Winter sports and train travel: tips from alpine snowboarder Michelle Dekker  

Michelle Dekker is a three-time Olympian in alpine snowboarding. Her entire life is geared to perform optimally at the most important moments. Everything makes way for her passion for alpine snowboarding. Study and work are on hold ... until recently. That is when she came into contact with NS' TechniekFabriek and since April of this year, she has been training part-time to become a mechanic specialised in mechatronics. Mechatronics is where machines and computers come together to make smart devices.
Besides servicing trains, Michelle appears to love travelling by train. Reason enough to ask this experienced winter sports star for some tips.
Column 3
Column 4

From SnowWorld to slopes across the Dutch border

Born and raised in Zoetermeer, Michelle comes from a real winter sports-loving family. Every year, she went on ski holidays with her parents and by the age of seven, she was already zigzagging down the slopes on skis or a snowboard. Often the ski holiday took place in Valais (also known as Wallis) in Switzerland.

Ten years later, she was competing in her first Olympics, Sochi 2014 when she was only 17 years old. She finished 22nd in the Parallel Giant Slalom. She also competed in 2018 in Pyeongchang and in 2022 in Beijing. Her sights are now set to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Italy, Milan 2026.

Her highest result so far has been fourth place, achieved at the Beijing Games of 2022. A superb achievement for which she trained hard and sacrificed much. After all, as a professional alpine snowboarder, she practices a sport for which she always has to leave the country.

Column 3
Column 4

To numerous winter sports destinations by train

She often trains in Schladming, Austria. As of October, she can be spotted there with her trainer. She also travels across Europe during the winter months in search of the best snow conditions to recreate her next competitions as well as possible. She regularly travels between the numerous winter sports destinations and the Netherlands by train.

Column 3
Column 4

Practical tips from an experienced Olympic snowboarder

Michelle finds travelling by train comfortable and relaxing. She likes looking out the window while listening to music. But before she can relax in her seat, she has to get all her winter sports equipment to and on the train. This can be a challenge, but the experienced snowboarder is happy to share some practical and general tips.

Transporting snowboarding equipment: luggage tips for train journeys

  1. Make sure you can carry all your luggage yourself: While travelling, you often have to walk stretches at the station or perhaps take a bus to get to the station. To make it easy on yourself, it is vital that you can carry all your luggage yourself. This means packing only essential items in a smart way.
  2. Pack smart: Use a snowboard bag (with wheels) to easily transport and protect your snowboard and other equipment. Consider using compression bags to save space in your luggage.
  3. Reserve a seat: It is especially smart to reserve a seat. That way you will avoid stressfully dragging all your luggage around the train looking for a seat. This is also useful during peak season when trains to popular ski destinations can be full.
  4. Be prepared to change trains: If you need to change trains during your journey, make sure you have plenty of time to catch your connecting train. This way, you avoid running and rushing with all your (heavy) luggage. And make sure everything is in bags that are easy to carry. Then you might still have time to get a tasty snack at the station.
  5. Be sure to check the luggage rules for each train carrier: Each train carrier has its own rules and guidelines for carrying luggage. So, it is advisable to verify these beforehand. Here your will find a useful overview of luggage rules per train carrier.

Column 3
Column 4

    General train tips for your winter sports holiday

    1. Consider local transport options: Check out local transport options from the train station to your accommodation or the ski area beforehand.
    2. Passenger comfort: Respect other passengers, especially when travelling with large luggage. If necessary, consult with the Train Manager if a passenger has issues with your large bags and suitcases.
    3. Book early: Tickets can be cheaper if you book early. Are tickets to your destination not on sale yet? No worries. With a handy email alert, NS International will let you know when tickets are available on your desired travel day. Click on your desired travel date in the price calendar of the booking module. Then click on 'set alert' and enter your email address. You will receive an email as soon as the tickets are available. This way, you will always be the first to know and benefit from the lowest prices.
    4. Be patient and flexible: Train journeys can be subject to delays, especially in the winter months. Take this into account in your planning.
    Column 3
    Column 4

    The best winter sports area according to Michelle Dekker

    Looking for the best winter sports area? We also asked Michelle Dekker about her favourite winter sports areas. She gives wonderful tips, for both beginners and advanced skiers.

    Michelle Dekker's favourite winter sports areas