Piling into a car with your friends and driving up to the slopes for a ski or snowboarding adventure is one of the most fun parts of the trip — besides the actual skiing, of course. But just throwing your skis into the back of a car or truck isn’t always a great idea. One of your careless friends might just plop their duffle right on top of your skis, ending the trip before it even begins. Snowboards and skis tend to take up a lot of space, too, so your car might not even be able to hold them. That’s where car ski and snowboard racks come in. The best car ski racks will securely hold your ski and snowboarding gear while you drive to the slopes.
When you have side rails installed on your roof, the potential applications are almost endless. You can attach anything from bike racks to cargo boxes to an entire camper. Another great thing to attach is a ski rack. They’re basically horizontal bars with clamps that hold your snowboard or skis in place. Typically, they have the potential to hold at least two pairs of skis, freeing up space in the trunk and cabin for all of your other gear.
If you don’t have a roof rack, it’s also worth considering a rear rack. These attach to your hitch mount. These can still be a good option even if you do have a roof rack, because you can save the roof rack space for a cargo box.
If you’re ready to hit the slopes, these are some of the best car ski and snowboard racks you can find on Amazon.
1. Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack, 4 Pair-Black
Thule is well known for its dependable roof accessories, which admittedly comes at something of a premium. That said, if you’re not willing to take any chances with your gear, then this rack could be the way to go. These crossbars attach to existing racks, and they’re capable of accommodating two snowboards or four pairs of skis. It’s easy to open but also secure — a key lock holds the racks to the roof and the skis to the rack.
Pros: Securely holds the boards, but is easy to remove with a key. Bars have padded arms that prevent damage to the boards. The anti-theft feature securely holds skis and boards.
Cons: This is an expensive option.
2. YAKIMA – SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo
Sure, Yakima’s rooftop cargo box isn’t explicitly designed with skis in mind, but it could very well work for storing skis and snowboards. It’s 81″ long, so it should be ample enough to store longer skis and snowboards, with room to spare for other gear. It has an aerodynamic shape, so it won’t limit you when you’re on the move. It’s designed to fit a variety of cars, big and small, and it shouldn’t interfere with hatchbacks or SUV-style trunks.
Pros: Roomy storage, aerodynamic shape limits the impact on mileage. Suits a variety of car sizes.
Cons: Expensive. Mounting can occasionally be challenging.
3. Rhino Rack Ski Carrier
This option from Rhino is considerably more affordable than comparable picks from top brands, while still retaining many of the best features of more expensive racks. A quick-release button makes it easy to access the boards. It’s not too easy, however, because a key-lock keeps the boards in place, reducing the risk of theft.
Pros: Inexpensive, near-universal fit for cars with side rails. Can fit up to 4 snowboards. Key lock reduces theft risk.
Cons: Mounting brackets are plastic, and other parts may not be as durable as some top brands.
4. BUZZRACK BUZZSKI Hitch Mounted ski & Snowboard Rack
If you need an option for your car but you don’t have a roof rack, consider these ski racks for a hitch mount. These easily fold up when not in use, so you don’t have to constantly limit your ability to park in tight spaces, and they can tilt down to allow access to the trunk. Plus, these can hold more skis than the average rack — up to 4 snowboards or 6 pairs of skis at a time.
Pros: Fits 1-1/4″ or 2″ hitch mounts; capable of accommodating more skis and boards than most car ski racks.
Cons: Even though it can be tilted down to access the trunk, it takes some effort to do so.
5. HandiRack Universal Inflatable Roof Rack Bars
Traditionalists might turn their nose up at the idea of an inflatable roof rack bar until you realize the various benefits. One major appeal is that the inflated racks help reduce the potential of scratches. The bars tuck into the door, meaning that it isn’t necessary to have already installed racks. The bars have straps installed, making it easy to attach your gear without needing too much extra equipment.
Pros: Inflatable tubes protect your gear from scratches. It can be installed on a wide variety of cars, even ones that don’t have racks.
Cons: Takes some effort to ensure gear is securely tied down.