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Gearing up for first western trip, what do I need?

Bene288

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Hello all,

I'm finally making it out west for the first time. We're going to Tahoe end of January and coming back the first week in Feb, hopefully with good enough health/energy/legs to attend the summit at Sugarloaf. Having never done this, and having not been on a plane since I was 8, I could use a little advice on making the trip go smoothly.

I'm the typical ski bum that just throws his stuff in the back of the pick up, so I don't have much experience with the luggage that many skiers use. I don't know what is good and what is not. What does the majority use for transporting skis/boots/poles etc? Should I get a hard ski tube or will a softer bag do the trick? What is the best way to carry boots, is buying a transpack or something similar worth it or should I just cram them into my other carry on?

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks in advance!
 

thetrailboss

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I was in your position in 2010-I had no idea what to do on our trip to Tahoe. We packed our skis (east coast 75 mm waist) and gear and checked them through. On my next trip to Colorado I only brought my boots and rented. Here's why....

First, while "one checked bag" on most airlines means a ski bag with one pair of skis, poles, AND a boot bag, some airlines will not allow you to pack anything else with those things. I know that Snowmonster has gotten away with packing clothes in his ski bag, but that might not always work. Second, though I could never prove it, it seemed to me that my skis were damage in the ski bag. And then there is the hassle of lugging your luggage AND skis in the airport...and then wishing that you had fatter skis for the deeper snowpack. So do yourself a favor: carry on your boots and rent skis. Consider it a demo week of sorts. Try out other skis. And save the checked bag for your clothes. I was able to reserve rental skis online for my Utah segment in advance and got some good deals....as in $25 per day for good demo skis (not cheapo rentals). In Colorado I rented from Loveland because I got a good ticket deal. I enjoyed talking with the local guy in the shop and he put me on the right skis for the day's conditions. That made a huge difference.

I usually carry my boots, helmet, gloves, and whatever else I can cram in my boot bag as a carry-on. I prefer to have those with me.

So that's the advice for packing. Some folks FedEx or UPS their skis...I hear that works well and is the same cost as paying to the check them in.

Other than that, do some reading on the areas you're going to visit and have fun!
 

Hawkshot99

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I went to UT a few years ago, with 4 other guys. We all packed all of our gear into our suitcases. I have a big rolling suitcase, and put all my ski gear in it, with my regular clothes. I was allowed 50#'s and it turned out to be like 52#. The lad at the counter had me through some heavy items in my backpack to avoid fees. For a ski bag I had a 2-ski soft bag with wheels. I took my Line Prophet 90's, and a powder ski + poles.(I never used the powder skis while out there)

I have always read about carrying your boots and such, but decided to "risk" it. Nobody I personally know has ever lost a bag, and after being in my seat, there is no way I could have fit my boots up top, and dont feel like holding them either.
 

wa-loaf

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Southwest is really good about checking in your skis (if you haven't booked the flight yet) and it's no charge. I have a padded ski bag I bring and haven't had any issues. How many are going? I've got one of these when bringing more than one pair: http://www.amazon.com/FULLY-PADDED-...qid=1384291606&sr=8-2&keywords=ski+bag+wheels (bonus they are a local company) I have a boot bag that holds to boots on the outside as my carryon. Makes it easy to pop the boots off if I need to get creative packing stuff in the overhead.
 

soposkier

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The past 2 years I have done a 3-4 day trip to Colorado, flying Jet Blue. I use this bag (http://www.dakine.com/p/ski/ski-bags/mens/padded-single?clr=0X1). It is softshell but has padding and is more durable than the cheap nylon bags. I have been able to get away with loading up my ski bag with clothes/gear, making sure to keep it under the 50 lb limit. I carry on a midsize backpack with my helmet and all the other clothes/gear I need and keep it under the carry on dimensional requirement. The carry on dimension limits are actually quite large (26x18x12 for JetBlue). My boots are considered my personal item, just carry on in hand and put under the seat.

Jetblue and Southwest both allow one checked bag free (others may too but those are the ones I'm familiar with).
 

skifree

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i could just imagine what stuff tsa security would find in my boot bag that i forgot about.
 

jaytrem

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What airline are you flying? There are a few that will give you 1 bag free if you have their credit card. Most will waive the annual fee for the first year and also give you lots of free miles to sign up. So if you enjoy yourself, you can go again for free next year. I've been working the system for a good 15 years and almost never pay for a flight. Can't recommend it enough for people who like to ski out west but don't want to spend a lot of money. Only catch is you need good credit and you can't go too crazy. The rule of thumb is one new credit card every 6 months.
 

steamboat1

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Just pack your ski clothes & bring plenty of money. Lugging ski's & boots is a hassle. I think Delta charged me $50 for one bag each way last time I flew, that was just luggage. Renting good equipment (ski's, boots, poles) cost about $40 a day. Rent ski's for 3 days & return them after the fourth & they won't know the difference.
 
