The last thing you want when it's finally time for your family vacation is a broken ski or binding when you get to Jackson, Telluride, Stowe, Taos, Squaw or Chamonix. The best way to make sure that your skis arrive safely? A good ski bag. Here are three that not only will protect your gear, but will make getting from your cab to the airline check-in counter a breeze.
Douchebag: Like many great ski bags, this one rolls, its length is adjustable, and it holds skis--even fat ones up to six feet six inches. But what makes it most notable is what it does when you're not using it...attention apartment dwellers and those with limited storage space....it rolls up to about the size of a pillow. Where most rolling ski bag are a sprawling and unweildy mass that you have to shove in a tall or long closet, this one just tucks away under your bed until you're ready to use it.
But that's not all. This bag has a sling shoulder strap lets you drag it through the airport fully loaded, from the train to your hotel or anywhere else, hands free. That means no abandoned suitcases left curbside for possible TSA destruction while you sprint shuttle your gear to the check-in line.
Pro skier Jon Olsson designed the bag in collaboration with 150 of his pro-bros and some input from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. We're not sure who he named it after, but here's a demo of how it works:
Empty, the bag weighs seven pounds. It's slice resistant thanks to a heavy duty, rubbery exterior reinforced with plastic plates to give it structure. $229; mydouchebag.com.
Dakine Concourse Double: If you're trying to jam a family's worth of skis into one bag, or you just want to have the right boards for groomers, trees and pow, Dakine's Concourse Double is the tool for the job. The ski compartment, which holds two pairs of skis up to 185 cm or 200 cm--there are two lengths available--is fully padded to protect your planks and poles from each other and the rest of the contents of the baggage hold. Dakine doesn't recommend this, but you may be able to squeeze a third pair in there.
Three interior pockets hold boots, clothing, snacks, beacons, but not your helmet--carry that separately. Pull it with dual end carry handles on easy-rolling urethane wheels. But beware the scales when you load this bag full and hit the United counter. It weighs in at 12.5 pounds empty. Fill it and weigh it on your bathroom scale at home so you don't get hit with oversized bag fees. $225, dakine.com.
Sport Tube Series 1: If you're paranoid about your skis being damaged, and you're traveling with a single pair plus poles, a hard plastic shell case will give you maximum protection. Sport Tube's Series 1 Case is strong and durable enough to check, ship or toss in the bak of your truck.
Adjustable from 122 cm to 212 cm, and eight pounds on the scale, this padded-at-both-ends, one-size-fits-all case holds one set of alpine-binding mounted skis and a set of poles. It rolls for easy airport access, and it locks. It also straps to your roof rack when you're staying local.
And it's multi-purpose. In the summer, if you're headed to the nearest trout stream or scuba spot instead of Portillo, the case holds five fly rod tubes as well as spin and bait casting rods, spear guns and whatever else you care to squeeze in there.
Sport Tubes all come with a lifetime warranty. Get the Series One SE--Special Edition--if you want bells and whistles, including a pull handle, lock and handy stuff bag, called the Nik Nac Pac, for a few extra bucks. Also available for multiple pairs of skis. $130-$170, sporttube.com