Any advice would be appreciated.
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.
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?
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.
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...
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.
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. :-)