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.