Before handing over the money to check your snowboard, however, take advantage of any extra space in the case to pack your cold weather gear. Shove scarves, layering shirts, everything you can in there without going over baggage weight. This way you're less likely to need to check a second bag.
Note that some airlines, like Air Canada, require you to check your snowboard in a hard-shell case. Others are fine with soft snowboard bags, so long as they travel well.
Regardless of airline or destination, know that you may have to forego the usual baggage claim carousel and seek out the oversize baggage area. When you don't see your bag heading down the chute, this is the next logical place to look.
For individual airline fees and detailed requirements, check with your carrier or refer to this handy guide from Snowpak.com.
[Photo: Kai MacMahon]