Winter is here, and that means it’s finally time to break out your skis and hit the slopes! And although we can all enjoy a good day shredding the powder alone (hey, no friends on a powder day is a real rule), taking someone with you for a ski date is what the season is really about. If you’re lucky enough to have found yourself a date who is already a skier, we congratulate you! There’s nothing better than finding out someone else shares your love for skiing, I tend to freak out and go all nerdy with it, asking about where they’ve skied and for how long almost immediately. However, not everyone can find their own skier, as it turns out skiing isn’t quite as universal as we like to think it is. And if you’ve found someone who is willing to go out on the slopes with you for their first time, they’re likely a keeper. But if this is your first time teaching a beginner how to ski, don’t fret, we’re going to run through the basics of how to plan a ski date.
I’ll admit, I am lucky enough to have married a snow enthusiast myself. But as a long time skier, part time snowboarder, he was a long time snowboarder and childhood skier. So right when we started dating, it was agreed that I would get back into snowboarding if he took up skiing again. Now, I realize this predicament was much easier than taking a non-snow rider and making them into a skier, but still, the process is similar. And if you’re thinking “yeah, I’ve seen articles on teaching kids to ski, it’s the same,” it very much is not. How to teach skiing to adults has the complications of adults not liking to be told what to do, and maybe more importantly, not doing it. That being said, my main advice on how to teach a beginner to ski, especially one you’re emotionally invested in is:
This may sound a little harsh right from the get go, but it’s a pretty universal rule that if you care about someone romantically, you shouldn’t try to teach them how to ski. As the saying goes, friends don’t teach friends how to ski! The truth is, teaching is not as easy as doing, it’s why we have trained ski instructors in the first place. There are horror stories abound on how trying to teach a significant other how to ski can go awry, and it just comes down to frustration and argument. So, instead of taking them out and giving them your second hand gear before pushing them down a slope yourself, here is my advice on how to plan a ski date when you need to teach them to ski.
Invest in Lessons
If you’re not the right person to teach someone to ski, who is? Why trained professionals of course! A ski lesson is a good investment, one because the person now teaching your date how to ski is a professional, meaning that not only do they know more than you about learning and teaching skiing, but your date is also more likely to listen to them rather than argue because they are a paid teacher. Second, your patience and time on the slope isn’t spent on pizza vs snowplow, which generally means that by the time you’ve earned a hot cocoa or beer break, you’re too frustrated to even enjoy it. Send your date out on a lesson and then hit the slopes for some fun solo time, that way you can look forward to seeing their progress and spending time with them when they come back. Not to mention they also won’t be sick of you yet, and splurging on a ski instructor may earn you some brownie points.
Be Prepared to Make This a Multiple Occasion Outing
Most of the time, a brand new participant to the sport isn’t going to catch on and fall in love on day one when they’re falling on their butt and feeling frustrated (although there are some cases where it just takes one day to be a skier for life). Be prepared right from the get go that a newbie may never want to get back on the slopes again. Or they may need a few times to really get into the swing of things. Planning a week-long ski trip may not be the best way to dive right in, but a long weekend, or winter long plan for a few outings may be best to help them stick to it. One and done isn’t a great way to get into any sport, so if you’re taking them out on a ski date, you must be prepared to follow through on the endeavor.
Prep and Take Care of Everything You Possibly Can
This is by no means a necessity, but it can make all the difference. If you’ve been skiing your whole life, or even just a long time, it’s easy to forget all the moving parts when it comes to skiing. There’s gear, tickets, transportation, clothing, food plans, change of clothes, where to put your belongings, possibly rentals, location, and more. To a beginner, this is all very intimidating. The more you can take care of as the experienced skier in the bunch, the better. Pick a place, gather your gear, find the tickets, and arrange transportation, if possible. If you’re looking for a good place to book a last minute ski trip for you and your date, check out our blog on the best places to book a last minute ski trip. And if you don’t currently have the space in your car to transport a bunch of gear, we recommend a car rack as the best way to keep gear safe and to de-clutter your car.
When it comes to gathering gear for your date, this can be tricky. As you know, gear is best suited when it’s right for the person who is using it, so try not to lend out your professional skier friend’s skis and boots to a beginner. And if you’re date is the type who gets cold in the middle of summer, that extra shell jacket in your closet isn’t going to help the situation much. If your date is committed to learning this sport (or if you’re dead set on teaching them no matter what) investing in some new gear may be the right call. Our advice is to focus on the two main areas of gear that will make the most difference, skis and ski boots, and a ski jacket and pants. Performance and warmth are what these items mean, and that can make or break a first day on the slopes. If this is not an option for you, it’s understandable, and there are rental places that can rent you these items, but be sure to vet them first to make sure their gear is up to snuff for your date.
No matter how the date goes and how they feel about it, try to maintain an upbeat attitude about the endeavor. Remember, this is your sport that you love and are comfortable with. For them, this is something new they are trying with you, and if it goes poorly or you’re not encouraging, you can bet your bottom they will connect you with the whole experience. So keep an upbeat attitude and be patient, it will all pay off in the end when you two can shred together on ski dates.
Ski dates are supposed to be fun, and sometimes falling on your butt all day isn’t the kind of fun you had in mind. Whether your date is struggling or killing it on the slopes, remember to be their cheerleader and celebrate at the end of it. Go grab a beer at a pub, or hot cocoa from the lodge, maybe a slice of pizza at the end of the day, and toast to your date making it through!