On the Road: Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson knows how to heal
A little incense, maybe some crystals. How about some sesame oil and hemp proteins? Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Jamie Anderson just wants whatever makes her feel comfortable on the road during her roughly 10 competitions per year.
“I’m hilarious,” the 24-year-old Californian tells SI.com. “I laugh almost every time leaving home because I’m throwing in random things. It’s pretty awesome. I guess I just like to have the things that make me feel good and homie since I pretty much live on the road.”
Anderson, one of the most decorated American snowboarders around, makes nutrition a key focus of her travels—just like her every day life.
The different kinds of items Anderson tosses into her luggage reads like a grocery list of a holistic healing expert. “I bring a lot of superfoods,” she says. The list includes Navitas Naturals, goji berries for their aminos and trace minerals, chia seeds for drinking in water daily, dried dragon fruit, coconut, mulberries, cashews, almonds and her own ghee (clarified butter).
“[Ghee]'s amazing to cook with and really healing from the Ayurvedic Medicine beliefs, which I’m studying right now and very interested in," says Anderson.
The love of healing foods spills from Anderson’s suitcase right into her downtime on the road.
“Right now I’ve been really interested in natural medicine and learning more about the body and ways to heal,” she says. “My sister is in Chinese Medicine school right now and I love to connect on all the things she’s learning. I’m really intrigued by Ayurvedic Medicine—ancient healing from India—and I want to pursue studies and be able to help friends and family and anyone who wants to live a healthier more balanced life.”
But not all of Anderson’s time on the road goes into learning about ancient medicine. She is “insanely eager” to experience culture.
“I try to stay a couple extra days everywhere I go so I can take it all in,” Anderson says. “This year I was able to stay in Switzerland an extra 10 days and that rarely happens, but it's so special when it does.”
With trips easily stretching longer than a month and hitting international sites along the way—a recent trip included a start in New York, followed by a jaunt to Aspen for the X Games with a flight to Switzerland and a return to New York before heading home while another trip included Colorado, Whistler, Austria and California mountains. One trick Anderson has for battling travel fatigue is taking time to enjoy a sauna.
“I think it is vitally important to detox and cleanse the body from any life-toxins, especially flying,” says Anderson. “I also love hot yoga.”
While Anderson’s offseason—similar to many snowboarders—includes intense sessions with a trainer, Anderson mixes in CrossFit-style moves with kickboxing, hiking, slacklining and mountain biking to “keep it fun." Her in-season training consists mainly of competitions and yoga while on the road.
Filling up bags with everything from dragon fruit to mulberries can push the limits of weight, which Anderson tries in vain to counter, but she also has plenty of other needs.
She rattles off her packing list of must-haves to SI.com, which include two Gnu boards, bindings, boots, Oakley snow jackets and pants, a helmet, hats, goggles, gloves, a neckie, a GoPro and extra mounts, under layers, socks, plenty of streetwear clothes: shoes, boots and jackets and "of course the ‘Jamie’ gypset (gypsy-style jetsetting glamour) essentials of crystals, superfoods and oils."
Just don’t forget the chia seeds.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.