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Five years of international ski travel has taught me what pro skiers have always known: If luggage doesn’t have wheels, it’s not worthy of a ski nomad. Wheeled bags enable you to carry stuff for any weather contingency and bring more changes of skivvies¿and save your arm strength for hoisting steins in the bierstube après-ski.
Da Kine 60/40 Split
The 60/40 Split has no fewer than 10 pockets to organize gear in its behemoth 9,500-cubic-inch volume. (To put that into perspective, consider that you could carry 77 two-liter soda bottles in this rolling chest of drawers.) Designed to be lived out of, the 60/40’s nifty split-level, flip-open design keeps folded items flat and allows it to be stowed neatly in a corner or at the foot of a bed¿no need to unpack and repack as you surf hotel-suite couches.
Da Kine/$180/541-386-3166/ www.dakine.com
Eagle Creek Monster Trunk
Voluminous enough to smuggle a keg up to a dorm room, the Monster Trunk is for those who prefer to dump their stuff into one huge compartment instead of subdividing. Its giant (9,000 cubic-inches), wide-mouth berth features two flat side pockets and an expandable boot cavity that doubles as a dirty-laundry depository. The sturdy handle swiftly retracts behind a zippered flap, protecting it from possible baggage-handler punishment.
Eagle Creek/$275/800-874-9925/ www.eaglecreek.com
Burton Wheelie Locker 185
These days, most skis measure around 180 to 190 centimeters long, making this snowboard carrier an ideal ski bag: It easily hauls two pairs of skis, boots, and poles, plus plenty more. The Wheelie Locker 185 can fit skis up to 190 centimeters; pack skis with their bases flat against the top or bottom of the bag, with clothes and other cargo in the middle, or lay them diagonally (if it’s a tight fit, put the ski in tail first, then flex the tip to slip it in).
K2 Shaw Ski & Snowboard Bag
I fell in love with this bag on a four-country European odyssey that involved trains, planes, and automobiles¿as well as an assortment of skis, snowboards, poles, boots, backpacks, a shovel, and a sleeping bag. The Shaw’s three zippered compartments carry the longest of skis, with a maximum optimal packing configuration of either three pairs of skis or two pairs of skis and a board, plus all related toys and gadgets. Plenty of clothing can also be crammed into the crevices.