5 Pro Snowboarders Tell Us Their Must-Have Travel Items

Tips and gear from folks who live life on the road

5 Pro Snowboarders Tell Us Their Must-Have Travel Items

A couple weeks ago, we were lucky enough to attend the 2020 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail, Colorado. It was every bit as lively as we predicted it would be, and a good time was had by all. 

The best riders from all over the world were on hand to compete, which got us thinking: these folks spend the majority of their year on the road in search of powder and contest glory, and thus must have some intel the rest of us can use to travel more effectively.

So we sat down with a few of the Open’s marquee faces to drill them on the tips and gear they’ve found to be invaluable in their travels. To wit:

Danny Davis

2x X Games gold medalist, Frends Crew founding member, Dew Tour gold medalist, excellent beard, all-around friendly guy

Travel Must-Haves:

“Coffee’s always the number one thing I bring. There’s always a tea kettle wherever you are, so I roll with my own pour-over. It’s a Melitta, it’s a plastic pour-over so it doesn’t get smashed.”

1-Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brew Cone
Melitta
$5

“I always roll with a heating pad. I have a lot of sore muscles, and now all the planes have plugs. So you can do a heating pad on the plane if you’re nursing an injury or if you just know you’re going to be relatively stiff.”

Large Electric Heating Pad
MIGHTY BLISS
$36

“We always play dominoes. Roll some bones and then listen to music. I have some Bose headphones for the noise canceling stuff, the battery life has gotten so good. But I always have multiple pairs of headphones because if the battery dies on the wireless ones, I need some I can always count on working — I roll with the Apple ones that plug into my phone because I can’t seem to hang on to a dongle for the life of me.”

Double Six Professional Dominoes
CHH
$12

QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Bose
$350

“I try to always roll with my skateboard, not only because we skate when we’re on the road, but because it’s such good travel through the airport. The marble floors are incredible, you just rip through there and hopefully you don’t see anybody who’s going to yell at you.”

Bamboo Mini Cruiser Skateboard
Magneto
$99

Go-To Bag:

“Burton makes a great duffel backpack that I can fit a lot of stuff into … I roll with a super-eight camera, so I don’t like to have the film get scanned. You always got to roll with your film on you so they can do the hand check.”

Multipath Duffel 90L
Burton
$105

Travel Shoe:

“I always roll in sandals because I have sweaty feet. I’m usually in some Birkenstocks or some kind of slip-on sandals that are really easy to get in and out of at TSA.” 

(Ed. note: you all know how we feel about sandals here at InsideHook, but for Danny we’ll make an exception)

Kyoto Nubuck/Suede Slide
Birkenstocks
$140

Travel Attire:

“As far as actual attire, if I’m on a long-haul flight, I’ll just switch into a pair of shorts because again, I’m a sweaty person. I also bring an extra T-shirt because you never know when you’re going to get pulled into secondary and have to sweat one out. I just got to have a change of clothes if I get into a sweaty situation, whether it’s a hot flight or a secondary customs search. Not that I’m ever traveling with anything.”

Slub Scallop Tee + Terry Scallop Short
Goodlife
$148

Latest Binge:

“I’ve been really into this show and it’s a really weird one. It’s called Man in the High Castle. It’s a weird one to follow at the beginning, but once you get what’s going on … I got sucked right into that.”

Best Snow You’ve Encountered?

“This year has been a really bad Japan year, but Japan … you have a really good chance of getting great snow. Just seems to never stop there.”

Best Aprés You’ve Encountered?

“The aprés in Europe has us so destroyed. We don’t even come close. St. Moritz, Arlberg … it’s so sick, man. That’s just where aprés was made. I hate the music at aprés in Europe, but damn they do it right. Aperol Spritz after riding? Yeah, Europe’s got us beat.”

Mark McMorris

8x X Games gold medalist, 2x Olympic medalist, 4x US Open winner, chill Canadian demeanor, excellent personal style

Travel Must-Haves:

“Being an athlete, I definitely have a lot of little tools I like to bring. I try not to travel without my yoga mat or my Hypervolt, and now I bring my NormaTec most places with me, which almost looks like you put goalie pads on. It’s like a lactic acid flush. So that’s really nice.”

Hypervolt
Hyperice
$385

Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery System
Normatec
$1,295

“I’m super hyped Skullcandy made a noise canceling headphone. I’ve been on Skullcandy since 2013 and I was always pushing for it and it finally came to market, I think two years ago. You need good headphones when you travel.”

