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How to Choose Ski And Snowboard Racks
Published: July 15, 2021
If you are planning to go on a ski trip and not sure how to take your expensive and fragile skis and snowboards with you, then these racks are what you need.
Ski and snowboard racks offer a secure and stable way to carry your precious equipment without getting in the way, thus allowing you complete access to your vehicle’s doors and trunk.
When choosing ski and snowboard racks, consider how many pairs of skis and snowboards you need to take with you, how compatible the rack is with your vehicle, and how securely it can hold the equipment for transport.
Read along to know more on how to choose ski and snowboard racks, and to see our favorite racks.
Types of ski and snowboard racks
These are mounted ski racks available for vehicles with existing factory or aftermarket roof rack crossbars.
The Apex SKI-4 is an affordable crossbar type ski rack that can hold up to 4 pairs of skis or 2 snowboards on the roof of your vehicle. It is made from heavy-duty plastic and aluminum. It has soft rubber grips and a large push button to easily open the carrier. The rack locks include two keys and can be attached to rectangular crossbars up to 5.5″ W x 1″ H, or round crossbars up to 1.5″ in diameter. Click here to check the Apex SKI-4 on amazon.com.
These are mounted ski racks that can be used with compatible hanging-style hitch bike racks.
The Thule Tram Hitch can hold equipment securely with the use of ultra-soft rubber arms, and can hold up to 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards. It is easy to open and close, even while wearing gloves, and it has one-key locks to secure the skis and snowboards. You can maximize its carrying capacity by transporting your skis and snowboards upright. Click here to check the Thule Tram Hitch on amazon.com.
Things to consider:
- How secure is a roof rack?
Quality rooftop racks offer safe and stable transport, and provide locking systems to secure your gear to your rack, and your rack to the vehicle’s roof.
The Thule SnowPack Extender is our top choice for the best overall ski and snowboard rack because of how secure it can transport skis and snowboards. This carrier includes a Thule’s One Key system to lock the skis to the rack and secure the rack to your car. It is an aerodynamic slide-out rooftop rack to easily accommodate all types of skis and snowboards, and extends for loading and unloading with ease. It includes a universal mounting, which is compatible with Thule rack systems, round bards, and most factory racks with T-track and around-the-bar mounting. Click here to check the Thule SnowPack Extender on amazon.com.
- How many skis do you need to carry?
Ski and snowboard racks are available in different sizes to accommodate the amount and sizes of skis and snowboards you will carry.
The best ski and snowboard rack that fits a maximum of 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards is the Rhino Rack, which has a universal mounting system suitable for all vehicles. It has an easy release and key locking that can be easily engaged while wearing gloves. Plus, it has a rubber grip profile to protect skis, snowboards, and even fishing rods. It is constructed with heavy-duty aluminum and is rust- or corrosion-resistant. Click here to check the current price of the Rhino Rack on amazon.com.
The best ski and snowboard rack that fits 4 pairs of skis or 2 snowboards is the Yakima FreshTrack 4, which features a tool-free clamp design for easy installment and removal. It has a universal mounting system that is compatible with round, square, factory, and most aerodynamic roof racks. It also includes a SkiLift attachment to allow clearance for tall bindings, and integrated SKS Locks for added security. Click here to check the current price of the Yakima FreshTrack 4 on amazon.com.
The Thule Snowpack has medium and large sizes available for 6-4 pairs of skis and 4-2 snowboards. The rack can hold your skis and snowboards securely using ultra-soft rubber arms, and can carry thicker modern skis and snowboards. It is easy to open and close, even while wearing gloves, and has an added roof clearance for tall bindings. It can fit directly into load bars’ T-tracks with the use of integrated and tool-free mounting hardware. Click here to check the current price of the Thule Snowpack on amazon.com.
- How often does the ski rack need to be removed?
Most ski and snowboard racks offer numerous benefits for carrying your equipment. A hitch-mounted rack is less difficult to install and remove. If your vehicle is not factory-equipped with a roof rack system, this may require an additional cost.
- How do crossbar mounted ski racks fit my car?
Most roof mount-ski carriers are designed to have universal mounting hardware that is compatible and can securely fit around most crossbar racks, including round, square, aerodynamic, and factory bars. The latest models of ski racks are also compatible with T-slots on top of aerodynamic crossbars. If your car comes with a set of crossbars, you can easily mount your ski or snowboard carrier onto them.
Our choice for the best overall ski and snowboard rack has universal mounting hardware and is compatible with old and new models of ski racks. Click here to check the current price of the Thule SnowPack Extender on amazon.com.
|Ski/Snowboard Rack||Usable Width||Compatibility||# of Skis and Snowboards|
|Thule Tram Hitch||29”||
|Thule SnowPack Extender||29”||
|Yakima FreshTrack 4||19”||
|Thule SnowPack 4||19”||
|Thule SnowPack 6||29”||
Are ski and snowboard racks universal?
No, there is no universal ski rack that will fit all vehicles because not all vehicles have the same roof rack systems. Therefore, you have to make sure you know the measurements of the ski and snowboard rack and its mounting compatibility with your car’s roof rack. A universal mounting system dictates that the carrier is compatible with most roof racks and not all car roof rack systems.
A hitch mounting system requires you to have a hanging-style bike rack so your hitch-type ski and snowboard carrier can sit on top of the rack’s arms and carry your boards vertically.
How far apart should ski racks be?
If there is no specific fitting position provided, your ski racks should be spaced 27 inches apart. However, you should always check the recommended distance because the specific mounting points of crossbars are based on the strongest points of the roof. So, if you were to install your equipment at a different distance, it could damage the rack or the vehicle’s roof.