Updated: May 27, 2015
Ski/Snowboard Car Rack Reviews:Every year it seems like the same old thing, load the skis into a small 4 door car and have them stick out from the trunk into the passenger area. I have never skiied that much so it always seemed convenient until I moved up to Portland, Oregon and was just a short drive from Mt. Hood. Now I can jump in the car and be on the slopes within 1 1/2 hours which has me going skiing much more often. I started looking into the ski roof racks for cars since my Saturn has no roof rack at all. Roof mounted ski racks are the most popular variety out there and they are very reasonably priced given the added convenience. Many of the top manufacturers have made slight design adjustments so that snowboards can fit into these roof ski racks as well. The top brands include household names like Thule, Yakima, SportRack, and Carmate. Pricing ranges from $80 to $400 depending on the style and design you go with. Your car make and model will pretty much make the decision for you. Some come with factory mounted crossbars and raised rails while others have no roof racks off the production line. SUV's all have factory racks but usually need ski rooftop carriers that attach to them. The latest rear mounted ski racks that hook up to your hitch mount get less positive reviews than the other types and are priced higher.
Before you run out and buy any car ski rack you need to decide what's the average amount of skis you will be toting up to the mountain. The Thule 5401 Snowcat 6-Ski Roof Mount Carrier is a quality choice since it holds up to 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards. Another popular choice is the Yakima FatCat 6-Ski - which was given the Gear of the Year award from Men's Journal. Several other design options are for 4 pair of skis or just 2 snowboards. Most likely the ski racks that carry 4 pair of skis should be plenty unless you are the type of person who skis one day and then snowboards the next. In that case, having the extra space for both a snowboard and skis is ideal. Yakima also makes the FatCat 4 Ski carrier which gets excellent feedback from experts and consumers alike. For those of you that prefer to just snowboard on the slopes, there are racks made just for you like the Thule 575 Snowboard Carrier or the SportRack - Abr456Dl. In car ski rack reviews we found that the ones that attach to the hitch mount (like bike racks) are the worst in terms of customer satisfaction. Either skis don't fit properly or they get totally dirty from being right in the area where dirt, rocks and debris come up from the back tires. We all know how gravel and rocks can get on mountain roads and quite a few people complained about damage to skis when using the rear mounted ski racks. We say stay away from those and focus your attention on the ski rooftop racks which tend to be better designed. Most allow you lock in the skis and they are easy to install as they adjust to the width of your vehicle. Just attach them to the raised rail factory racks (pretty common on most cars these days), lock in your skis or snowboard, and off you go. The single arm ski racks from SportRack are convenient and the SportRack - A26395 - ABS Aero 1300 Ski is a rooftop cargo carrier that is perfect for taking skis and keeping them away from the elements while you are driving. We found lots of reviews for ski racks on websites like Gearjunkie.com, Feedthehabit.com, REI, and Epinions. The top sellers are those from Yakima and Thule, but many say the lower priced SportRack products are just as good. For independent reviews from owners, we think that Amazon has the best selection to read from. There are literally dozens and dozens of owner comments posted on their site with pros and cons to almost any model of ski rack. You can browse the most popular ski and snowboard vehicle racks online here.