Heading to the slopes this year? Taking your own transport gives you extra freedom while you are indulging your passion for winter sports, but carrying skis and snowboards is a problem if your car is already full of passengers and luggage. The answer is a special ski carrier that can be mounted on the outside of your car to keep all your ski equipment safe and secure, not only on the journey down but also while you are driving around the resort.
The type of carrier you use will largely depend on your car type and what you need to carry. Some have big magnets to stick to the roof, so won’t be any good if you have a large sunroof or alloy-panelled car. Others sit on roof bars or tow ball mountings and can be used with both skis or snowboards.
When looking for the right ski carriers for your vehicle, it's important to consider where you'll mount it, how many skis or boards you'll want to carry, and other features, like appearance, aerodynamics, and price.
A majority of racks attach to the roof of your car. But you'll need crossbars, and not every car comes standard with these. While roof racks look cool and free up space in your car, they can be difficult to reach — especially for older folks, for the vertically challenged, or for anyone with a lifted SUV. Very few companies still make hitch-mounted options, and though these are easier to access, a tow hitch is a prerequisite.
Ski carriers typically come in two sizes: small racks, which carry two boards and four ski sets, and large racks, which can carry up to six of each. We recommend the larger size to have the flexibility to bring multiple sets of skis and for the convenience of not having to play ski-rack Tetris every time you load up.
Some ski carriers look sleek and blend well with your car; others don't. Some racks sit low, improving aerodynamics. Others don't — they stand tall, slow you down, and make more noise than a whistle-happy referee. Most racks are fixed in place, but a small number actually slide on the crossbars for easier access. Most ski racks are lockable, but some require you to purchase the locks and keys separately.