Crusher ANC Personalized Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones
Skullcandy
$320

“And then obviously global entry card, passport, backup iPhone … I usually have two or three phones in my bag. I’m pretty good at losing stuff. So I prepare for that.”

Go-To Bag:

“Burton bags, lifetime warranty, can’t go wrong. Why wouldn’t you buy a Burton suitcase? They’re so sick. They’re so durable. And if it ever does break, you can just get another one. It’s the best program on earth.”

Wheelie Flight Deck 38L Suitcase
Burton
$182

Travel Shoe:

“As time goes on, I try and travel as comfy as possible. Wear sneakers that aren’t going to hurt your back. It changes all the time, but the Air Max 270 is such a good travel sneaker.”

(Ed. note: and they’re on sale!)

Air Max React 270
Nike
$150 $89

Travel Attire:

“Total sweatsuit guy while traveling. I love running it, and they’re like, ‘Are you sure you’re supposed to be sitting here?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah.’”

(Ed. note: Mark was wearing the below sweatsuit during this interview and looked quite cozy)

Italian Sherpa Sweatsuit
Burton
$240

Best Airline Experience:

“Going to the last Olympics, we flew Asiana airlines. Their dreamliner is super nice, we were up front and they had non-stop ramen, all flight. I was so hyped and couldn’t sleep, just mowing ramen. And then one time I booked a mileage ticket on Lufthansa from LAX to Munich. I think it was 90 some or 110,000 miles, the difference between business and first. And that was my first time ever sitting first, and it’s actually just silly how nice it is. I didn’t want to get off the plane, to be honest.”

Best Snow You’ve Encountered?

“I would have to say Alaska. I was in the Tordrillo Range, and the snow is just insane. Crazy, champagne, stable. Fairly safe. And Japan, of course.”

Best Aprés You’ve Encountered?

“Probably have to give it up for Europe on that one. Aspen’s insane, too. I would say Cloud Nine is up there.”

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Julia Marino

U.S. Olympic Team, 7x X Games medalist, Laax Open winner, amateur photographer

Travel Must-Haves:

“I always travel with my camera, I have a Fujifilm X-T3. It’s pretty sweet, it’s old-school looking and it shoots really well. It’s not heavy and I can just put it in my backpack, so I pretty much bring that everywhere I go. It takes really sick photos, you can make your photos look sharp or you can make them look old-school too. I’m always exploring different photo styles.”

X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Fujifilm
$1,299

“I always travel with these immunity patches from a company that I’m sponsored by, they’re called STAMINAPRO. They’re essentially patches that you put on your chest, whether you’re think you’re going to be in a situation where you could get sick or you’re already in a situation where people around you are sick. They work so well, I never travel anywhere without them because they’re a lifesaver.”

STAMINAPRO Pack
STAMINAPRO
$50

“I try to go for a standard Burton backpack that has a laptop pocket in it and a smaller pocket on the end so you can just put random crap in it, and one that has a strap across, because when you ride down at the end of the day with your backpack, it’s always nice to have the straps connected so your bag’s not flying all over the place. I have a collection of U.S. Open backpacks, it’s a different one every year and it’s pretty sweet. I have all of them from like the past five years I’ve been competing at the Open, so that’s pretty cool.”

(Ed. note: your correspondent also used this pack all week and can attest to its efficacy)

U.S. Open Kilo 27L Backpack
Burton
$65

Travel Shoe:

“I really like to wear Vans shoes, I love Vans. In general I dress pretty comfortably, but when I’m traveling is when I try to dress extra comfortable.”

Rainy Day Suede Slip-On
Vans
$55

Piece of Ski/Snowboard Equipment Worth Splurging On?

“I would say investing in boots and really taking the time to see which ones feel right for you is good. Like I ride really soft boots, so when the boots are too stiff my day is over.”

Best Snow You’ve Encountered?

“I really like snowboarding in Switzerland. We have a contest there every year called the LAAX Open and it has a reputation for dumping snow every single year during that contest. I don’t do much backcountry or powder riding, so I would say that was my favorite snow experience because the mountain is just so big and there’s so much terrain to explore on it. And the snow is super good quality, fluffy and light.”

