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Tips for Skiing with Your Partner

Tips for Skiing with Your Partner Arapahoe Basin

by James Lummis

I am married to my main skiing partner. My wifes passion for skiing exceeds mine and we ski together thirty days a year. Lifelong skiers, we met in college and have skied long enough to raise two teenage skiers and feel very fortunate to enjoy such a great sport together.

Participating in sports with a spouse, partner or girl/boyfriend can be incredibly rewarding, butalso has large potential to not end well.

Once, we were enjoying the fireplace in the lobby of the Grand Lodge at Crested Butte, speaking with a young couple from the southeast on their first ski trip together. We spoke about things to do and we suggested the woman take a lesson since it was her first time on skis. Twenty four hours later walking by the fireplace, we spied the same couple sitting by the fire with a new set of crutches. Turns out he tried to teach her and she sprained her knee. End of trip? Maybe. End of skiing together? Maybe. Endof relationship? Hope not.

So here are a few ideas from my experience skiing with my wife to help make your ski time with your significant together more fun than not.

  1. Dont teach/coach your partner – leave this to the professionals. However well intentioned, the margin of error when teaching a significant person in your life a sport is very thin. Teaching requires knowledge, patience, and communication skills not all people have when it comes to skiing. My first suggestion is pay for a lesson from a real ski instructor. This really is not a suggestion, but a requirement if the ski day is a first for your partner. They will have more fun sooner than if you teach them, and you will be a hero for investing in their enjoyment.
  2. After the lesson, let your partner pick the runs to ski. For me, skiing is about confidence and one sure way to kill confidence is skiing terrain above ones ability. Sure, you may have to ratchet back your stoke for the afternoon, but it will be worth it in the end.
  3. Watch your partners back. Bring snacks, take an early lunch, break for a coffee or hot chocolate if it is a brutal day. I learned this the hard way when skiing Sams Knob one beautiful morning. The snow was great and we took one more run than needed and as we were walking to a seat in the lodge for lunch down goes my wife – a no-fuel faint. I probably pushed for the last run and did not see fading. Best to suggest food and water before you think you or your partner needs it.

Lastly, smile broadly. The happier you are the happier your partner will be and the better chance you will be able to repeat the experience. Good luck and enjoy your time together!