Air travel w/ Skis
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7 users
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(Anonymous)
January 30, 2002
I'm heading off to the Alps, but this will be the first time I bring along my own skis. Does anyone know the proper method for packing skis in a ski bag to minimize damage by rough baggage handlers? Specifically, should the skis be placed with the SIDES of both bindings touching the bag bottom (or alternatively, one on top and the other on bottom)? Also, the bag is "padded" in the center area, but should I add additional padding with towels, etc. And finally, is it likely that poles will get bent if placed together with the skis?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Rich
January 30, 2002
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Do it all the time...spend more time Euro-skiing then US. Cheaper and bigger, and edible food, not the gray burgers US ski areas are known for. I'm doing the Portes du Soleil (Morzine,FR) on Friday! I too have the double-ski padded bag. I pack skis base-to-base as normal with Velcro to hold together, and put rubber caps on the pole tips. I lay all my pants long wise and tuck rolled up underwear and t-shirts where ever. I put sneakers on the ski tips. You can easily fit 2 ski outfits and day/nightwear. Basically, that's my luggage! That and the boot bag for smaller items will last me 1-2 weeks in the Alps. We all laugh at these 1st time travelers that look like they're in the witness relocation program! You can tell the inexperienced flyer by the luggage. I've never lost or damaged anything.
Jim
January 30, 2002
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
David:

With post September 11 security, its best to check with your airline. For example, family and I are heading to Colorado in March. Frontier Airlines has explicitly told us NOT to pack anything BUT skis and poles into the ski bag. This is so they can more easily x-ray and possibly open the bag to check the contents (lots of metal in skis - remember!). We were explicitly told that packing anything else but skis and poles in a ski bag would slow the check in process and that they would count the ski bag as one of our two free alloted bags (normally, skis don't count towards that allotment). As for damage, I go out west every year. I have not had a problem (knock wood) with skis and poles packed in a ski bag without anything more than the padding inherent in the bag. There was one time that one of the luggage tags got coated in grease that got all over my gore-tex jacket before I noticed - but I made a claim right away and the airline ended up buying me a new jacket! If you are really concerned, there are hard sided ski bags out there that do a great job of protecting your skis. Good luck and have fun.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 30, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Wow. A lot of us our traveling to Europe soon! I guess I am not the only one trying to save money and ski the Alps for my 2001-2002 destination trip: A Sachar Torte beats a stale chocolat chip cookie any day. :-)

I'm heading out this weekend.

I bought a Sports Tube with wheels for my skis and will carry my boots and clothing in a boot/cargo combo bag manufactured and sold by LLBean.com. The bag has a detachable lower section for boots that has hard, plastic walls, and an upper section (kind of like a duffle bag), for clothing. Pretty cool and not too expensive. The bag also has wheels and a telescopic handle. I use it now for all my travel needs--not just skiing.

As Jim suggests, I will probably not pack any other gear in the Sports Tube. However, my airline did say that I could lock the tube so as to protect my children (Volkl G-31s). :-) Apparently, they don't inspect luggage without the owners watching.

An article in Ski Magazine said to expect a few hassles if traveling with skis. It will be interesting to see how many hassles we will have to contend with.

What about European trains? Does anyone have experience bringing skis on board. I'm renting a car, but got screwed on the extras:

ski racks and chains: 58 Euros
Winter Fee: 3.3 Euros per day
Airport Fee: 13 percent
VAT: 20 percent
Extra Driver: 38 Euros

Next year, I am seriously considering public transit. Can anyone comment on the ups and downs of renting versus public transit in the Alps. I know Switzerland has a great train system but what about Austria, Italy, and France?

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
January 30, 2002
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
European travel is unquestionably more civilized than Stateside travel - particularly in the ski-friendliness category and general customer support. Frankly, I try not to fly on American flag carriers unless I go business or first class, primarily because they (US carriers) have lost any clue as to customer support and I DO mind being treated like a tempest-tossed refugee and having the legroom of a XVIII-century slave ship.

Since you brought up the issue of trains, skis and appropriate receptacles are OK in Europe. Everyone does it. And as a matter of fact, besides the excellent train system in Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, in short, the entire EU, has a friendly, timely, efficient and courteous intracontinental train system. Real china, real table silver, real white cloth on the table. Great way to meet very hospitable and friendly people. Renting a car in Europe is a general pain in the derriere...

I do have a double sportstube where I put the skis, poles, and ski wear, and then have the other check-in piece with regular clothes. Boots are in a back-pack with the toiletries.

Lou

Rich
February 1, 2002
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
To David R. & johnfmh:

Just where & when are you going? I'm leaving tonite from Dulles for Morzine. I'm trying to think of someting in the US that beats Euro-skiing (price, size, food)...nope...still thinking...

JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 1, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
I hear it's not the best year for snow in the Alps either, but I'm sure it's got to be far better than our situation. Hope you Alpine adventurers bring back some scoop and photos of your trips. I'm jealous.
ski_guy_59
February 2, 2002
Member since 11/9/2001
221 posts
heck, john can type up a report too even! Please, John?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
February 5, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I am at St. Anton in Austria. I will be there until Saturday and then I head to Slovakia to ski Strbske Pleso.

I skied St. Anton on Sunday, Zurs on Tuesday, and Lech today. (BTW, I am writing this from a net cafe in STANTON). St. Anton was some of toughest skiing I have ever done. Almost every easy trail was harder than Cupps. Lech and Zurs were much easier and equally satisfying as far as the views and scenary were concerned. I intend to file a full tip report complete with photos when I return.

Cheers,

John

PS St. Anton has plenty of snow on top 2 thirds of the mountain plus snow on access trails to the bottom and Zurs and Lech are totally covered. Snow is expected tomorrow and the next day. Euro lifts and grooming are spectacular.

PPS Getting through Dulles was a breeze! High security but very quick and efficient. Skis were no problem!!!!

PPPS You can easily ski 25,000 feet of vertical in day here. Needless to say, my body is trashed. Everything is SORE, but skiing takes away the pain. :-)

JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 6, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Outstanding John. Looking forward to it.
Rich
February 11, 2002
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Just got back from Morzine (Portes du Soleil). More territory then most US areas all combined. I did get to do the 60 mile circuit through 2 countries. Where do you find skiing this big for $24/day...hint: not in the US!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 11, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Hey Rich, tell us a little more about Morzine. Big vertical? Any real nice lifts? Do you have to ride a lot of t-bars in the Alps? Isn't Morzine in French alps, a little south of Albertville/3 Valleys? How was the snow this year? Do you go alone or with tour package? Standard ski week or different schedule? Where did you ski into Switzerland? How did it compare to other alpine resorts?
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