Shipping skis is something we do on a daily basis. We've gotten quite a bit better at it as time has gone on and learned some tricks along the way to keep costs down and to ensure that gear arrives in perfect condition. Last week Eric and I went on our annual trip to Aspen Colorado and instead of using our Dakine High Roller 200cm bags that were going to cost us a fortune in baggage fees we just decided to ship them via FedEX to the hotel.
Most likely you're shipping skis that already have bindings on them. To make life easier and make sure your bindings don't get damaged during shipping, do yourself a favor and take the brakes off, it should be just a couple screws. Sometimes when the brakes are left on they end up poking out of the box making them susceptible to damage, it's also really tough to get the skis out of the box when that brake gets caught! Taking the brakes off also buys you a little room to get your poles in the box too.
If you are unable to take your brakes off then grab some rubberbands to keep the brakes in the up position.
The next thing you want to protect is the tips and tails of the skis. This is especially important to do if the box your using is much bigger than the skis are because they can slide around inside the box more easily. To protect the tips and tails find a piece of cardboard that is about the width of the skis and wrap it around from top sheet to the base, throw some packing tape on it and your good to go. Doesn't look like much but in the event your package is handled poorly it will save the tips and tails of your skis from delaminating.
When you put the skis in the box, you want to put them in base to base, just like in the picture below. This will take up the least amount of room and be the safest for your skis during shipping.
Best place to find a cardboard box to ship your skis is a ski shop. If they aren't an online retailer like us they typically throw them away (seems crazy we pay a lot for those things). Just try to avoid getting a box from the shipper (FedEX, UPS, USPS etc) it'll be too big, cost way too much and that'll increase your shipping costs. (Pro Tip: USPS will not accept packages longer than 72 inches, keep that in mind if you're shipping big powder skis)
If you can; it is best to create and print your own label at home, slap it on the box then bring it to the FedEX or UPS location. When you let them 'weigh' the package they often say it weighs much much more than it actually does. Also, if you are shipping ground you don't have to be as exact with the dimensions of the box. For instance, with FedEX the price goes up once the package is longer than 59 inches. Save yourself about 10 bucks and say it's only 59 inches long if you're only a few inches over.
When you're going on a trip to the mountains you're praying for snow but you also need your skis to get there. Storms can happen and roads can close make sure you pad the delivery by a day or two in case of winter storm shipping delays. Now that you know how to pack and ship your skis for your trip, book that plane ticket and go shred!
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