Best Tips for Travelling With Skis and Snowboards

Queenstown’s mountains are finally open for business, and our apartments are winterised for your comfort and enjoyment. So, as you look forward to bluebird days on the slopes, and our warm lakefront apartments, let’s take one stress off the table - how to best travel with ski and/or snowboard gear.

Start your Holiday Stress-Free with our Travelling with Skis' top tips

While we have many fantastic ski rental companies in Queenstown, we know that using your own equipment is preferable for many of you. That means packing, transport and flying - but with proper planning and preparation, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Here are some tips for the best way to travel with skis:

  • The most important thing is to check that you have a ski/board bag checked in with your airlines - in some cases, you may have to pay a fee, an additional fee, or just inform them before check-in (something to do with weight distribution on the plane.. and oversized packing requirements.
  • Next, check your weight limits - Know Your Airline's Policies: Familiarise yourself with your airline's baggage policies regarding ski equipment. Some airlines may consider skis as regular checked baggage, while others may charge additional fees. Be aware of any size or weight restrictions and pack accordingly to avoid any surprises at the airport. Your extra ski bag may be reserved, but check that you get the full weight amount allocated to the bag - a normal pair of skis weigh about 6-8kgs, so if you have a bag taking two pairs plus a few soft clothes to pack out your bag, you’ve quickly reached your 23kg limit (weight on most international flights)

Flying with Ski and Snowboards Queenstown NZ 2

  • Choose the Right Ski/board Bag: Invest in a quality ski bag that is specifically designed for travelling. Look for a durable, well-padded bag with sturdy zippers and wheels for easy manoeuvring. Make sure it provides enough space to accommodate your skis, poles, and other gear, but don’t get sucked into buying a bag so big that, once packed, exceeds the weight limit of 23kgs (on most domestic flights);
  • Before packing your skis, clean them thoroughly and remove any excess wax or dirt. If you’ve gone to the trouble to bring your skis down to Queenstown with you, I’d expect you’d have done this at the end of the previous season with a good storage wax. However, this will help protect your skis during transportation and prevent damage to other items in your bag. Consider using ski-specific protective gear such as ski wraps or ski socks to provide additional cushioning.
  • Ski Prep: We recommend getting them waxed and edged before flying so they are piste ready on your arrival, and you’re not left trying to get a rush job done on them the night before your first day. A little bit of pre-prep will mean a hassle-free start to your holiday!
  • Secure Your Bindings: This is especially important if your skis are waxed and edged before packing. We recommend using binding bands (like really thick, stiff rubber bands) to close your bindings, allowing you to create a little more space in your bag. It also reduces the risk of damage to your skis or other items in the bag.
  • Use Padding and Protection: Use extra padding to protect your skis from impacts and scratches. You can use bubble wrap, foam padding, or even clothing items like jackets or sweaters to create a protective layer around your skis. Pay special attention to the tips and tails, as these are the most vulnerable areas.
  • Pack Additional Gear Wisely: If you're also travelling with ski boots, poles, helmets, or other equipment, pack them alongside your skis. Utilise any available space in your ski bag efficiently. Place heavier items closer to the wheels or the bottom of the bag to maintain stability.
  • A boot bag, which you see Alpine Ski Athletes using, is a great way to travel. The bag takes your boots, helmet, protective gear, goggles, gloves, etc. And there is always room to pack in more gear to the 23kg limit. The advantage here is that you have a ‘ski’ bag on arrival so packing every morning is super easy and keeps all of your equipment in one space!
  • Consider taking your boots on the plane - any frequent skier will tell you that the one thing that they can’t easily rent (for fit, purpose and comfort) is their boots, and if you pack your boots in your undercarriage luggage, then you risk losing them with your luggage - so the simple solution is to carry them with you on the plane!Flying with Ski and Snowboards Queenstown NZ 1
  • Allow extra time to drop off your ski bag - it needs to be taken (after check-in) to the oversized luggage department, which may be a short walk away.
  • Pick up: remember that your ski/board bag will come from the oversized luggage door. This is in the far right corner of the luggage belt at Queenstown Airport, just past the bathrooms.
  • Consider a Dedicated Ski Travel Service: If you frequently travel with your skis, consider using a specialised ski travel service. These services provide convenient door-to-door delivery of your skis and gear, saving you the hassle of carrying them through the airport at both ends.
  • Label and Identify Your Bag: Attach a durable luggage tag with your contact information to your ski bag. Additionally, use distinctive markings, ribbons, or coloured tape to make your bag easily recognisable among others. This will help prevent confusion and ensure your bag doesn't get lost or misplaced.
  • Check Your Insurance: Check with your travel insurance provider to ensure your skis and equipment are adequately covered in case of loss, theft, or damage during transit.
  • Inspect Upon Arrival: When you arrive at your destination, inspect your skis and equipment before leaving the airport. If you notice any damage, report it immediately to the airline's baggage service office and file a claim if necessary, as your insurance may not cover you once you have left the airport - each policy is different, so make sure you are fully aware of what your coverage is before travelling.

By following these very simple tips, you can travel with your skis and board more confidently and enjoy your skiing adventures without worry or stress.

We look forward to having you with us this winter!

The Team at Spinnaker Bay Apartments