How to Ski With A Non-Skier

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

You’d had a couple of beers with your non-skier buddy, raving about your epic time on the slopes and how they’re totally missing out on the best winter hobby out there.

Then it happens.

Your mate agrees to come with you.

Initially, it’s a feeling of success. You’re going to convert them to the sport and you’ll get yourself a new buddy to hit the slopes with, share the fuel costs on the road trip to the mountain, split accommodation costs and have an epic apres-ski with a familiar face instead of the usual crowd of foreign ski bums you join.

Sounds glorious, right?

Soon, reality hits.

Here’s how to prepare for the oncoming storm.

Forget about your own time.

This ski trip is no longer about you. Forget about getting to the top of the mountain for fresh tracks. You are no longer in control of your day. As soon as you invited your mate along, you forgoed all desires, hopes and aspirations for the day ahead. You’re now officially the ‘parent’ and you need to take care of your child – the non-skier. You invited them to your party – so they are now under your duty of care.

Bring two of everything.

Just like trying to get kids to organise themselves, there’s a good chance your buddy will have forgotten something. Maybe they’ve underestimated how cold it would be and only have one layer under the ski jacket.

Or they have shitty cheap $20 ski goggles that fog up every two seconds. If you have spare gear, bring it along. It may be the difference between your buddy sticking it out on the slopes or hiding all day in the cafe.

Speaking of cafes, be prepared to spend most of your day there

Skiing and snowboarding is tiring on the legs for the best of us – even more so for newbies, who haven’t developed the skill of repeatedly squatting down a mountain all day. If they’ve mastered the pizza wedge, their outer thighs and quads will likely be burning by 10.30am.

Thank goodness for the on-mountain cafe, filled with opportunities for increased caffeine intake and hot food. But they’ll want to meet you there too, so they can tell you a blow-by-blow account of how they fell off the magic carpet.

Exit first off the chairlift

Congratulations, the morning has gone well for your newbie skier and now he or she wants to head up the mountain on the chairlift. Look, let’s not waste time here – they will fall off at some point either getting on or exiting the chair.

Don’t try and catch them. Protect yourself first and exit the chairlift area promptly so as not to be collected by your buddy, who’s about to starfish all over the snow and will likely try to grab onto whoever’s closest. Get out of the way, then come to their rescue and babysit them on the way back down to the bottom of the mountain.

Encourage ski school

You can still salvage your day if you can convince your friend to enrol in a ski lesson. If they can afford it, they’ll pick up better skills in the first hour with a professional than a day on the mountain with you, allowing you to get an hour’s break for one or two runs from the top.

If they’re a cheapskate, forget it. You’re the tutor.

Introduce your mates

A problem shared is a problem halved, right?

Be supportive

Above all, encourage your mate throughout the day. Be supportive, don’t laugh at him or her when they fall face down into the snow. At least, not yet, until they’re able to laugh about it too. Give them a high five if they make it down the slope without bailing.

Don’t be patronising, but be supportive. Your actions and attitude will help determine whether they make it through the day or not and come back again for future fun in the snow.

And then, party hard and supply them with alcohol so they forget how much pain their legs are in.

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