How To Travel with Ski Equipment (Flying Guide)

by Robert Stanley | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

So you're planning a ski vacation abroad and you're wondering how on earth you're going to travel with your ski gear? Traveling with skis or a snowboard can be awkward, especially if it's your first time. They’re bulky, oversized, and heavy to carry around. But there's nothing better than surfing through waist-deep powder with your trusted ski gear.

First, you will need to buy a soft travel bag for your equipment. As tempting as it is to throw in your ski boots with your skis and poles, you're much better off packing them with your check-in luggage. This is a precaution in case your ski gear gets lost along the way, then at least you'll have your boots with you.

Boarding a Plane

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In addition, you will need to ensure that your gear makes it to your destination without any damage. Ski bindings and tips will need to be protected by a buffer such as a bubble wrap. Before diving into the nitty-gritty details, let’s address the most pressing questions.

How Expensive Is Traveling With Ski Gear?

Travel with Ski
Photo by Risto Kinnunen licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Determining the exact amount you have to pay is tricky. There’s no set cost for flying with ski equipment. The prices vary according to different baggage fee policies. If you're a frequent flier, ask your service provider if they offer discounts for oversized gear.

For the rest of us normals, we recommend booking your winter holiday with a carrier that doesn't charge extra for skis and boots. Sometimes this is not always possible, and in this case, it's better to look into your chosen airline's fees for oversized baggage.

Packing Your Ski Equipment

There is nothing worse than realizing mid-flight that you've forgotten something important at home, especially during a ski trip! Make sure your ski trip is an epic one with our ski travel packing guide.

1. Clothing for Skiing

This is an obvious one! Ensure that you have every piece and layer packed so that you're not spending single second shivering on the ski lift. This includes a waterproof and insulated ski jacket, ski pants, and additional layers such as a wool sweater, thermals, and a neck warmer. Don't forget your woolly hat and warm thermal socks, too!

2. Skiing Accessories

Now it’s time to focus on the gear. First, get your helmet and goggles. Sunglasses are a must-have too.
Your skis and snowboard should be next on your list. Don't forget the ski poles, boots, and bindings either. If you’re new to this, pack some protective gear as well.

3. Apre Clothing

You should include warm but casual clothes in your packing list for lounging around the hotel. Pack plenty of warm socks, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and an extra pair of heated gloves - in case your other gloves don't dry in time!

4. Everyday Necessities

This part isn’t a must-have. You can always find these items in a store. Or, your chosen hotel will provide them to you. But consider carrying a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other items you can't be without.

5. Everything Else

Got your pre-purchase lift tickets? You don't want to leave those behind! Pack your camera too. You want these memories captured. Don’t forget the charger as well!

Can You Pack Anything Else with the Ski Equipment?

Honestly, it all comes down to the airline you’re flying with. You can squeeze in a pair of boots for some without additional costs. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to call up the help center of your chosen airline and ask them any questions. This way you can avoid all sorts of financial surprises.

When Do You Get Your Ski Equipment after Landing?

Like most other baggage, You can find your ski equipment at the baggage claim. You can also find your gear in the oversized luggage area.

Tips for Travel with Ski Equipment

Photo by Risto Kinnunen licensed under CC BY 2.0

Flying with sports equipment is no easy feat. Every airline has different sets of rules and regulations.

Pro Tip: To find cheap flights to ski resorts, we use Skyscanner, which searches all airlines in one go.

It’s hard to stay up to date. However, it’s advised to check with the airline website. Baggage-checking rules change often. It’s best to keep track of the changes. Rules can change on a whim. Double-checking is the key to successful traveling.

Here are some general rules you should follow:

  • Double-check the price while checking in. Make sure your airline can accommodate the equipment. Carry a standard-sized bag. You get the gist. Keep pictures of your equipment if you need to make a damage claim.
  • Traveling with ski equipment is an expensive process. However, you can master the tricks and make things easier for your bank account. Here are some assured traveling methods.

Securing Your Ski Equipment while Flying

Showing up to the airport with your skis and poles untied is terrible. You won’t be just damaging your goods, but also increasing your bills too. Purchase a travel bag designed for ski equipment. Find items that accommodate your snowboards and boots too. These bags range from zip-ups to padded bags. You can also find hard bags which offer better protection.

The price ranges are drastically different too. For example, you can find cheap bags that only hold your boots. Or you can find a high-end model which carries almost everything. They also come with sturdier straps!

Some snowboard bags can even act as your luggage. They can hold your boots and clothes for the long journey. As long as your boot and ski bags weigh under a certain amount, airlines will consider them single baggage. Research airline baggage policies before purchasing your tickets. Some airlines allow you to carry a specific type of bag only. Soft bags are generally preferred. However, skis and poles are best taken in hard bags. It’s safer this way.

Here’s how you should secure your gear:

  • Strap your poles to the skis. There’s no way they would separate in transit. Next, wrap your bindings, tips, and tails with a cloth. This action keeps everything in place.
  • Then, lay the ice axes or probes parallel to the entire package. You can use rolling ski bags or duffle bags for your luggage. If you plan on heli-skiing duffle bags are easier to carry in helicopters.
  • Your crampons should go with your skis. Or, you can just pack everything up in one place.

Your Carry-On: Take Your Critical Ski Equipment

There’s one critical move you should do while traveling through airports. Considering what you'll pack in your carry-on bag. In general, these should be critical items such as your ski boots, headlamp, gloves, ski gloves, goggles, and a base layer. That way, if your checked-in luggage takes a surprise detour then you can at least still hit the slopes with rental gear. The last thing you want is to be the odd duck out sitting back in the hotel while the rest of your travel party is having fun on the slopes.

Minimalism Is Key


The secret to skiing trips is minimalism. Don’t carry extra bags that you don’t need on your journey. Carry a large bag as a carry-on, and that’s it. Keep your boots with you. It’s an essential item, remember? Get a bag with zips if you want to carry your laptop. This section will hold your device securely. Also, if you start packing extra bags, your costs will rise. Don’t fall into the overcharge penalty trap. Finally, don’t carry doubles of everything. You don’t need that camera lens you never use. Similarly, you don’t need four or five jackets. Smart packing is key!

Final Thoughts

Traveling with ski gear can be a hassle, especially if it's your first time. But skiing with your own gear that you know inside out is a million times better than the rental gear most ski fields offer. It all comes down to researching what your airline provides!