I lived in ski resorts for many years in my 20s, and so had my pick of love interests with a built-in love of skiing and snowboarding.
There was no better date than a ski date. You’d bond on the chairlift, have fun on the slopes, and sip a cheap ramen or a discount burger at lunchtime while resting your legs. And as a bonus, you’d always have something to talk about, whether it was the forecast or the conditions or powder vs groomers or whatever.
But alas, skiing and snowboarding relationships can be fickle ones; transition is the nature of the beast. My boyfriends moved on to other mountains, and I moved back to Australia, ending up with a lovely man who is talented at many things, except skiing and snowboarding.
He claims that he has skied once before, at an age that he will not identify. When I asked him if he was comfortable on a green run, he said he could not remember the difference between the colours. This does not bode well for our future enjoying a mountain together.
For awhile now, we’ve been getting away with local holidays around Queensland, trips to places that have ever seen the snow. But with travel amping up again, the time has come to get back on the slopes – and see if he’ll come along with me.
Seriously, what do you do with a significant other, or a best friend, or a close family member that just isn’t as into it as you are?
Do you leave them at ski school and hope for the best, crossing your fingers that they make some friends and learn how to carve their way down the slopes, and pick them up on day five when they might keep up with you?
Do you patiently take them under your wing and try to guide them through what is hopefully their new favourite sport?
Or do we just…leave them at home?
Here’s my game plan for 2022, and my general top tips for getting your nearest and dearest to love the sport just as much as they love you.
Absolutely no teaching
Under absolutely no circumstances should you offer to take your loved one on the slopes with you so that you can ‘show them the ropes’.
I don’t care if you are an instructor. I don’t care if you’ve taught a bunch of your friends to ski and snowboard in the past. If you are married or dating, this is not like IKEA furniture; it’s not a fun test to see if your relationship will last. One or more of you will end up in tears, and you may be broken up by the end of the day.
I spoke to one friend, Mel, who is still scarred from a time that an ex tried to teach her how to snowboard. He claimed that it would be fun. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t.
“We got up super early to drive to Perisher. He paid for my board hire, then proceeded to “teach me” by taking me on a chairlift down a beginners run,” Mel says.
“Getting on the chairlift was a struggle, getting off was even worse, I got taken out by the people behind me. He had to drag me out and I was already ready to cry. It took me about 30mins to get down the slope, it was terrifying and very stressful for both of us.”
“I ended up telling him to go out and enjoy the rest of the day while I waited in the cafe. We spent the 2 hour drive home in silence.”
Get onto ski school, fast
So now that we’ve established that you are absolutely not teaching anyone to ski – it’s time to enrol your loved one in ski school.
But take it slow, one day at a time. You never know; they may pick up skiing and snowboarding in no time, like they’ve been doing it their whole lives. They may even, annoyingly, be better at it than you are after just a few lessons.
Regardless, it is a guaranteed way to get them enjoying what they’re doing in the safest, most professional way. And they might even line up some pals for you to all go to après together after the lesson.
If you’re concerned about being bored while they are in their lesson, why not book your own lesson in a different group aligned with your level of ability? It’s a great way to get refreshed on the basics before the rest of your holiday. Or you can head out solo and just enjoy the feeling of getting back out there with no one but your headphones and the mates to be made on the chairlift along the way.
Sweeten the ski holiday deal
If you are travelling who is really hesitant about booking a ski and snowboard holiday, or has tried it and doesn’t want to do it again – my best tip is to sell it to them as a different style of holiday… and oh, how did those on-mountain days sneak onto the itinerary?
Truly though the mark of a healthy relationship is each person thriving through their own interest, and there’s no point in forcing your loved ones to do something if they really don’t want to do it; or enjoying something that isn’t quite their cup of tea.
And the benefit is that there are plenty of destinations with a lot more going for them off the slopes. Like Japan, where you can enjoy bluebirds to your heart’s content while your loved one explores castles and onsens and authentic little towns and eats ALL the food.
Or book somewhere like Queenstown, where the amount of adventure sports, amazing restaurants, shopping and spas compete equally with the mountains; or Canada, where you can sightsee, go to hockey games, ice-skate, dog-sled and just about anything else you can think of.
Got any tips for me? Did you successfully get a loved one to love the mountains? Share your stories below.