Don’t Schlep, Ship.

My pal Jerry took his wife and two college-age girls on a ski trip from Boston to Vail a few winters ago. The trip involved a stopover in Chicago which, when his plane from Boston landed, was being covered in a blinding snowstorm. His connecting flight was cancelled. So, Jerry and family had to schlep all their luggage—roll-aways, back packs, boot bags and skis—to an airport hotel in the snow, in a taxi, get up well before dawn, reverse his tracks and check-in with his entourage and their baggage, waiting on snaking baggage check lines. Not pleasant and a constant reminder of one of the flaws of traveling-whilst-a-skier—hassling your kit.

Enter Ship Skis, a service that picks up your gear, sends it to your destination hotel, and when you’re done with your ski vacation, sends the stuff back home again.  We met the guys at the BEWI Boston Ski and Snowboard Show this fall.

You're going to have to pay for checked bags anyway, so it makes sense to ship your gear. Credit: SeniorsSkiing
You’re going to have to pay for checked bags anyway, so it makes sense to ship your gear.
Credit: SeniorsSkiing

It’s all done online. You schedule a shipment to your destination, select insurance options (you get $500 base coverage with different add-ons), print out a shipping label, pack your stuff and wait for the pickup or head to a UPS or FedEx drop-off point. You can track where your shipment is, but you’re probably on the plane by then. Ship Skis claims your equipment will arrive before you do. Pretty simple process.

Pricing varies depending on where you are going, how much you send, and how urgent your shipment is. We priced a hypothetical trip from Boston to Vail, using Jerry’s family as an example. The price ranged from $69 per ski bag to $139. (You might be able to put two pairs in one bag.) That’s one way. When you add boots, the price bumped up varied from $128.99 to $288.99 per ski bag (which might contain two pairs) and boots, again one way. You get the lower price by sending a week or so before you expect to arrive and vice versa coming home. For the Jerry example, shipping a week ahead of time and getting equipment returned from vacation a week after you arrive home would be about $300-$500 for round trip boots and skis for four people, assuming you stuff two pair of skis into one bag. You have to decide if that’s worth it. To Jerry it very well might have been.

By the way, airlines will charge you anywhere from $25 to $200 per checked ski bag and/or boots each way, depending on how many bags you check. So, when you think about it, if you’re going on a ski vacation somewhere by plane, Ship Skis might make sense.

We are discussing a potential discounted rate for readers of with the powers that be at Ship Skis. Stay tuned for an update.

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