How to prevent ski and snowboard equipment theft on the slopes

Written by the Square One team

Updated June 12, 2024 | Published November 3, 2018

What could be more invigorating on a sunny winter day than some time on the slopes? Outdoors enthusiasts embrace the chill in the air, rather than huddling indoors, and, this winter, there’s no shortage of snow on the ski hills across Canada.


Thumbnail of the How to Prevent Ski and Snowboard Theft video

As you pack your gear into your vehicle and head toward the nearest hill, you’re undoubtedly eager for that first run. However, take some time to ensure that your skis, boards, and poles will be safe from theft while you’re enjoying your outing. Gear is pricey and is often targeted by thieves looking to make a quick buck on the resale market or upgrade their own equipment.

Theft is always a possibility, so don’t make yourself an easy target. Take precautions to keep your equipment safe, including:

Lock your ski equipment

Don’t provide thieves with an opportunity. Despite the fact that you are skiing in a small town or at a friendly resort, theft occurs.

Even if you’re simply popping into a shop for some take-out coffee, lock your skis in one of the racks provided by the ski hill. It only takes a minute for someone to pick up your board and casually wander away, looking as innocent as you please.

Use a combination lock, rather than one that requires a key; it’s too easy to lose a key on the slopes. And, if you don’t have a lock, rent one from the mountain.

In today’s high-tech world, there are also anti-theft tracking devices that you can affix to your gear and monitor using an app on your phone. Some of them actually come equipped with alarms that sound if someone tries to abscond with your equipment.

“Thieves are lazy,” says Tomalty. “Put your skis in a high-profile area, put a lock on them, keep your eyes on them. The odds of them being stolen will go way down.”

Check your snowboard and skis

Many ski hills today offer areas where you can check your equipment during the day or overnight. Take advantage of this service; it couldn’t be easier.

They may also offer check-in for your personal valuables or provide rental lockers, so don’t leave wallets or other important items in your car. It’s easier to break into an unguarded vehicle than a storage area that is monitored and visible.

Make it difficult to steal

If you’re without a lock and there is no check-in area available, make it challenging for a casual thief to snatch your gear. Swap one ski with your buddy so that you have a mismatched pair; store yours far from his/hers.

A potential thief won’t want to draw the attention required to search for matching skis. By looping your poles over your skis, you also make theft more awkward for someone trying to make a quick getaway. And, you can avoid tempting them more than necessary by keeping any brand names out of plain sight.

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Mark your ski gear

When you buy outdoor equipment, mark it so that it is recognizable as your property. Add stickers, names or initials to brand it as yours. Also, record the brand, make and serial number of each item. Take photos of the equipment with these markings visible.

Keep this recorded inventory of your belongings handy – perhaps in the glove compartment of your car, on your phone or in your wallet. In the event that your gear is stolen, you’ll have a better chance of recovering it if it can be identified as yours.

Report stolen skis and snowboards

Don’t take equipment theft lightly; thieves need to suffer consequences for their actions. Report the theft to the ski hill’s security team or to the police. If you rented your equipment, report its loss to the rental company. Provide them with serial numbers and identifying marks to make it easier for them to recover your belongings.

The police in Calgary, for example, compile a weekly list of stolen and missing ski and snowboard equipment and provide it to area pawn shops and consignment stores so that they don’t offer stolen goods for sale. Some ski areas also post lists containing serial numbers of missing items.

Insure your skis and snowboard

Check to see if your home insurance policy covers ski or snowboard theft. If not, and you are on the slopes frequently, you may want to consider adding special coverage to your policy.

Remember: winter is supposed to be a time to shed all your cares as enjoy the outdoors, not a time to worry about replacing expensive outdoor equipment. Better safe than sorry.

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