Last winter, I took my 1998 Subaru Outback on a very long ski trip, visiting ski areas in five states over the course of two months. The entire time, my skis were packed inside my car. That's how I've always done it: lay down the back seats and toss my skis in with everything else. But last winter, skiing and driving and tossing my skis in and driving some more, a smell started to set in, thanks to all the moisture of snow melting from my skis. All my bags and ski clothes got damp and wet and subsequently frozen. Not to mention, the backseat was so full I couldn't give my friends a ride to the hill.
This year, I'm doing things differently. I installed a ski rack to the roof of my car.
The FatCat 4 Evo is Yakima's newest ski rack. It is wide enough to carry four medium-sized pairs of skis, or two snowboards. A universal mounting system is easy to install and works with round, square, factory, and most all roof racks. Weighing 10 pounds, it has an aerodynamic design but enough clearance on top of my Subaru for both ski and snowboard bindings. A large button to open the rack is easy to use with gloves on.
A ski rack is one of those things you didn't know you needed until you have one. In the mornings, loading up the car to go skiing is clean and simple. A turn of a key pops open the bars of the roof rack. I can easily fit my boyfriend's snowboard, my skis, and poles. When I pull the bars back down, rubber secures our equipment in place without putting too much pressure on them. Push down the bar, turn the key to lock the rack, and I'm all set to drive to the hill. Bonus for the SKS integrated lock system, which keeps your skis secure and safe while you après.
The best part is that my car has plenty of room for everything else: jackets, beer, and friends. It also doesn't smell.