Just pay to check your bag:
The easiest thing to do is pack light--and stuff your clothing into your ski or board bag. If you can keep everything under 50 pounds, the usual cut-off to avoid overweight charges, you should be able to get by with just one bag, which could cost as little $15 each way. On Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America, your first bag flies free.
Having trouble fitting everything? Be that guy and haul a big carryon along with your boots inside. Trust us, you won't be the only one skirting the rules, and, in our experience, flight crews headed to ski destinations know the drill.
Ship your stuff:
Using a shipping service or simply UPS can be an easy, if not exactly economical, way to get your gear to the mountain. The LA Times reports that getting your gear from Southern California to Lake Tahoe costs just $30 if you can endure up to four days of transit time. Or you can overnight a snowboard to Aspen for $178--about $25 a day for a week-long trip.
Private firms can help expedite the process and provide insurance for a bit more cash, but no one can keep the weather at bay. If you ship your stuff when the mountain gets socked in, you'll be out of luck until the roads are clear--and sitting in the lodge by the fire gets old fast.
Try demo gear:
In the face of declining sales, the ski industry is going out of its way to put potential customers on new gear. For a couple twenties, or sometimes even less, you can hire out some of the freshest equipment on the slopes for a day. (You also don't have to haul demo skis to and from your hotel or rental apartment.)
The downside? It's not your gear, and if you don't enjoy it, you're out of luck.
Really! It's not that bad--especially these days. We have nine-year-old memories of horrible rental gear, but last season when we rode in Park City our rental board was probably nicer than our own stick. Even more incredibly, our borrowed boots fit right. Lodge-owned rental gear: So hot for 2009!
· Airlines' New Fees Worry Ski Retailers [Newsweek]
· A Price to Pay When Skis Travel With You [NYT]
· Ski Equipment Hit by Extra Charges [LAT]
· Lift Ticket Discounts Thanks To Liftopia [Jaunted]