The ski racer’s packing guide for spending the holidays in Europe

By Megan McJames

Every year there’s a women’s giant slalom and slalom World Cup right after Christmas in Austria. This schedule doesn’t allow time for the North American athletes to travel home for Christmas and so it requires holiday elves, like myself, to pack their cheer and bring it with them!

Here are the essentials for spending Christmas in the Austrian Alps:

  • Lots of cozy Patagonia layers to keep warm while exploring snowy nights
  • Long underwear & lots of extra ski socks because nobody likes cold, wet or smelly feet
  • Two bags of chocolate for obvious reasons
  • Holiday magazines because it is hard to find the English versions in Europe
  • A couple small presents from loved ones back at home
  • My ski journal to keep track of small successes and to remember lessons learned on the slopes
  • An external hard drive for ski video analysis
  • Lots of protein bars for post training recovery
  • Snow boots, again for warm toes
  • Wax (and other tuning equipment) because there is no better gift to yourself than fast skis
  • Fresh lenses for wintery days on the mountain
  • A radio transmitter for when you have a long road trip on the autobahn and can’t stand to listen to any more Hit Radio
  • A swimsuit for when you want to go in the hotel’s sauna but aren’t yet comfortable with the nude custom
  • A foam roll for the dreaded giant slalom skier’s sore back
  • And, lastly, a cozy blanket to make any foreign bed feel like home


Happy Holidays!

Megan’s first podium of the season at an Echo Mountain slalom, 2nd place.

Featured image by Gerwig Löffelholz