Skiers and snowboarders are a rare breed of people. We like to spend all our money on holidays in cold, cold places, all for the pleasure of strapping some expensive planks to our feet and sliding down a hill. And then we go home, go back to work and dream about a time when we can do it all over again.
For this reason, it’s best for skiers and snowboarders to date other skiers and snowboarders. You understand each other’s mutual obsession, can plan ski holidays together, and Christmas/birthday presents are easy to choose because both sports require an insane amount of gear.
But you know what they say – you can’t choose who you love. And what if you end up with someone who isn’t a skier or a snowboarder? How do you gently ease them into it and ensure that they have a nice time, while avoiding any break-up-worthy arguments along the way?
Here’s our step-by-step guide…
Choose your destination wisely
Your significant other might be apprehensive about trying skiing or snowboarding, and that’s fair enough – it can look intimidating to a first-timer. But picking the right spot for your ski holiday may sweeten the deal.
Be sure to opt for somewhere that offers more than just skiing and snowboarding, so that your loved one can not only be stoked on the other activities on offer, but also be assured that there’s something to do off the slopes if they don’t feel like skiing or boarding on any particular day.
Queenstown is the obvious choice for any Aussies – the town is romantic and full of great spots to eat and drink, the scenery is beautiful, and there are enough activities on offer to satisfy anybody, whether they’re a thrill-seeking adventure lover or the kind of person that prefers a day in the spa.
The ski resorts surrounding the town (Coronet Peak and the Remarkables are closest) are also well set-up for beginners, having dedicated beginner learning areas and mellow green slopes to slide down once they’ve graduated to the chairlift.
Want to head overseas? Go for a resort with a charming village or town to wander around, and cool activities on offer (such as dog-sledding, snowmobiling or snow-shoeing). Bigger resorts like Whistler and Aspen have enough to offer that you barely even have to step foot on a ski slope in order to have a good time, while smaller resorts like SilverStar in Canada may offer a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxing by the fireplace with a good book.
2. Book them in for lessons
If I had a dollar for every time I saw a couple fighting on the slopes, I’d be able to afford many more ski holidays. Trying to teach your significant other is genuinely the fastest way to break up – unless you are saints, you’ll get frustrated with each other before you even hit the bottom of the magic carpet. There will probably be tears. Maybe from both of you.
Booking them in for a lesson – or two, or three, or six – will ensure that they get the safest, calmest possible start to their learning experience. Their instructor will make sure that they understand exactly what they need to do. They also won’t pick up any of your bad habits, and they’ll be in the company of other beginners to laugh about all the ups and downs (and sore derrières) of the lesson.
Be sure not to push your partner into either skiing or snowboarding, based on whichever you do – let them choose which one they’d rather try. It’s widely acknowledged that the learning curves of each are different, with skiing being easier to pick up and harder to master, and snowboarding being harder to pick up but easier to progress once you’ve got the hang of it. They might even like to attempt both and choose from there.
3. Be nice. Supportive. Encouraging. Reassuring.
Once your loved one has made it off the magic carpet and onto the slopes with you, it’s time to be your nicest self. Tell them how well they’re doing, understand when they need to take a break, and know the difference between being encouraging and being too pushy. A slope that you consider to be easy may not necessarily be easy to them – and pushing them sooner than they’re ready to try it may not be the best approach.
4. Don’t stress if it’s not for them
If you’ve managed to win over your significant other, congratulations – you’ve now got a lifelong shared love of such a fun activity, and something you can do together for many years.
If you’ve had no luck – maybe they had a traumatic experience, or sustained an injury, or maybe they just really don’t like it – don’t panic. It’s not necessarily a dealbreaker.
Plenty of people can enjoy going on ski holidays as long as there’s enough to keep them entertained off the slopes, especially if you negotiate equal amounts of holidays in locations of their choice. Or keep the ski holidays as girls trips/boys trips and take your partner somewhere completely different. We hear the Cook Islands are paradise.
I have been in that situation a few times. In the end if it doesn’t work out, go out on your own and you will find true love of skiing with another better suited partner. I did and I found her in Canada this year and I am a middle aged late comer to skiing. It all works out in the end. What I was going to toss out all of my ski gear and equipment?