7 reasons I don’t ski with my snowboarding husband

Juliette Sivertsen loves her husband but doesn’t love skiing with him. Here’s her story.

My husband gazed at me adoringly in the car, reached over and gave my hand a squeeze.
“I had such a great weekend!” he told me lovingly. 

We were on the road back to Auckland after another epic weekend on the slopes together at Mt Ruapehu. Except, we weren’t really together at all.

Like many snowboarder/skier mix couples, we spend our weekends together, apart.

John’s been snowboarding far longer than I have been skiing. He was there when I took my first tumble out of the chairlift. 

He was there when I got carried down the slopes in a ski sled due to a bung knee. He was there encouraging me the first time I ever reached the top of the mountain, trying to navigate through my panic-stricken state, convinced there was no possible way down other than in a paramedic sled.

He was there to gently rub my bruised hips after skidding on ice while night skiing at Coronet Peak. And he was there to carry my skis out of the trees when I threw a hissy-fit at not being able to stay upright in the deep powder on our first trip to Japan.

But other than those important milestones in every skier’s life, I learnt that the best way for me to advance, was for us to kiss each other goodbye at the base chairlift and agree to meet up for a coffee in a few hours.

My non-snowbird friends don’t understand it. Why share an activity or hobby together, when you don’t actually share it with one another? 

But for me, it makes total sense to head to the mountain together and split ways soon after arriving.

Here’s why.

Ski boots versus snowboard boots

The first hint of skifield conflict began in the walk up to the mountain from the car. Me in my ski boots, with my robotic-like walk; John cruising up in snowboard boots with such ease you’d think he was wearing slippers.

“Hurry up!” he’d tell me, always eager to get up the mountain as fast as possible.
Keeping up with his pace was the fastest track to cramped toes and calf muscle strain by 9.30am.

Speed demon and a Nanna

I don’t have any innate desire or need to race anyone down the mountain. I’m just happy to make it down the terrain without bailing.

John, on the other hand, has been known to frequently use that fun catchphrase of “Come on!” followed by his gloved hand beckoning me to go faster – only for him to have sped off by the time I reach his last position.

I constantly felt like I was imposing on his precious slope time, my own feelings of inadequacy taking over and soon believing I was letting my snow buddy down by not keeping up.

Going solo allowed me to work at my own pace until I gained enough confidence to join him by careful choice, rather than high-speed collision.

I don’t know where I’m going when I follow him

Let’s just face it, snowboarders and skiers go down the mountain in a different way. There’s no reason why the two disciplines can’t share the mountain, but we work in different ways, we turn at different angles.

Through no fault of his own, too many times I ended up skiing over chunks of ice, into a tree or over some rocks from following the exact path hubby was taking on his snowboard.

I’m comfortable sticking to my limits

My husband has achieved much in his life – often by pushing himself to the limit, and then a little further to see how far he can go. In fact, the boundary is more of a mythical concept, to be contemplated and only established on reflection.

Me, I’m keen to see the boundary far in advance and do everything I can to avoid coming anywhere near it. But I’m cool with that. I’ve made my peace.

I’m all for healthy pressure, but when that turns into stress, heart palpitations and the desire to be choppered off the mountain as fast as possible, then it’s a futile exercise.

It’s easier to make snow friends when alone

As a skier/snowboarder couple, it’s fun to hang out on the chairlift and chat/bicker to only each other – but the downside of that is forgetting to chat to others on the lifts. By going our separate ways, we can maximise friend-making opportunities on the mountain and find new couches to crash on around the world.

Coffee time is much more fun

When you’ve been doing your own thing, catching up in the cafe over lunch or for a cuppa is a whole lot more exciting because you CAN’T WAIT to tell your other half about the epic bail you took, or the amazingly empty trail you carved up with fresh tracks or the photos of the poor newbie skier who landed upside in the snow after a chairlift fail (because we’ve been all there).

Going for runs together is quality time

Just because we split ways at the base of the mountain, doesn’t mean we never ride together. Now that I’ve had time to work on my own skills alone, it’s a whole lot more fun when we actually do ski & board together.

Sure I’ll never be as fast as him, and sure, I’ll begrudgingly follow him into unknown terrain in a whiteout​ wondering how the hell I’m going to get down the mountain without a broken limb, but we get to do it together.

Now as I glance out the car window to bid farewell to the beautiful mountain, I caress my husband’s hand.

“Can’t wait to share this with you again next weekend!”

How to get your lover into skiing or boarding (without breaking up)

Juliette is a New Zealand broadcast journalist, travel writer and scuba and ski travel blogger. She's also a competitive ice figure skater, but loves to ditch the fluffy poses for her skis, the fresh mountain air and an adrenalin rush.


  1. This is more an issue of skill disparity than anything else though. I ski and my husband snowboards and I’m the one usually waiting for him, mostly due to how badly snowboarders manage flat sections. We both learned snowsports together so we have exactly the same experience and skill level. I agree if you are vastly out gunned in ability it’s a bad time for everyone involved. There is no reason skiers and snowboarders can’t ride in harmony (other snowboarders are jealous when I give my husband my ski poles on the flat sections), but it may be nice to take a break from each other once in awhile. Trying to follow just about anyone in trees and unknown areas can be frustrating no matter who it is.

    Something that effects your speed/skill as a skier, particularly a female skier is just how badly the women’s specific gear is. Floppy 80 flex boots that taco as soon as you lean into them, short skinny skis with pink top sheets that chatter and hook on every rut and give you speed wobbles if you try to go fast. Women’s gear is the biggest thing holding women back in snowsports and I could go into the snowboard side of things too if we had all day here.

  2. Yep. What she said. Also, name dropping epic spots around the world, is a bit off-putting. It sounds like someone needs to take more lessons or the other person needs to be willing to compromise a little bit to spend time with the other. This just seems like a strange article, sorry if I’m misinterpreting things that are being said here. It also kind of looks like you are using voice to text to write the story…that’s how I send text messages and respond to forums, but not how I would write content for a website.


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