How to Pack Like an Olympian

Wise Packing

I have been fortunate enough to travel for my living, more of my life than not.

Part of the professional athlete profession has a lot to do with packing and being proficient at it. When I was younger I use to despise packing for trips. It would really overwhelm me, so I would procrastinate until I was normally packing until about 1-2 a.m. and then getting up at 4 a.m. to get on my flight at 6 a.m. I told myself that sleeping on the plane would be fine, but after getting married and having kids that bachelor lifestyle had to die.

Luckily my wife’s need to be early and on time for everything has rubbed off on me slowly but surely. She has helped me see how nice it is to have my bags packed and ready before the sun goes down on the eve of traveling. And I will admit, it makes life a lot easier! I wish I would have done it sooner. So, my first traveling tip is just that – give yourself enough time to think about all the details. Make a check list, lay it all out, and pack before dinner on your traveling eve. You will thank yourself at 4 a.m. the next day.

David Wise - pack like an olympian

Not only do I travel often, and to far away places, I also travel for long periods of time. This has taught me how much I need to pack, and I will share this brilliant revelation with you. ;) Whether you are packing for a week, a month, or a few months – you only need to pack for the first week. In other words, travel light! This is one of the best tips I can share with you. It really is possible.

If you’re traveling somewhere warm, you need even less than you think. And if you’re traveling somewhere cool or maybe mixed temperatures keep this in mind: layers. There are few places I can remember that did not have a washer to do a load of laundry after the week. If you have time, try to do another load of laundry before you pack to go back home. This way when you get back you can just put everything away. Or if you don’t have that luxury of time and, like me, are only home for a few days before leaving again, try this tip: Pack all your dirty clothes from your travel, come home and put it all in your laundry, then fold and repack the exact same items. This makes for a speedy turn around without getting stressed.

Here is my classic packing list for a Ski Trip:

1  Tank

2  T-Shirts

2  Long Sleeves

2  Base Layers

1  Over Jacket

2  workout shorts

2  pants

2  Beanies

2  Goggles

2  Helmets

2  gloves

Ski Jacket and Ski Pants


Bathing suit (Essential)

Toiletries (Don’t forget sunscreen- especially in the snow)

Extra Hair Ties, for these long locks of glory

David Wise - pack like an olympian

I almost forgot but didn’t, my Lucky Golden Ellen Boxers! She was thoughtful enough to replace my last lucky boxers that were ready to retire by the last Olympics, after I went on her show in 2014. I don’t really believe in the superstition stuff, but I have had lucky boxers for a long time. It is more of a special memory for me, or symbolic reminder of the goodness and grace in my life. Waking up on game day and getting dressed for the day, starting with a reminder of all the moments that have brought me to this place, reminds me to have a mindset of gratitude. It’s just a great way to start a big day.

This comes at no shock to anyone that we are living in the digital era. Which means there is a separate packing list dedicated specifically to that. One Item that is a must have for me is my e-reader. I am an avid reader. I read in between all my layovers, on the plane, during delays, and especially before bed. I cannot fall asleep without it! If you have a special item like this on your list, take this packing tip I have had to learn the hard way – make sure it makes it onto your leaving packing list! I have forgotten my e-reader under my hotel room pillows probably 5 times now in the last few years. Make sure you not only have a packing list to go traveling, but also a packing list to travel back home. Here is another helpful packing tip, make sure you charge all your batteries before you pack them. It is a hassle to do it when you get there.

Here is my essential packing list which starts with a great backpack with lots of pockets. I look for ones that have the easy laptop carrier, and a shoe hole for stuffing your jacket if you get too hot.

1  Backpack

Computer and Cords

Headphones, for the long airplane ride to Korea

Leather Wallet to hold my ID, Visa credit card, and some cash

U.S.A. Passport


Phone, Charger

Camera/ Tri-Pod/ Extra Batteries

Extra Memory cards in an organized compact


Packing Tip: Know your purpose of travel.

