Yakima PowderHound SE ski rack

Most companies would celebrate a 25th anniversary with some cake and a few bottles of champagne. Yakima chose to commemorate its 25th year in the vehicle-rack business with a special-edition ski rack.

The PowderHound SE is a basic four-ski/two-snowboard configuration with flip-open arms and rubberized padding. But there are a couple special touches: The arms, for example, have a new opener lever that lets you push up or press in to open the rack. Also, the rubber used for the padding and sandwiching of the skis is softer than normal and made to resist stiffening in cold temps.

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Beyond those simple touches, the PowderHound SE is a fairly normal ski rack that’s perhaps a little pricey at $89. But Yakima makes a good product and the rack should last for many years and many ski seasons.

The base rack system on my car is a Thule square-bar setup. Yakima ships the PowderHound SE with mounting hardware that fits its own round bars as well as Thule bars and most other common crossbars on the market. The company also sells optional adapters it calls MightyMounts that let you connect Yakima components to factory-mounted vehicle racks found on new car and truck models like the Ford Escape and Saturn Vue.

To ensure that your ski or snowboard bindings do not touch the car’s rooftop, Yakima includes riser bars with the PowderHound SE. These optional pieces raise and angle the rack about four additional inches off the base bar. Most ski setups — mine included — will not require these riser bars, but Yakima ships them standard with the PowederHound SE just in case.

No tools are required for installing this rack — not even a hex wrench or a screwdriver. The rack comes with simple instructions, and assembly is fairly intuitive. After snapping the plastic adapters around the base-rack bars, the PowderHound SE fits on top and attaches with two long bolts that screw in to nuts that can be tightened down firm without a wrench.

Price: $89.
Contact: Yakima, 1-888-925-0703, www.yakima.com.

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