For the snow warriors out there who daily drive their BMW's in the winter, a high-quality ski and snowboard rack is a must. BMW's aren't known for their trunk space, so don't count of any of your boards fitting in there.
Living in Colorado, our 3-series takes us everywhere. We love driving it through the winding roads to the mountains. Fitting four fully grown men with bulky ski clothing on in the cabin might be tough, but with a proper roof rack we at least have no problem getting our skis and snowboards there.
A quality roof rack system, specifically for skis and snowboards, is a must for anyone who lives near the mountains and loves skiing and snowboarding. A bad quality or poorly fitting rack system can cause a lot of rattle and make for an annoying and noisy drive with gear mounted on the top. Choosing the right rack is important for properly securing your gear and making sure it doesn't fly off or annoy you during your drive.
Base Support Systems
Whether you are mounting ski and snowboard racks, bike racks, a luggage carrier, etc., you will need to first install a base support system.
While the majority of roof racks are universal, base support systems are not. Each BMW roof has different size and width dimensions, and different mounting locations, so you will need to get the proper BMW base support system for you vehicle. Once you have the proper support system, you can mount any type of rack (ski, bike, luggage, etc.) to the support system.
We highly recommend purchasing the OEM/Genuine BMW base support systems. Unlike most things BMW makes, these are actually pretty inexpensive with most around the $250 price point. There are some aftermarket brands, but they will not mount as well as the genuine systems and might rattle and shake while driving.
The 3 Best BMW Ski & Snowboard Roof Racks
Once you have your base support system setup, it's now time to purchase a universal ski and snowboard carry rack to mount to your base system. These are our 3 favorite:
The Thule SnowPack is our top rates ski rack for your BMW. This rack should mount to any Genuine BMW base support system and fit all years and models. Thule is the leading roof rack manufacturer in the world and these racks don't fall short. Here is why these are the best:
- Fits all models of BMW's
- No noise while driving, even fully loaded at 70mph (at least for us, some report noise depending on vehicle)
- Easy slide on and off
- Anti-theft locking system prevents theft
- Large push buttons make it super easy to open and close with gloves on
These are the same racks we use on our E90 335i. We are all big guys with 160+ snowboards and big feet/bindings and we get all 4 of our boards on here without a problem. Fitment on these racks is great and it will fit any round bar, t-track, or around the bar mounting systems.
The Thule 91725U is the best "bang for the buck" ski rack out there for anyone looking for a great, but affordable rack. If the SnowPack is out of your price range, the 91725U is a great option and has pretty much all the same features.
The primary difference between the two is that the 91725U only has a 24 inch loading width, whereas the Large or Extended version of the SnowPack is 29.5 inches. 24 inches can get a little tight for 4 boards or 6 pairs of ski's, so I wouldn't recommend this if you have a full family you need to load up for.
- Fits all BMW models
- Anti-theft locks
- Large push buttons
- Mounts to majority of factory base systems
- Only 4 pairs of regular skis even though advertised for 6
The Rhino Rack carrier is a great value pick at its price point and comes in sizes ranging from 13 to 27 inches of internal mounting space. This will comfortable hold anywhere from 4 to 6 (maybe more depending on type) pairs of ski's and 2-4 snowboards.
Similar to the Thule system, this includes a lock and key anti-theft system, and big buttons for easy opening. The racks are made of rust-free aluminum and will last many winters. With universal mounting hardware, these racks will mount onto any BMW base mounting system.
How to Mount BMW Roof Racks
Before you go mounting bikes, ski's, snowboards, fishing rods, you name it, you need to install a "base mounting system". From there, the use-specific racks will then mount on top of the base mounting system. With universal mounting hardware, this allows you to easily swap out different types and different sizes of racks.
We highly recommend the OEM BMW Base Mounting Systems. There are some third-party manufacturers out there, but BMW's system will have the best fitment. Additionally, the cost of the BMW systems aren't what you would expect.
The OEM base mounting system bolts directly up to your factory roof. On the "roof liners" that go vertically across the roof, there will be two flaps, one forward and one rearward, that will open up and have screw holes to directly mount the system to.
For a DIY installation video, check out this video: