It's the season of love in Ski Country, and while Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity for you and your significant other to enjoy some time together on the slopes, the logistics of skiing and dating can be a little complex.
So, for those heading up to the slopes for Valentine’s Day, or at any time for that matter, here is a helpful guide to navigating the turbulent waters of relationships and skiing.
1. Know your limits and be open and honest about them.
This might be the most important point. Of course while some relationships are formed on the basis that both participants are equally skilled in skiing, more often than not, one side of the relationship is the stronger skier or snowboarder. This can cause some obvious tension between partners, and lead to some messy, not-so-fun days on the slopes. To remedy this, it is important for both sides of the relationship to be honest and open about their skiing abilities, and the limit of these abilities. Nothing is worse than skiing outside of the limits of your abilities, and not only can it turn a day sour but it can become dangerous for both you and your partner. Being open and honest is the best way to have fun together on the slopes.
2. Don’t try your hardest
You might be thinking there's no better way to impress your significant other than attempting a trick you’ve never done before, or a straight-lining a chute that could use a turn or two, but in the end—as myself and many other stupid men and women have learned—you’re probably just going to yard-sale and embarrass yourself at best, or seriously harm yourself at worst. Leave the theatrics at home. If your partner is less skilled than you, try focusing and strengthening your basics, such as spending the entire day riding switch if you’re a snowboarder. And along those lines...
3. It’s OK to slow down
I usually ski alone, and I get quite used to skiing alone and at my own discretion. However, when my lovely girlfriend is with me, who is a little less advanced in skills (sorry babe) I have to remind myself to take it down a notch. Sometimes, it’s advantageous to take the easy route, to dial it back and enjoy the scenery instead of hotlapping as fast as you can. Save that for a solo day.
4. It’s all about patience
For those in relationships where one partner is a seasoned veteran of the slopes and the other is, for a lack of better phrasing, a total noob—skiing can become a trial of patience and time. The fact of the matter is, teaching somebody to ski takes immense patience and support. Teaching your significant other to ski is an even greater undertaking, and one that can lead to disaster. However, teaching a significant other to ski can also strengthen a relationship like nothing else. Learning to ski can be difficult, and even harder in adulthood, but having someone you love help you along the way can make a big difference. With any luck, you'll both be shredding together at full speed.
5. In the end, skiing is the best date
The truth about skiing and relationships is that skiing offers probably the best date in the entire world. Combining strenuous exercise, beautiful outdoor scenery, disconnection from phones and the internet, intimate chairlift conversations, and the fulfilling coziness (or partying) of après-ski, what’s not to like? Treating a day out on the slopes with your significant other as a date is a great way to enjoy each other’s company while also have fun independently partaking in—let's be honest—the greatest sport in the world.
Justin Cygan is a fourth-year student at the University of Denver, where he studies International Relations and Journalism. Born and raised in Colorado, he learned to ski and snowboard at his home mountain of Loveland, where he still regularly rides today. When not chasing pow he can be found skateboarding, writing, reading, cooking and taking pictures in Denver and throughout the state. Justin is the proud father of a year-old aloe plant. Read more of Justin’s stories .