If you think the ski season is nearing its end, you’re going to miss out. The North American ski season is long and strong, starting in November and ending all the way out to July, depending on how committed you are to hitting the slopes and where you’re willing to travel. So, if there’s powder on the brain, then get your four wheels spinning, and take all your gear and friends and stop worrying about schlepping everything under the not-so-friendly skies. To carry the sticks in style, you’ll need to get yourself a proper way to secure and haul them to your snowy destination — and we don’t mean strapping them down with bungees and a prayer. Here’s the best ski racks out there, along with the best wheeled ski haulers on the market to match. The snow pack’s strong, so what are you waiting for?
MORE WINTER: All-Mountain Skis | A Ski Mountaineering Race | Winter Running Essentials
Whispbar WB300 Snow Mount
Whispbar prides itself on transporting your skis and snowboards with minimal noise and maximum aerodynamics, aesthetics and utility. Rather than creating turbulent roof obstructions with your ski rack, Whispbar uses streamlined aerofoil-shaped wings that reduce drag and noise so effectively that you’ll forget the gear’s up top. The SmartLift design gives your tall bindings extra clearance, while the profile remains minimalist so your car doesn’t look like the family truckster. Made with anodized aluminum, the WB300 works with existing crossbars thanks to a universal adapter and can manage up to 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards, so no one will get stuck playing Sodoku in the lodge.
Mount It On: Porsche Macan Turbo
Yakima FatCat 4
Don’t mistake the name for a cumbersome rack with the aerodynamics of a brick wall. The FatCat4 doesn’t just hold the thickest skis and snowboards — it sports a low-profile design and a blacked-out finish, which help towards a stealth appearance. The FatCat is able to chomp down on big gear (including ski poles) thanks to its proprietary DoubleJoint hinge system, while the big push-button allows a quick and easy release. And don’t worry if you’ve already spent good coin on a crossbar system from a different brand. The mounting clamps allow FatCat compatibility with factory bars and aftermarket versions. Plus, if you happen to have zero tools in your arsenal, the FatCat4 doesn’t require any for installation.
Mount It On: 2015 GMC Yukon Denali
Thule Universal Pull Top
Since you’ll be working hard on the slopes, give yourself a break loading/unloading the car. With Pull Top’s telescoping function, you can slide your skis down to the side of the car, benefiting both the lazy and the vertically challenged. It can handle 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards, holding them tight with soft, scratch-free rubber arms. It’s is even good for water skis, wakeboards and fishing rods, so it spans sports and seasons with ease. A single key lock keep your gear safe when you’re away, and the large quick-release button doesn’t impede slope time. And fittingly for the “Universal” name, it’s compatible with most other crossbar models.
Mount It On: 2015 Volvo XC90
Inno Grab Max
Who would’ve thought you could haul your ski gear properly for less than $150? The Inno Grab Max is a hauling bargain, and it doesn’t scrimp on features. Just like the big boys, the Grab Max boasts universal compatibility for most cars and crossbars, largely thanks to its adjustable clamps. You can also opt for a long bolt kit for really large bars. The wide cradle jaws of the Grab Max have a big appetite, making room for the thickest skis and boards you can find, while the adjustable height makes room for tall bindings — and you can secure all of it with the included lock-and-key system. Although the Grab Max may not have the same slick design as the others here, at least you can take your savings and hit the slopes a few more times.
Mount It On: 2016 Range Rover Discovery Sport