The Pack on Simi Hamilton’s Back

Simi after his second place finish.  Photo Credit: Luciano Solero/ANSA via AP

As one of our themes for February blogs, we asked our athletes to fill us in on what they pack for a winter of ski racing.  Some of these guys are on the road from November to March, like US Nordic Athlete Simi Hamilton.  This Colorado boy knows a thing or two about packing efficiently, and he listed his 10 “Must-Haves” for a season of ski racing.  Oh yeah… he also got second this year in a World Cup Sprint. Read on for Simi’s list!

Okay, first of all, you have to be prepared for anything and everything, all the time. That feeling of envy when you walk through an airport and see every other traveler carrying nothing but a book and their computer bag? Yeah, you have to give up on that dream. Living the life of a full-time ski racer can be described as being amazing, adventurous, and action-filled. But it also means that you have to get used to carrying stuff around. A lot of stuff. Here is a list of the ten absolute essentials you can find me with in my carry on bag, whether I’m jumping on a short flight from Munich to Oslo, or taking the long haul from Newark to Moscow.


  1. Macbook Pro laptop. I have to be able to organize training plans and training logs on my computer when I’m on the go. Travel days means lots of time waiting around in an airport or stuck in the window seat on a plane, so I tend to try to get a lot of the ‘business’ side of being a professional athlete done on these long days.
  2. iPad with plenty of pre-downloaded crosswords and magazines. You gotta pass the time somehow, and the in-flight magazines just won’t really cut it since you’ve read and re-read all of them 4 times already in the last month.
  3. Beats noise cancelling headphones. You never know when you’re going to get stuck in the middle seat between those two buddies that went clubbing in Munich until 5 a.m., and consequently are now sawing z’s next to you for the next 9 hours.
  4. Kindle e-reader. For those times when you want to impress everyone else by showing them that ski racers actually can read and are somewhat intellectually normal.
  5. Chargers and chargers and more chargers (and the right adapters). You never know when you’re going to miss a flight or some airline’s baggage handlers are suddenly going to go on strike, so you have to be prepared to spend the night in an airport hotel and re-charge your phone and computer so you can stay in touch with your coaches and figure out a Plan B.
  6. Fischer duathlon race boots. Just in case your bag doesn’t come (you can pretty much count on this if your final destination is Rovaniemi, Finland), having a pair of your own boots with your own stink is pretty critical.
  7. Craft wind briefs, Craft long underwear and training tights, Craft training jacket and pants. The last thing you want to do if your bag accidentally ends up in some place like Dubai for a few days is have to train in your underwear and jeans that you just traveled in for 30 hours. Plus, you can always do some sink laundry while you’re out training that first day, so theoretically this gives you an extra change of clothes while your washing your other stuff.
  8. Toothbrush and deodorant. Stave off that half-way-around-the-world jet-lag by brushing your teeth after a 10-hour flight and applying a fresh layer of deodorant before your next flight. Your seat mate will thank you for it.
  9. Your body never really knows what’s happening during a long travel day, so you have to keep it happy by keeping it fueled with something other than just candy.
  10. USANA Booster C immune support drink mix. This is priority numero uno. There is absolutely nothing worse than taking your seat next to someone who is about to break a rib they’re coughing so hard or their nose just won’t stop running. Pop a couple of these small powder packets in your water bottle, shake for 30 seconds, down the hatch, and you’ve created a barrier between you and them that even the most ardent virus can’t get through.