Fly to a ski destination with only carry-on luggage? Friends are incredulous when I tell them I’ve flown to Marble Mountain, Newfoundland (powder, baby!), Whistler, British Columbia (Olympic dreams), and Salt Lake City, Utah (powder and Olympic dreams) with only a roll-aboard and my boots. I don’t worry about whether a checked bag will magically appear on the carousel; I simply walk off the plane and out of the airport.
If you want to join me in lightening the load and lessening the angst, here’s how:
• Shop carefully for the perfect roll aboard that matches your needs. Mine is a small, portfolio-style one that’s about half the size of a regulation carry-on, so it not only fits easily into overhead space, but also, depending upon seat configuration, sometimes slides under the seat in front of me.
• Make every piece of clothing you bring do double or triple duty, and make sure it’s mix and match (pick a color theme and stick to it).
• Emphasize clothes fabricated from high-tech, wicking, quick-dry materials so they can be washed in the sink (use hotel-provided shampoo or soap) and be dry by the next morning.
• Use compression bags.
• Wear your ski jacket and bulkiest sweater and layer clothes underneath when flying. Stuff jacket pockets with small necessities (socks, underwear, prescriptions, etc.). You can always peel off a layer or two if too hot, and stuff the sweater, vest, windbreaker, in your jacket sleeves once on the plane. Instead of stuffing your jacket in overhead bin, use it as a lumbar support, pillow, or blanket.
• Stuff ski gloves and hat, longies, whatever else fits into ski boots. Note, they’ll slide in more easily if in a plastic bag, which also will protect them from any, ahem, foot odors.
• Minimize footwear by wearing boots or clogs that will take you through the trip. Pack dress shoes only if you can’t get by without.
• Clip helmet to roll-aboard (or rent on site).
• Rent skis and poles at your destination.
• Use a neck wallet instead of a purse to hold cash and credit cards (and passport, if traveling internationally) and/or a wrist or ankle wallet ( (I’m a huge fan of the Pacsafe wristsafe; I wear it on my ankle and I don’t worry about being separated from my cash or credit cards)
• Finally, abandon any fashionista tendencies.