Red Gerard

U.S. Olympic Team, youngest Olympic gold medalist since 1928, only Olympic gold medalist to ever say “f*ck” on national television, US Open winner, Dew Tour gold medalist, Larry David fan

Travel Must-Haves:

“Right now, I have a little knee injury that’s been bugging me so I’ve been traveling with a heat pad I got on Amazon that I use to fall asleep on, heats up your muscles and all that.”

Large Electric Heating Pad
MIGHTY BLISS
$36

“Bose headphones, the noise canceling ones. They’re fire. Honestly, I don’t know if I could travel anymore without them.”

Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones 700
Bose
$399

Go-To Bag:

“Burton bags. They’re the best, their duffel bag wheelie, it’s the best thing. I’ve had mine for three years or something and I travel nonstop.”

Wheelie Cargo 65L Travel Bag
Burton
$300

Travel Attire:

“I like to keep my passport on me and zip it up, so anything with a zipper pocket.”

Favorite Travel Snack:

“If I’m going completely unhealthy, I love Takis, man. Takis are insane, my favorite.”

Best Airline Experience:

“One time when I was flying back from the Olympics, I flew on maybe … I don’t know, one of the Asian airlines. I sat first class, it was insane, big pods and stuff. It was next level, for sure. I wish I knew the airline.”

(Ed. note: presumably Red is referring to the same Olympics trip Mark mentioned, and thus Asiana Airlines)

Best Snow You’ve Encountered?

“Baldface Lodge in British Columbia. You helicopter in and stay in a lodge up there, and you get the full experience. If I’m going to go for a little powder retreat, I know I’m going to get good snow if I go there and have a great time.”

Best Aprés You’ve Encountered?

“Austria does their aprés right, for sure. It just seems to me, when I’m there, four o’clock hits and you go down to the base and it’s like a party. You feel like you’re at a full-on party. It’s hilarious.”

Scotty James

Australian Olympic Team, 2018 Olympic bronze medalist, 3x X Games gold medalist, Dew Tour winner, 3x World Championship gold medalist, US Open winner, hip hop aficionado

Travel Must-Haves

“I use Beats by Dre, the wireless ones. I like the noise canceling. They’re made to make rap and those kinds of bass-y music sound really good, so I like that.”

Solo Pro Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
Beats by Dre
$299

“I travel with an art book diary. I write in there quite a bit, snowboarding stuff. Just any general thoughts that come into my head. It might be about a run I want to do, or something that I need to remember. Anything.”

Large Hard Linen Journal
Shinola
$24

“I honestly don’t watch that much TV, funnily enough. I spend a lot of time in planes, you’d think I watch a lot of TV. But I got in the habit of trying to learn French. I get on Duolingo. I’m terrible, but I’m trying. That’s what counts.”

Travel Shoes/Attire:

“I like New Balance shoes. They’re very comfy. Comfort is important, but I don’t like to dress down for flying. Like I don’t really get on the plane in tracksuit pants or anything like that. I actually like these pants I’m wearing right now. They’re like suit pants. They’re kind of loose fitting. They’re comfortable on the flight.”

(Ed. note: Scotty didn’t know the brand of his pants, but the below are pretty close on the fit)

997H Spring Hike
New Balance
$90

Wool Blend Drawstring Trousers
Reiss
$255

Favorite Travel Snack:

“Can’t go wrong with SkinnyPop popcorn.”

Staying Fit on the Road:

“I tend to always find a place that has a gym. Cardio or fitness is always big for me. I tend to do really light walk runs during competition week. Lots of core training, core’s obviously pretty important in snowboarding. But yeah, keep it pretty minimal … obviously I expend a lot of energy on the mountain. Fatigue is a real thing. You’ve got to be very conscious, especially when you’re riding. Paying attention to your energy levels as well, when you’re not riding, going to the gym. You start to just mentally switch off, I think, and you become a bit complacent, and that’s usually when the injuries will happen.”

Best Snow You’ve Encountered?

“Best snow I’ve ever encountered in the entire world would be in Japan, for sure. I love Japan. I’ve been to Hokkaido. And a lot of those resorts around Niseko and Hakuba, all those are pretty good. It’s just deep. You’re going to really score when you go, it’s inevitable.”

Best Aprés You’ve Encountered?

“I’d probably say in France, La Folie Douce is pretty amazing. There’s just like, you know, the champagne, dancing on tables. They bring in specific dancers and basically people that entertain the whole aprés. It’s pretty cool.”

Lead image courtesy of Burton Snowboards