Traveling is the best part of skiing. We train all summer and fall for the fun part of going to other places to race. In my busiest season, I raced in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Alaska, so I had to figure out an efficient way to travel. Most skiers have race rituals, and I am no exception. I want to wear a specific pair of socks for this specific race. This has resulted in me developing a very particular packing list of the exact things I have to bring on ski trips.
When I lived in Wyoming, I had the luxury of driving to almost every race, so I could pack a little bit more and take a separate duffle bag for clothing. However, now that I live in Alaska, almost all of my races are in the Lower 48, so I have to trim down some. I do so by packing my ski bag with my clothes for extra padding and to save on baggage fees. I travel with a backpack, ski bag, and rifle, so having less to drag through the airport is also a plus. A comment I hear a lot is, “Is that all you brought?”
Before I had an iPhone, I printed out a list and “laminated” it with clear packaging tape so that I could cross off items with a dry erase marker then clean it and use it for the next trip. Same idea but now in my notes app, I have a very detailed list of what I need to pack.
My go-to things to pack are nuun energy and headphones. Traveling is a lot of down time, so sipping on some vitamin c and listening to podcasts keep me entertained. A few of my favorite podcasts are The Unicorn Living Podcast, a podcast about career building, and Stuff You Missed in History Class, a podcast about little known history that is usually ridiculous. Sometimes I pack food that is going to go bad while I am gone. The TSA gave me side-eye when I had a loose avocado in my bag.
My favorite thing to not pack is homework. If I can, I try to leave my computer and any textbooks behind because that stuff is heavy and I probably won’t do the work, anyway. Another great way to pack light is seeing base layers and day shirts as the same thing. I will wear my long sleeve shirt for the day then wear it the next morning for training. Pair it with a vest or flannel and it is still fashionable. Multipurpose! I also credit my packing skills to my Uncle Wally who took us kids on annual backpacking trips in the Wind River and Wyoming Ranges. Eight-year-olds trying to hike 25-mile trips needed to cut weight or else he would be stuck with our complaining the whole time.
But I am not totally frugal, as I give myself some luxuries. I’m not a coffee snob but I do pack my own mini French press and ground coffee so I can have my coffee how I want it when I want, which helps with my pre-race routine. I have to bring my heavy mittens, light mittens, heavy gloves, and thin gloves. Can’t forget a casual beanie, race hat, thick headband, thin headband, and extra thin headband. Plus, town sunglasses, and sports sunglasses with a clear lens and a sunny lens. Is that way too many gloves and headbands and sunglasses? Probably, but it hasn’t failed me yet.