On this particular trip, I am packing for the Olympics, and some back-country skiing in Japan before my event. So my goal is to have everything I need to ski half pipe and powder. This is where my priorities lie and will be the most time consuming to do it properly. It is critical to remember the purpose for your travels and focus your attention on having everything you need for that. For the most part, in this day and age, you can always buy anything else you forget. My essential packing list for a ski trip starts with another awesome ski bag that will not rip and tear with all the heavy equipment you are carrying. And all of this:

Backcountry Skins

Backcountry Probe

Backcountry Beacon

Backcountry Shovel

2 pairs  Powder Skis

Touring Boots

2 Pairs of Pipe Skis with Bindings

Extra Pairs of skis, for “Justin” (Just in Case)

Super stiff Race Boots, Because I weigh 190 lbs

Extremely Short  Poles, because I tend to punch myself in the face landing switch.

And that is it! Zip it all up and load it in the car so you can join your family for dinner. Relax, watch a movie or play some games together for some much-needed quality time before you’re gone for a while. You should be able to get to bed at a great time and wake up bright and early feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever travel frustrations come your way.

With good sleep the night before you’ll be able to be kind to the poor airport employee and airline attendants who are just trying to survive their day surviving you. ;) So cut them some slack. Sit back, read your book, and enjoy the ride. This way, you can avoid being written about in my next #travelthoguhts on Twitter. :P

Thanks for joining me on my Road to PyeongChang! I will see you in Korea.

My Road to PyeongChang

David Wise Monster Energy

Last week in Snowmass, Colorado, I reached the first finish line of a massive season by winning my second U.S. Olympic Team qualifying event. Having two wins under my belt ensures my spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for PyeongChang, South Korea this February. To say that the competition for spots on the Olympic Team was fierce would be an understatement. The U.S. Freeskiing Team for halfpipe right now is the strongest it has ever been. This is possibly the toughest battle for Olympic Team Spots in U.S. Ski Team history. The United States currently has at least 6 of the best halfpipe skiers in the world. The Olympic Winter Games is limited to four spots or less per country per event. That means that the two guys on the outside looking in, the fifth and sixth place Americans are skiers with enough skill to potentially win the Olympics, and they’ll be home watching from the couch. In many Olympic sports the members of the team are pretty apparent well in advance, but this weekend in Mammoth is the last event and I can honestly say that the remaining spots are still up in the air. Now you can understand my incredible sense of relief at having that spot locked up.

David Wise - my road to PyeongChang

As I said in the beginning, I feel like I’ve reached a major finish line. I’m not easing off the gas by any means. The Olympics is the long-term goal. However, the easing of pressure is palpable. I am stoked to be going back to the Olympic Games and feel honored to represent everyone who has believed in me along the way. There has been a lot more to this particular journey than most people realize.

I am coming off the worst two seasons of my competitive career. At least that is how it looks on paper. My last victory before this season in Copper was at the Winter Dew Tour in the winter of 2014/ 2015. A lot of things played into my lack of success in the past couple years: I had an injured shoulder and back, three separate concussions, my wife lost her father, my sister Christy was in a boating accident and lost her leg, I had a dear student of mine commit suicide. Not to mention my wife and I had our second child, Malachi, shortly after the Olympics in Sochi. Alexandra was actually pregnant and experiencing brutal morning sickness while she was watching me compete in Sochi, but we weren’t telling anybody yet so she really had to get through that process alone while I was doing the insane media tour. After Alexandra gave birth to Malachi, she went through a hard year of postpartum depression – something more common than most people realize. We had to find out that having two kids was far more challenging to handle with my new post-Olympic traveling schedule than we had expected. There were moments when we were not sure we were going to make it.



