If you're not renting or leasing equipment at your destination, you'll need to factor in the cost of lugging along all your ski equipment. Cronheim estimates that for a family of four, checking a suitcase and ski equipment can add almost $500 to the cost of a vacation.
To save money, Cronheim suggests utilizing your carry-on allotments to the max. "Pack your entire ski outfit -- most importantly, your boots -- in your carry-on luggage. That way, even if your bags don't make it, you'll rest easy knowing you'll be all set to ski the next day. Nothing starts your vacation off on a worse note than rental boots." He notes that several manufacturers make special ski-boot backpacks that meet the carry-on requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Then there's the question of where to put your ski helmet. "Often, airlines will turn a blind eye to passengers who clip a helmet to their backpack," Cronheim says.