How to Transport Cross Country Skis: Tips for a Smooth Adventure

If you’re an avid cross country skier, there’s no doubt that at some point, you’ll find yourself needing to transport your precious gear from one location to another. Whether it’s for a thrilling weekend ski trip or a big move across the country, knowing how to properly and safely transport your cross country skis is essential. In this post, we will cover various methods of transportation and offer tips on how to keep those skis in top shape during the journey. So grab a hot cup of cocoa, sit back, and read on as we guide you through everything you need to know about transporting cross country skis.

Choosing the Right Ski Bag

The first thing you’ll need when transporting your skis is a high-quality ski bag. This will not only protect your valuable equipment but also make carrying them much easier.

Soft Ski Bags

Soft ski bags are made with durable padded materials and provide basic protection against scratches and dings. Most soft bags come with either shoulder straps or handles which make for easy carrying. They are usually less expensive than hard cases but might not provide enough protection if your skis are being transported by air or with other heavy items.

Hard Ski Cases

Hard ski cases offer more robust protection than their soft counterparts due to their rigid construction. These cases can withstand rough handling during transport and are great for air travel or long road trips where extra care is needed. However, hard cases can be heavier and more expensive than soft bags.

When choosing between a soft bag or hard case, consider factors like budget, method of transportation (air vs car), and how frequently you’ll be traveling with your skis.

Preparing Your Skis

Once you’ve selected the ideal bag/case for your needs, it’s time to prepare the skis themselves for transit. Taking these simple steps will help prevent any damage to your skis and ensure they arrive at their destination in peak condition.

  1. Clean Your Skis: Before packing your skis, make sure they are clean and dry. Wipe off any dirt or snow with a cloth and use a scraper to remove excess wax from the base of the ski.
  2. Secure Bindings: Fasten your bindings together using either a ski strap or rubber bands wrapped around the brake arms. This keeps the bindings from flopping around during transit and causing potential damage to themselves or other items in the bag/case.
  3. Add Padding: To further protect your skis, consider adding additional padding between them (particularly at the tips and tails). You can use foam pipe insulation, bubble wrap, or even soft clothing like socks or scarves for this purpose.
  4. Label Your Gear: If you’re flying with your skis, be sure to attach a luggage tag with your name, address, phone number, and email address to both the bag/case and skis themselves (you can use zip ties for this). This will help airport personnel return your gear if it gets misplaced during transit.

Transporting Skis by Car

When transporting cross country skis by car, there are several methods you can choose from depending on your vehicle type and personal preferences.

Inside The Vehicle

If you have enough space inside your car (especially if you own an SUV or station wagon), simply place your ski bag/case in the back of the vehicle on top of any other luggage. Make sure it’s securely positioned so that it won’t shift around while driving – you can use bungee cords or straps for added security if needed.

Roof Rack

A roof rack is another popular option for transporting cross country skis by car. Many vehicles come equipped with factory-installed roof racks which can easily accommodate ski attachments designed specifically for holding skis. If your car doesn’t already have a roof rack, you can purchase an aftermarket one that fits your specific vehicle make and model.

Once you’ve installed the ski attachments on your roof rack, simply place your ski bag/case on top, making sure it’s centered and secure. Use straps or bungee cords to fasten the bag/case tightly to the rack, ensuring there is no chance of it coming loose during transit.

Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier

For those with a trailer hitch on their vehicle, a hitch-mounted cargo carrier is another option for transporting skis. These carriers come in various sizes and styles (some even have built-in ski holders) and provide extra storage space for gear without taking up room inside the car or requiring a roof rack.

Flying With Skis

When flying with cross country skis, it’s important to be aware of airline policies regarding ski equipment as well as any applicable fees. Most airlines consider ski bags/cases as oversized luggage and charge an additional fee for checking them in (although some may waive this fee if you’re traveling during the ski season).

To avoid any surprises at the airport:

  1. Check Your Airline’s Policies: Visit your airline’s website or contact their customer service department to inquire about their specific policies regarding skiing equipment.
  2. Pack Smart: Make sure your skis are securely packed within the bag/case according to our earlier preparation tips, especially when flying since baggage handlers aren’t always gentle with luggage.
  3. Arrive Early: Due to the size of ski bags/cases, they might require special handling at check-in counters and security checkpoints so give yourself plenty of time by arriving early at the airport.
  4. Pick Up Carefully: When retrieving your skis from baggage claim after landing, inspect them carefully before leaving the airport to ensure there hasn’t been any damage during transit – if you notice any issues, report them to the airline immediately.


Transporting cross country skis may seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and equipment, it’s actually quite manageable. Whether you’re hitting the road or taking to the skies, following these tips will ensure your skis arrive at their destination safe and sound. So now that you know how to transport your cross country skis like a pro, pack up those poles and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the trails!