Penny Fletcher: What to pack?

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— Wow, I cannot believe that in a just a few days, I will be on my way to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Olympics. My excitement is extremely elevated right now, and we are so excited to watch these amazing events unfold. Todd Lodwick, six-time Olympian, will carry the opening ceremony flag, and I know he will be holding it high. The Gold family should be close to getting settled in, and the photos are starting to arrive from the athletes in the villages. It was so awesome watching the "Today" show and hoping to see a glimpse of familiar athletes.

2014 Winter Olympics

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Courtesy photo

Penny Fletcher

Now on to the most important question of the past couple of weeks: What to pack?

Sweaters, shoes, snow pants, hats, gloves, swimsuits, socks (hopefully SmartWool), jeans and a large dose of common sense. I almost forgot the camera, cellphone, chargers, converters and comfort items. Starbucks Via, non-GMO snacks that I am sure will be confiscated at the gate.

Now, since I am being told that toothpaste is a banned item, I am searching high and low for that powdered toothpaste. Gee whiz.

The most important items are our visas, passports, spectator passes, airline tickets, event tickets, invitation from the Russian government, hotel reservations (that is, if the hotel is actually built), my Russian flashcards, American flag and the beautifully made Olympic flags by Eileen Allen. I have the cough drops, Tylenol, lotion, water purification tablets, shampoo, soap, antibiotics in case we get a good case of the Russian flu and, of course, extra memory chips for the camera. The Russian rubles have been purchased, and all that funny money is a good laugh, as well.

This will be the first Winter Carnival I have missed in 30 years, but I guess I will be on a carnival ride like no other. I hope to catch up with the other Steamboat families that will be making the long journey to fill their hearts and minds with memories of a lifetime. Friday night is the Sorel Soiree, which will be a celebration old and new. Old athletes, friends and family members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club together with all the new faces that are now frequenting the lodge at Howelsen Hill. 100 years of true grit and fast skis. It will be an emotional night as I watch the opening ceremony with my friends and family and hoping to catch a glimpse of my boys. I received a tweet from Billy Demong on Friday and it was Bryan, Billy and Taylor all dressed and ready for the celebration. Billy is a five-time Olympian, and Friday night is his first time walking in an Olympic opening ceremony. This is a celebration in many lives. Have a great Winter Carnival and enjoy the amazing fireworks.

Sochi bound ...

Penny Fletcher

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