My husband and I are spending 2 weeks in Europe this winter. We are ending our trip in chamonix for a week of skiing. We do not want to carry our ski boots, helmets, goggles, etc with us all over and would like to ship them to and from chamonix. Does anyone know the least expensive but reliable way to accomplish this? We could possibly check them on the way back home but that would still run us $200 dollars in baggage fees.
I think you will find that rentals will be more reasonable but it is easy to check it. Weight you gear. Go to any of the web sites - Fed Ex, UPS, etc., and plug in the details. That will give you a number. Then you can decide.
I always take boots, goggles, one complete set of ski clothes packed in a carry-on size back pack, but then I am going for 80% skiing and 20% touring. If you don't have your plane tickets yet, Swiss Intl has some good deals as far as free shipping of "winter sports equipment", and also deals with SBB to deliver luggage items to destinations and Chamonix is on the Swiss Travel Pass network.
Echoing Sam re: taking your own boots and your own clothing. But really think about renting the skis and poles while you're there. He also says that Swissair has some good deals on transporting equipment: yes, I would probably trust the Swiss to handle your skis/poles without breaking them. However the extreme hassle of landing at the airport with luggage and skis and poles would turn me off that idea.
The least expensive and reliable way to accomplish this is probably to take nothing and to rent equipment locally. Taking equipment across the Ocean is too much trouble. I would take only the small stuff (goggles, gloves, ski mask, etc), but not skis, boots, poles.
My suggestion would also be to rent equipment locally (at least skis and poles), as that will be a far easier option. If desired you could certainly pack (check) a separate piece of luggage with your boots, goggles, etc. as that will be cheaper than shipping the whole kit to Europe.
We carried our ski gear as checked luggage, Icelandair gives two bags free. My skis fit in a snowboard bag which has pockets for boots and holds all my ski clothing as well as helmet and goggles. My husband similarly fits everything into his ski bag, which otherwise could hold two pairs of skis. Rental skis are not worth the hassle or cost and are generally lower performing skis else even more expensive to rent.
Then we have a non-ski bag which we use for our "ordinary" tourist stops. We ski about 2/3 of the trip and are used to carrying skis. Also we ski at the first part of the trip the do regular tourist stops afterward as spring progresses and at these stops do not touch our ski bags.
How are you getting to Chamonix? If you rent a car you can just leave that bag in the car, locked to the car. If you have a car in Chamonix you can ski a variety of places, we skiied one day there this March while staying in Les Carroz. We also skied Flaine/Grand Masif and Morzine/Portes du Soleil. It is wonderful. Then we went to Les Arcs and Val d'Isere before we got a stretch of rain and fog.
If traveling by train you could ship from your point of arrival to Chamonix, much cheaper than from the USA. My daughter shipped a duffle using sendmybag.com where we arranged to drop the bag at a DHL office and they delivered it to her university.
Enjoy the trip!
Interesting points of view, renting vs. shipping (or checked luggage). Renting could be a preferred alternative to casual skiers where skiing is just a small purpose of travel. Having your own gear would be the preferred alternative to serious skiers where skiing is a significant purpose of travel.
A hybrid approach is to bring your own ski boots and rent the skis and poles. Carrying Alpine ski boots around for your pre-ski week would be less of a burden than dragging a ski box around Europe.
As cross country skiers, we bring our own gear knowing that the skis are correctly flexed and of higher quality than even premium rentals. We check the skis and poles along but carry our ski boots in our carry-on luggage. We've been lucky so far with the worst case being skis delayed for a half day and delivered to our hotel by evening. If our skis had been substantially delayed, we could have borrowed or rented skis.
Rent skis and poles. If you pack your boots, goggles and rest of your stuff in a separate bag, once you land ship to your hotel - UPS, DHL, FedEx. Just make sure your hotel knows it's coming and to hold for you. If you're landing in Switzerland, you could also use Swiss Post. On your return to the states, most likely the bag wouldn't incur an additional charge.
Hi everyone- we are traveling from SF to Chamonix and can bring our skis from SFO to Chamonix but have to ship it back since we are going to Asia from Chamonix (fun)!
Any recommendation- how did you end up handling your ski equipment? (Renting isn't an option, must bring own equipment!)