All of these questions can create a panic for someone trying to get their equipment to Park City or any other ski and snowboarding area. As far as airlines go, there is no possibility of carrying on ski equipment on any flight. However, if packaged correctly, ski equipment can be checked in.
If a passenger is part of a "preferred membership" program, most initial bag fees will be waived. Otherwise, charges apply and vary depending on the airline. One ski bag and one ski boot bag count as one piece of luggage on American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
Flying American means the first checked bag is $25 while the second is an additional $35. The same goes for Delta and United.
Southwest Airlines does not charge for the first two checked bags unless they are over 50 pounds. Excess size charges will not apply to ski equipment, but excess weight charges may.
JetBlue does not charge for the first checked bag, but the second will cost $40, $50 if it exceeds 50 pounds. Skis and snowboards are not subject to standard size requirements but must follow weight and other guidelines.
Aside from flying with ski equipment, it can also be mailed out to wherever you are going beforehand. Several different postal services will ship to and from areas like New York and Chicago assuming the skis or snowboard are about 65 inches long and weigh approximately 15 pounds, including packaging.
UPS will ship skis to or from New York for $88.28, and it will take five business days. To or from Chicago, it will cost $69.36 and take four days. UPS will also charge $16 for packaging if not provided with a case for the equipment.
The United States Postal Service will charge $34.58 to ship equipment to or from New York, but with $500 insurance, the total comes out to $41.98.
FedEx does not have a weight limit but charges $69.57 to ship equipment to or from New York in five business days. To ship to or from Chicago, the cost is $45.63 and takes only two business days.
The United States Post Office on Main Street's standard shipping rate to or from New York and Chicago is $32, but priority shipping will cost $72. They charge the least, but a clerk at the post office said that while standard shipping is usually about six business days, the holidays will cause a delay in delivery. If skis are mailed out today, Dec. 14, the package may not make it there even by Christmas.
According to a press release from the USPS, post offices across Utah are preparing for what they said is the most hectic day for mailing out packages. "An avalanche of 2.1 million cards and packages are expected to be mailed by Utahns on Monday, Dec. 16, the busiest mailing day of the year."
They said they are projecting 16 percent more packages shipped this holiday season compared to the last, and "more than triple the number of cards and letter on Dec. 16 compared to an average day."
To fly with skis or to mail them out? That is the question. Above all, preparation is required to travel with ski equipment. To mail them out might not be wise at the busiest time of the year, but at other times, it can be a cheaper option that can make traveling a lot easier.