How To Ship Your Skis

I’m continually asked for advice on the best way to ship skis. Here’s how I would ship skis.

Probably the easiest and quickest way to ship skis is to use your ski bag and some bubble-wrap.
FedEx will ship a ski bag without any problems. Before you worry too much about the skis being destroyed, let me assure you that the FedEx employees treat your skis better than airline baggage handlers. Just about the only “planning ahead” you’ll need is a trip to the hardware store for a roll of bubble wrap and a roll of packaging tape. A roll of bubble-wrap cost $3.45 at my local hardware store.
A roll of bubble-wrap costs about $4.

1) First, clean your skis! Use a scraper to remove any storage wax – and don’t for get the grip wax on classic skis.

2) Next, fill out a work-order form completely for each pair of skis. You can tape the work order to the skis. For multiple pairs (hey, why not!), you can put all the work orders in an envelope and tape the envelope securely to one of the pairs of skis.

3) For each pair of skis, rubber-band or tape the pair together. Don’t send your favorite ski ties, or they’ll become part of our growing collection.
Tape the skis together.

4) Next, tape the pairs of skis together into a single solid quiver. If you’re sending 3 pairs, for instance, you’ll have a solid bundle of skis that are easy to protect in the ski bag. Double check to make sure you’ve taped the work orders to the skis.
Mummy-wrap the bundle of skis.

5) Wrap the bundle of skis with the bubble wrap. Make sure you’ve protected the tails and tips of the skis. It doesn’t hurt to mummy-wrap the whole bundle, but take extra care to wrap the tips, tails, and bindings. The bubble wrap goes on the skis as a group, and not wrapped around each individual ski. Mummy-wrap the bundle of skis, and add some extra to the tips and tails.

6) Insert the bundle of skis into the ski bag and secure the bag with the buckles and straps. Stuff the ski bag, you can add extra padding if space allows.

Stuff the wrapped skis into a ski bag.

7) Taping up any loose ends, like straps, with some duct tape will help to keep everything in order. Tape down the loose ends with duct tape.

8) Take the ski bag to a FedEx shipping center (if you’re in a city, a Kinko’s copy center will ship FedEx). A lot of people are able to use the shipping/receiving department at their workplace, so that’s an option.

As noted, FedEx shipping will take your carefully packed ski bag without batting an eye. They have special hang tags to hold the shipping labels and will help with any questions you might have. FedEx has special plastic hang-tags to hold shipping labels, made just for items like soft luggage and ski bags.

If you’re not in a hurry, use the least expensive shipping method available (FedEx ground in most cases).

Keep in mind that Nordic Ultratune will usually return your skis in the packaging you send them in. Ultratune will send them back to you using FedEx Express Saver service (3rd day delivery). It’s easy for Ultratune to keep track of your ski bag, and easy for us to re-package your skis for safe shipping back to you in your ski bag, too.
Secure any loose ends.

Odds and Ends:
Some of you have hard-shell ski cases. Packing your skis inside of a hard-shell case is great! FedEx will ship it. No problem.

Boxes?  If you’ve already got a cardboard ski box that’s the right size, then that’s terrific. Use it! But there’s simply no need to pay for a ski box, nor to use an oversized box (oversized box will cost more to ship).

Horror Stories? The most common horror stories are from customers who carry their skis (unpackaged) into 

Use a FedEx hang-tag for the shipping label.

a “UPS Store”. They ask for packaging materials and shipping. The clerk at the UPS Store then quotes them a price for a box, packing material (double whammy – they use the dreaded styrofoam peanuts!), and overnight shipping that can run up to triple digits for a single pair of skis!

Lots of skis?  You can fit a lot of skis into a big ski bag. Ski reps and racers send a dozen pair or more in a single bag.
There are 14 pairs of skis in this bag!

Let’s Summarize:
Packing skis in a ski bag is quick, easy, and inexpensive. FedEx treats them well, and a padded ski bag provides about as much protection as a cardboard box.

When they’ve been taped together and mummy wrapped as a group, they’re easy to protect.  Keep in mind that your ski bag might get a bit dirty and travel worn, but that’s what they’re for, right?

October 2010 Ultratune Newsletter

A lot more than I can post here. It's an eleven page newsletter with lots of good information. Take a look.