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4aprice

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i could just imagine what stuff tsa security would find in my boot bag that i forgot about.

I would be careful about that. Each and everytime I fly west with my skis I open my bags and find the "nice" note TSA leaves saying they went through my stuff.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

Bene288

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We are flying Southwest, they offer 2 free checked bags, and you can swap out your ski gear with one checked bag. There were other flights that were a little cheaper, but then charged you around $70 to check two bags. With a length restriction of 62"

As for rentals, we both have fairly wide skis. My uncle out there uses an 83 waisted ski as his daily driver. The people at the local shop said anything over 85 is adequate for that area. But that's why I wanted to ask on here. I know a lot of you ski out west.

I'm not too worried about lugging the equipment around. Albany is a pretty small airport and is very close to my house. I don't know what to expect at San Francisco however.


Southwest is really good about checking in your skis (if you haven't booked the flight yet) and it's no charge. I have a padded ski bag I bring and haven't had any issues. How many are going? I've got one of these when bringing more than one pair: http://www.amazon.com/FULLY-PADDED-...qid=1384291606&sr=8-2&keywords=ski+bag+wheels (bonus they are a local company) I have a boot bag that holds to boots on the outside as my carryon. Makes it easy to pop the boots off if I need to get creative packing stuff in the overhead.

That bag looks like it will do nicely, I haven't found any bags at the ski shops that will accommodate my skis. What are some of the better boot bags?

Thank you, everyone, for all of your advice!
 

darent

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listen to TB, carry on your ski boots, I know people who have missed their luggage for a few days,. not a good way to enjoy your first western adventure, no boots!!I have a Dakine split roller bag ,works great, easy to handle thru airports and hotels
 

Smellytele

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Boots, goggles, helmet, gloves, hats, mittens, socks all go in my Dakine boot bag and anything else I can fit in it and carry it on. Always bring boots - Sometimes I rent ski sometimes I bring mine. If I am staying in one area I rent from a local shop if multiple areas spread-out over a larger area such as my up coming trip to CO I am going to bring mine.
With 5 of us we all carry our boot bags on, I put 2 pairs of skis in each ski bag and put clothes in them to protect the skis.
ADHD is kickin in and I am losing interest in typing and thinking about this
 

thetrailboss

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Can't say enough good things about Southwest. Since you are flying them, bringing your skis may be an option if you have a good bag and the skis are fat enough for out west.

And why are you flying to SF for Tahoe? Why not Reno?
 

C-Rex

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You don't have to bring it but before you hit the slopes make sure you have sunblock and chapstick!
 

Smellytele

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Can't say enough good things about Southwest. Since you are flying them, bringing your skis may be an option if you have a good bag and the skis are fat enough for out west.

And why are you flying to SF for Tahoe? Why not Reno?

I flew into Sacramento when I went to Tahoe. Saved about 100 clams a person - so 500 total over flying into Reno.
This year going to CO I am flying Delta and I got flights for 239 round trip while SW was charging 490. No brainer even with baggage cost. For that price we can each bring 4 bags to be up to the 490.
 

wa-loaf

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That bag looks like it will do nicely, I haven't found any bags at the ski shops that will accommodate my skis. What are some of the better boot bags?

Thank you, everyone, for all of your advice!

Same company makes these: http://www.amazon.com/TEAM-PACK-SKI...=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1384298929&sr=1-2

Just pack your ski clothes & bring plenty of money. Lugging ski's & boots is a hassle. I think Delta charged me $50 for one bag each way last time I flew, that was just luggage. Renting good equipment (ski's, boots, poles) cost about $40 a day. Rent ski's for 3 days & return them after the fourth & they won't know the difference.

I can see not bringing skis, but not having your own boots is nuts.
 

AdironRider

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You guys really buy boot bags? To each their own I suppose, but seems like a waste of money to buy a piece of nylon to protect high end durable plastics but whatevs.

To the OP - I think you are overthinking this. Ill second the advice to just rent skis and bring your boots with you. But otherwise just roll up as you would to a ski area back east. Its not that different, but don't expect many day lodges like they have back East, they play a different game out here at most places. So pack light. Boots, skiwear, that's it, unless you want to pump quarters in a locker to protect your boot bag. Seriously, just wear your boots on the shuttle.
 

SKI-3PO

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Carry on the boots, pack the clothes with the skis in a double ski bag.
 

AdironRider

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I know, right - I just wear them on the plane.
My point is that everyone has a backpack, but you guys are buying specific bags for high end, incredibly durable, pieces of plastic. You know, plastics that are designed to land 50-100 ft cliff drops, plastics that will perform from -50 to 75 degrees or so, for years on end with little maintenance. But they need their own bag to get on a plane? Just throw them in whatever you have and be done with it.
 
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