Ski Travel Tips With Pro Skier, Eliel Hindert

With a new ski sea­son upon us, it’s time to start plan­ning a pil­grim­age for an unfor­get­table hol­i­day. Whether you’ll be spend­ing the sea­son hop­ping from moun­tain to moun­tain, liv­ing out of your car, crash­ing on the clos­est couch, or stay­ing in lux­u­ry hotels in for­eign lands, trav­el­ing in pur­suit of POW requires some finesse and logis­ti­cal know-how.

Eliel Hin­dert knows a thing or two about this top­ic. He’s a pro­fes­sion­al ski­er (most recent­ly seen in Sweet­grass Pro­duc­tions’ Val­hal­la), who spends most of his year on the road. Here’s what he told us about his ski-based world travels.

The Clymb: Let’s start off with your qual­i­fi­ca­tions as a trav­el con­nois­seur: how many days a year do you esti­mate you’re on the road? 

Eliel Hin­dert: When peo­ple ask me where I’m from, it usu­al­ly starts with Whistler and then slips back to Van­cou­ver, and even­tu­al­ly digress­es to the fact that I real­ly don’t live at either of those places. Rather, my stuff does. The road is where I make my home. On wind­ing moun­tain pass­es, in the far nooks of civ­i­liza­tion, and under the stars is where I lay my head. I like­ly spend about 270+ days on the road a year.

I’m lucky to get three months col­lec­tive­ly in my own bed and, more often than, not have vis­it­ing friends who spend more time at my place than I do.

My pops took me on my first hitch­hik­ing trip across Europe when I was 6. I got lucky enough to spend time going to school in Kat­man­du when I was younger, and even was amongst some of the first west­ern­ers to get let into Tibet after the rev­o­lu­tion when I was 12. These days I usu­al­ly get lucky enough to hit 5 con­ti­nents a year and am hun­gry for the last two.

The Clymb: Of all the des­ti­na­tions you have vis­it­ed, what has been the most memorable?

Eliel Hin­dert: Find­ing myself con­stant­ly oper­at­ing in the present, I usu­al­ly find my cur­rent loca­tion to be the most mem­o­rable (ha ha)–in that case it would be the patio of the Sin­gle Fin in Ulluwatu, Indone­sia. Still, if I got pushed on that ques­tion, I’d have to say Chile or Japan. Both have such an amaz­ing con­densed and rich cul­ture that is so full of poten­tial activ­i­ties that you can real­ly nev­er find a dull moment in either.

The Clymb: Trav­el­ing with skis and out­door gear is a lit­tle bulki­er than your typ­i­cal week­end get­away. Do you have any pack­ing tips?

Eliel Hin­dert: Oh yeah. Go surfing!

But real­ly, pack­ing for ski­ing is a bit of an art. First thing is first with the skis. Bind­ings are actu­al­ly the real killer. If you can get a sys­tem that lets you have one or two pairs of bind­ings for mul­ti­ple skis (like Quiver Killer, Cast, MFD) then you’ll be going huge right there.

On the main bag front, just real­ize that you always find those extra unused shirts, under­wear, and gen­er­al items at the bot­tom of your bag at the end of the trip. So take your num­bers for usu­al arti­cles of cloth­ing and half it. You’ll be shred­ding most­ly any­ways and liv­ing in base­lay­ers. Plus the adven­ture of find­ing a place to do laun­dry or get­ting some region­al garb is a nec­es­sary expe­ri­ence in itself.

Also skip books, and grab an iPad or read­er. Game chang­ing for the carry-on.

The Clymb: Has your lug­gage ever been lost or stolen? If so, what did you do?

Eliel Hin­dert: Yes to both. I’ve had bags show up a week late, and my pock­ets picked dry.

The best thing you can do in the for­mer is to just get a local con­tact in the bag­gage han­dling area and make them your best friend. Choco­late, can­dy, and a gen­er­al­ly good atti­tude are the best ways to the heart of some­one who deals with angry peo­ple all day. From there it just comes down to wait­ing it out.

It’s rare to find a place that only has shred­ding to be done, so get out there and explore! The next per­son you meet could be the key to your next adventure.

The Clymb: Do you have a strat­e­gy for pick­ing an air­plane seat? Are you a win­dow or aisle guy?

Eliel Hin­dert: Win­dows all day. My elbows twitch like crazy when I sleep and the cart makes short work of them. Win­dows offer up the view and the head rest of champs. Always bring good­ies for the check-in atten­dant as well. They have the keys to any upgrades that might be avail­able and it nev­er hurts to be nice and ask.

The Clymb: Planes, trains or auto­mo­biles: which is your favorite method of transportation?

Eliel Hin­dert: Trains! Spa­cious, fast enough (or slow enough depend­ing on what you want), rel­a­tive­ly cheap, and give you a far more inti­mate rela­tion­ship with the place and peo­ple around you. Put your feet up, do some work, and get in touch with your surroundings.

Europe and Japan are awe­some for this. Opt for the first class bus­es in South and Cen­tral America.

The Clymb: How do you tack­le trans­port in places where you don’t speak the language?

Eliel Hin­dert: Patience, under­stand­ing, hand sig­nals, the gen­er­al lan­guage of stoke, and hope­ful­ly a wi-fi con­nec­tion for Google trans­late. If you’re an Eng­lish speak­er, it’s like win­ning a mini lot­tery in terms of chances for glob­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but don’t rely on it.

Don’t rush the con­ver­sa­tion (since you can’t under­stand it any­ways) and try to take some time ahead of the trip to tack­le names of places in the area and basic trans­port sys­tems (i.e. bus and train char­ter companies).

The Clymb: What is your go-to travel/road trip snack?

Eliel Hin­dert: Pret­ty much any­thing in the Trad­er Joe’s snack sec­tion. Dried fruits, choco­late-cov­ered good­ies, nuts, and maybe even some soup or noo­dle mix­es if hot water is on hand.

Keep it healthy since the road often has plen­ty of junk to eat. But don’t keep it to fin­ger food. You be sur­prised how well a half rack of ribs dou­ble wrapped in tin foil can keep while you’re out adventuring.

The Clymb: What’s cur­rent­ly on your (incred­i­bly full and busy) plate? Where can we find you next?

Eliel Hin­dert: This win­ter we’re pro­duc­ing a web series, “Under the Weath­er.” It will most­ly be domes­ti­cal­ly based, but with a thor­ough exam­i­na­tion of what to do for any­one look­ing to get the real Whistler experience.

Check out Sweet­grass Pro­duc­tion’s Val­hal­la for some of my shred­ding these past two sea­sons and a heavy help­ing of inspi­ra­tion to pick up and hit the open road.

Be sure to fol­low our shred adven­tures this Jan­u­ary to Japan and Korea as well, as we tap into some unex­plored ter­rain in both locations.