Rukajärvi has just returned from a team training camp in Switzerland, and next week she’ll be at a training camp in Austria. Her diary is full of trips: the snowboarding season is long, and she clocks up a couple hundred travel days a year.
'I travel mostly around the US but often also in New Zealand and Central Europe. Japan has the best conditions, but I don't get to go that far very often,' she says.
Enough but not too much
This professional snowboarder has grown into an experienced packer who wants to be ready for anything but also aims to avoid any unnecessary weight. Rukajärvi usually travels with two bags: 'I generally pack two snowboards, bindings, boots, goggles, the helmet, snowboarding clothes, spare parts, and sponsor stickers in my snowboard bag. I fill my suitcase with some casual clothes, a couple of nicer outfits, and all I need for training and recovery.'
By 'all', Rukajärvi means things such as a Pilates roll and a tennis ball for relaxing tight muscles in the back and buttocks. Other essentials in her bag are trainers, gym gear, and elastic bands for exercising in the hotel room.
She adds: 'I always carry a pair of woollen socks with me, and a bikini, which has proved very useful at some rather surprising destinations.'
'I like Helsinki Airport'
Rukajärvi travels primarily on her own. She reaches the airport in good time, finds a nice calm corner, and enjoys the rush-free moment. 'I like Helsinki Airport. It is neat and tidy, laid out clearly, and good-sized. It’s easy to walk between terminals, and there are plenty of services,' she says.
Long flights don’t last as long when one is listening to music, watching movies, and reading books.
So, says Rukajärvi, 'in my backpack I carry an iPod and a good-quality headset, along with a book – usually a thriller in English – and a laptop for taking care of various things'.
Another important travel companion is a water bottle. They can be filled at most international airports.
And, of course, one more is an electrical adapter. 'Since you never know where you'll end up, it’s a good idea to carry electrical adapters, so that your portable devices work anywhere. I've had to buy quite a few extra ones over the years,' Rukajärvi sighs.