Packed Lives

Arnie Wilson turned his skiing hobby into his writing life. He entered the Guinness Book of Records for skiing every day in 1994: a total of 3,690 miles skied in 240 resorts
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The Independent Travel
In Summer, I ski in Australia, Chile, on Swiss glaciers or inside the arctic circle in Sweden. Every year I average over 100 days actively on skis in over 50 resorts. Whether to take my own skis or not is the weighty problem. On the 1994 world trip, my companion and I lugged 14 bags and four pairs of skis everywhere. Skiers do need a lot of clobber; sunglasses, ski socks (I needed 20 pairs to ski round the world), hats, suncream - lots - lip cream, goggles.

I have a heavy black bag for a laptop, printer and worldwide adaptors, which doesn't go with me if I am carrying skis. Then I take a "palm-top" computer which does a laptop's work - I don't know how but it's useful for notes. The rest goes in a wheeled suitcase or a ski bag. Ski bags make wonderful dumping grounds for dirty washing. At least one rucksack is a good idea, especially when skiing with a girlfriend - for all the things that there's no room for in her slim-as-a-rake designer suit.

I wear my Avocet watch which tells me how many runs I have skied and how many vertical feet. I pack "powder cords", brightly coloured tapes, 2-3 metres long to attach to skis to locate them in deep snow. Some skiers take goggles with built-in fans to keep vision steam-free or hollow ski poles which can be filled with alcohol.

I have my "lucky" clothes; a red fleece jacket from Chile, and a pink, mauve and silver jacket from Argentina. It's too flashy to wear but I take it as a spare and just look at it.

Skiing is sweaty and little can double for apres ski once it has been worn on the slopes. I always come back with more than I started with; another pair of apres-ski boots - I have about eight pairs - or some sweat- shirts. I have a silly rule that I never wear a sweat-shirt from the resort I'm skiing in, so I'll wear a Vail sweat-shirt in, say, Aspen (they hate me for it) and vice versa. I rarely take a suit, but usually a tie - you can't get into the Palace Hotel in St Moritz after hours without one.

I should take long-johns but never bother. Face masks are useful protection; I have a Canadian triangular suede mask with "hors-la-loi" [outlaw] printed on it, but when I wear it my goggles steam up. The most useless thing to take is a snorkel. Some skiers use them in really deep snow which can drown you if you breathe it in. I've skied in wonderful snow, but never quite that deep.

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