the police and the rental shop as soon as possible. You will need a police report to make any kind of insurance claim.

Final Thoughts

Keystone United States

With the effort of buying and using a simple, inexpensive ski lock, you can protect yourself from the frustration of having your ski equipment stolen. It would be easy to lose an entire skiing day, making police reports, notifying your rental company, and organizing replacements.

Key Takeaway: Ski locks are a cheap and lightweight investment & in my opinion worth every penny.