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Choosing the Right Ski and Snowboard Carrier for Your Vehicle

 Posted: January 12th, 2021
Choosing the Right Ski and Snowboard Carrier for Your Vehicle

Ski and snowboard carriers make it easier for you to transport your skiing and snowboarding equipment to your destination without cluttering up the interior of your vehicle. It also makes it safer for passengers—skis and snowboards have some edges that can become dangerous if they’re jostled around during an accident.

There are a variety of options you can find on the market with regard to carriers you can attach to your vehicle, including ski boxes and racks. In general, racks are more ideal for most users because they have a lower profile and are not as expensive. If you only intend to transport skis and snowboards occasionally, then they’re your best option.

However, if you’re a more serious skier or snowboarder who hits the slopes frequently, you might find some use for a ski box. These boxes give you enough size to carry all your equipment, including the skis/boards, poles, boots and gear.

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about these options before you decide on a solution that best fits your needs.

Ski/snowboard racks

Racks are generally the most popular option for carrying skis and snowboards, largely due to the lower price, which reduces the barrier to entry. You can find a good ski or snowboard rack for $100 or less, though some of the fancier models will cost you up to $250 or $300. Keep in mind that you also need to purchase a base roof rack system on which you can install the ski rack.

SeaSucker Universal Ski Rack
SeaSucker Universal Ski Rack
Introducing our SeaSucker Universal Ski Rack

The rack mounts on to existing cross bars on the roof, so it’s important to find a ski rack that will fit your crossbars. Most new ski racks feature “universal” mounting hardware, but if you have an older system it might be pickier with regard to the bars it will fit on.

Any ski rack you choose will have the same general design and operation. There will be an upper and lower clamp or arm attached with a hinge, and cushioned pads on the inside. The skis get pushed up together, and snowboards get attached with bindings facing up. You can find these racks in various sizes, as well; small racks fit up to four pairs of skis or two snowboards, and large sizes fit up to six pairs of skis and four snowboards.

Cargo boxes

If you know you’re going to hit the slopes regularly throughout the winter, you may consider purchasing a rooftop cargo box to carry your auxiliary equipment like boots, spare change of clothes, food or snacks, or wet gear at the end of the day.

With a cargo box, you’ll free up space in the cabin and help to keep the interior clean after your trip is complete —putting equipment into rooftop storage prevents you from getting your vehicle’s interior full of mud, road salt and dampness.

SeaSucker Universal Ski Rack
Introducing our Malone Rooftop Storage Box

During the offseason, you can use cargo boxes for other purposes than transporting skis and snowboards. They also make great solutions for camping gear, extra storage for road trips or any other circumstance in which you need to create additional space beyond what’s available in your trunk and seating areas.

Keep in mind, though, that a cargo box is a large piece of equipment that can add a fair amount of height to your vehicle. You need to be careful about getting into your garage or under low clearance areas, especially if your vehicle is already tall. In addition, depending on the kind of vehicle you’re using, you might not be able to fully open the vehicle’s rear hatch with a cargo box attached.

And again, we must reiterate that cargo boxes are a more expensive option. If you don’t know how committed you are to snowboarding or skiing as a hobby, you might instead wish to choose a simple rack and work your way up to a cargo box if you become certain you’ll stick with it.

Carefully consider your devotion to the hobby and the amount of money you’re willing to invest in your ski or snowboard transportation solution before making your decision.