During the 2014 season leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, my wife and daughter traveled everywhere with me. It was a great way for me to feel like I was part of their life while still doing my job. But traveling with two kids is a lot harder than traveling with one. Plus, we went through an entire year where at least one kid at a time was sick. Neither my wife nor I were sleeping at night and then I would go out and try to ski the same as always as if nothing had changed. During one trip when I traveled without the family, Malachi had a fever spike and went into what we now know was a febrile seizure. At the time I was in Oslo, Norway and got a phone call from my wife who thought our son was dying, or dead. Let’s just say this was a lot to take on at once and my skiing performance suffered.

David Wise - my road to PyeongChang 

The people around me had some interesting reactions to my supposed “fall from glory;” a lot of them weren’t positive. Over the last two years I’ve experienced a lot of adversity, but one I was not expecting was the complete restructuring of my sponsors. I’m thankful to everyone that stood by me, especially my sponsors – Monster, Visa and Lululemon Men. Sponsors that I never expected to be petty and shortsighted, some of whom I have partnered with for more than 10 years decided it was time to cut me loose. One company even went to the length of making up bogus “contract violations” in order to have an excuse to terminate my contract instead of carrying it through the Olympics like the contract stated. I’ve been asked countless times if I was going to retire (not anytime soon, guys!). I’ve had people tell me that I had a good run and that they were surprised it lasted as long as it did. I’ve certainly had some people dancing on my contest career’s supposed grave and celebrating my downfall. Never the less, I’ve also experienced unconditional love and support from a select few that made all the weapons of my enemies turn to ash.

  David Wise - my road to PyeongChang

The problem is the haters forgot who I am. Or, perhaps, more accurately they never bothered to figure out who I was in the first place. I have to admit I am to blame too. I am not naturally a transparent person. I don’t tell people when I am struggling, and I don’t often share the burden. During the tough times these past years I didn’t reach out and let people know how hard of a time I was having outside of skiing. I just kept my head down and kept fighting. That is what the naysayers and critics fail to realize. I am a fighter, and fighters do their best work in adverse conditions. Nothing has been better for my long-term ski career than having two years of struggles. I have learned to be thankful for my multiple injuries that left my career in question to the world. I am thankful for my sister’s loss that enabled her to live with a purpose that is bigger than herself. I am thankful for the death that brought so much life and healing to my wife. She has become a true proverbs 31 woman through her own trials, I couldn’t be prouder of who she is now because of it, and where it has brought our marriage and family. I am thankful for my two most prized possessions that I can never take credit for: my honor and glory, Nayeli and Malachi, who have made me the man I am today. I am thankful for the buildup of all the tragedy that prepared me for what was to come – and taught me how to consider all things as an opportunity for great joy.

So today, I am able to write this with complete peace in my spirit, I am thankful for the sponsors that dropped me and the shortsighted people that counted me out. You guys are responsible in a major way for reigniting the furnace in my heart and I have never felt as passionate and excited about skiing and competing as I do right now. Those dropped sponsorships have opened the door to some of the best partnerships of my career, and taught me how to cherish what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t. I’m back in full-force and I’ve never been more grateful for the things that I have, instead of being caught in a vicious cycle of always wanting more. I appreciate the opportunity to represent my country, my hometown and MY people in the Olympics this year more than I knew I was capable of. I also know that all of this is temporary, and that is ok. Everything that I have is a gift from God, and He can take it away when He wants to. I am surrounded by people who truly love and support me for who I am, not what I do on a pair of skis and not for any level of success I could attain.

  David Wise - my road to PyeongChang

These past two years have done a great job of showing me the truly loyal people and I will cherish them. I’m also dedicated to not hating the fickle people, but instead finding hope in forgiveness and my renewed passion for repentance. I have been guilty of plenty of shortsightedness in my life, so I can forgive the ski industry for being shortsighted with me. After all, Jesus forgave the same men that nailed him to a cross, and his example is the one I most desire to follow. There are two ways to react to adversity in life. One way is to feel slighted and to allow yourself to be bitter. The other is to use the adversity to your advantage and gain strength and momentum from it. I choose the latter. Join me on my journey to PyeongChang and, as always, thank you for the support!