When traveling around the world, people always ask where you are from. Colorado is where I reside, and Vermont is where I grew up, but my first response is usually ‘my suitcase.’  Last season I flew roughly 76,000 miles to 8 different countries on 3 separate continents, staying in 12 different hotels. That is a lot of packing, unpacking, and repacking, no matter how you slice it.

Every time I walk though the airport and see some businessman or woman wheeling their one carry-on bag and brief case I feel a very small pang of jealousy. Racing on the World Cup requires a lot of equipment. 5 snowboards, multiple pairs of bindings, protective gear, extra sets of goggles and so on – all on top of all the outerwear and layers required for any outdoor activity during the winter. With airline baggage fees these days, packing for a 3-week trip around Europe can make even the hardest Tetris level seem like child’s play.

Even with all that gear, the true crux comes down to how many pairs of underwear and socks to pack. Turns out access to washers and dryers isn’t always easy to come by in some Western Austrian ski valley.  Between training, video review, qualifying, the occasional climbing gym mission, racing and relocating, finding time to do laundry can be damn tough.

Thanks to my Gold Status on United these days I travel with two snowboard bags, a large duffle, carry on (for when the airlines inevitably lose one or more of my bags) and a backpack. That’s 5 bags. Sometimes I feel like I could give the Kardashians a run for their money in the bags per person department.  After 12 years of traveling around the world for snowboard events, I have a pretty good packing system worked out. Even though it can feel like a challenge, I never forget how lucky I am to globetrot  while chasing my passion.  Most of the time, carrying that much stuff around is a huge pain in the ass, but the more I think about it, I’m pretty damn glad that I’m not the one toting around the brief case.

Road essentials

Road essentials


  1. Hey Alex,

    Kevin Kirks mom here!

    Nice writing and animation.
    Good luck on your travels and competitions.
    Now I have another Vermonter I know, kind of, that is going to the Olympics.!
    I knew Betsy Shaw from Manchester, and I watched her all those years ago in Japan.


  2. come on over to Munich and we’ll give you six more to add to your Tetris collection. (not bad writing friend. impressed.)

  3. Alex: congratulations on being selected for the US olympic team. Mrs. O’Malley and I wish you (and your proud parents ) all the best. Keep looking them in the eye when you shake hands (quote from Grandpa Millar)

Comments are closed.