All Photos: Donny O’Neill
When it comes to figuring out how to fit all of our gear—and our friends, plus their gear—in our vehicles, skiers often resort to a clown-car approach of shoving bags on top of bags until we get it all in there. Without fail, something gets left behind, broken or up your buddy’s you-know-where. The guys and gals at Rack Attack strive to make those sport-travel pains a bitch of the past by providing and installing the right racks and boxes you need—no matter the vehicle or activity.
Rack Attack first opened in 1996 with a single location in Vancouver, British Columbia, but now spans across North America with 19 locations from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois, and Toronto, Canada. Featuring both brick-and-mortar store locations as well as an option to buy online, Rack Attack is a one-stop-shop that’ll help you decide what works best for you and your vehicle.
“Our goal is to get our customers with the box or rack that works best for them,” says Rack Attack Denver-West General Manager, Brandon Peterson.
Whether you’re looking for something to carry just your skis in the winter, a fly rod in the summer or something to house your outdoor gear year-round, Rack Attack has what you need. Offering 15 of the best brands—think Yakima, Thule and Küat—for everything from skiing and snowboarding to kayaking, mountain biking and fly fishing, you’ll find the roof rack, cargo box or trailer hitch attachment that’s a perfect fit for your lifestyle and your rig.
In January, Team FREESKIER had the opportunity to meet Peterson at Rack Attack’s Denver-West location in Golden, Colorado, to get our vehicles fitted for cargo boxes to carry our skis this season. Once Peterson had a clear idea what we’d be using the boxes for—transporting long skis and, often, a lot of them—and measured our various vehicles to ensure they would fit, he suggested we try out the Thule Motion XT XL. The second-largest box in Thule’s premium Motion line, the XT XL offers 18 cubic feet of space and fits up to 200-centimeter skis—long enough for even the lankiest snow-sliders. The sleek design and metal rod in the center of the box that runs its entire length significantly cuts down on unsettling highway chatter and a central locking system that can be accessed from either side makes it easy to access your gear.
After agreeing on the Motion XT XL, Peterson and his team swiftly started the installation process. While my teammates already had existing crossbars on their Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Four Runner, I only had a flush rail on the top of my Hyundai Tucson. What I thought would be a more complex issue turned out to be a simple fix with Thule’s AeroBlade Edge Rail system.
“We can put a crossbar system on any vehicle,” Peterson assured me.
Over a lunch break, our three adventure-wagons had been measured and outfitted with brand-spankin’-new cargo boxes and we were on our way. If you’re looking for a new system and want to take a more do-it-yourself approach, most items from Rack Attack dot com ship for free and land at your doorstep within days. If you’re looking for a short-term solution to your packing problems, Rack Attack offers roof box rentals that start at just $15 per day.
Not only was the installation quick, Peterson and his team at Rack Attack West-Denver operated with obvious care. As soon as I walked in the store, which was first a church in the 1890s, it was immediately evident this team took care of every detail. What stood out to me most was the organized presentation of the store’s offerings and refreshing atmosphere, which provided a great place to hang out while I waited for the installation crew to properly measure the placement of my cargo box system.
A road trip with your ski buddies shouldn’t have to be cramped and installing a rack or box shouldn’t have to be a hassle. Rack Attack solves both of those issues.