Hands up if you’ve been feeling kind of lonely, watching your social media feeds this last northern season, checking out all the people on ski holidays?
Everyone seems to have a ‘crew’ now; a big group of people to pile into the car, shred the slopes with, and share beers with at après time, and take huge group photos with. And for those without a crew, it can be tough to watch.
The reality is that there are plenty of us who sometimes struggle to find even a single friend to head to the snow with. People are busy, or don’t have any spare time, or don’t have any spare cash for lift passes. Maybe your family doesn’t ski anymore, or never did. Maybe you always went to the snow with a partner and you’ve now broken up.
Whatever it is, you’re not alone; I’ve been in the same position, and here are the creative ways in which I’ve tried to find some snow mates over the way.
1. Facebook groups
Where else? We are living in an age where there’s a Facebook group for everything – new friends, Kmart hacks, recipes for things that you can only make in very specific kinds of blenders…
Plenty of folk have already discovered this life hack – all you need to do is post in your ski resort group of choice, or for the ladies, in the Miss Snow It All #showusdagirls group (everyone is really nice there – promise).
Ask who might be heading to the snow during your weekend of choice, and tell them a little bit about yourself as a skier/snowboarder/general all-round excellent person. From there, have a little stalk of the profiles that have responded to make sure no one’s a serial killer, and boom – enjoy your new friend.
Bonus tips: If you’re too nervous to post your own shout-out for mates, simply search previous posts in the group to find others looking for friends and private message them (plus comment to let them know you’ve PMed). Just make sure you look for people of a similar level of skiing/boarding to you, because a beginner stranger paired with an expert stranger could make for an awkward first friend date.
It’s easy to latch onto someone when they’re forced to share a chairlift with you for at least two hours; just be open and honest about looking for more people to ski with on a regular basis, and they may just be looking for the same thing. Invite them out after the lesson – tell them you know, with authority, which cafe makes the best hot chocolate/cold beer/cheapest chips – get talking about your favourite runs, and enjoy your locked-and-loaded new friend.
Bonus tips: Book in for a camp at your resort of preference where you’re basically destined to hang out with those who have very similar interests, potentially even over several days. Or even an overseas trip with a snow-dedicated tour group, where you get to explore new places and make a whole lot of new buds along the way.
3. The pub
Not to encourage binge drinking or anything, but it does seem easiest to make a new friend after several beers, a dodgy round of pool, several more beers and a share plate of wedges after midnight.
Even if you’ve been rolling solo throughout the ski day, it’s worth dragging yourself out to the local watering hole at après hour before gathering some liquid courage and striking up a chat with the person at the pub with the friendliest face, or the best taste in juke box tunes. Get their number and offer to get a hungover breakfast with them in the morning… sorted.
Of course if you’re feeling badgered just ask for Angela at the bar and the crew will take care of you.
Bonus tips: Get your new mates to drop you back at your accommodation to avoid walking home alone after a few drinks, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside. As a very wise ski instructor once told me, safety never takes a holiday.
4. Car pool
For a more subtle yet slightly more risky means of finding your new best ski mate, look into car pooling up to your mountain of choice. Find car pools on Facebook community groups, or around town or try MeetUp.com; bring snacks for the car, and always offer petrol money. Skiing and snowboarding really brings people together, so you can be sure that you’ll always have something to talk about with a car full of people.
Bonus tips: People love jelly snakes and they hold up well in the pocket of your ski jacket.
5. Own the solo ski trip
‘No friends on a powder day’ is said for a reason. Heading off on a solo day of skiing and snowboarding can be beautifully therapeutic, a meditation of sorts; a day dedicated to yourself and the mountain and your favourite hobby.
You won’t have to wait for anyone, you’ll ride exactly what you want to ride and stop when you need to stop. Just keep in touch with a loved one to let them know where you’ll be that day, be smart about your snow safety, and enjoy the serenity from there.
Bonus tips: Even if you’re the most extroverted of extroverts, don’t worry – there will always be people to strike up a chat with on the chairlifts.