Help Your Relationship Survive Your Girlfriend/Boyfriend’s First Ski Season

Here’s what you’ve imagined: You and your attractive girlfriend or boyfriend sitting next to each other on the chairlift, ripping pow, maybe having a post-ski beer, smiling, and no one gets left behind on the weekends while the other person skis 30 days a year.

Here’s what often happens: The first day you try to teach your significant other to ski, you suck at it, they get pissed at you, and either a) you both make it a half-day at best, b) you become that couple everyone on the chairlift watches arguing and everyone knows exactly what you’re arguing about, c) one or both of you walk down the last half of what will be the final ski run of your boyfriend/girlfriend’s lifetime.

Why does it not go like you planned? Well, maybe you have a full-time job that does not have the title “ski instructor.” Maybe you don’t have the patience it requires. Maybe you spend all that time teaching wishing you were skiing fun stuff instead of watching your significant other ease their way down the bunny slope next to the magic carpet. Maybe you keep pressuring them to dress up as a football referee in the bedroom and they don’t want to, or maybe you always complain that their cooking isn’t as good as your mother’s, or maybe you got drunk and slept with their best friend—actually, a good day of skiing probably isn’t going to fix the bedroom/cooking/infidelity stuff. Let’s just say there are a number of ski-related reasons, but if you don’t have other (bedroom/cooking/infidelity) issues in your relationship, there’s hope that you can probably avoid a breakup.

When teaching someone to ski, one of the first things that can set you up for success is admitting that although you’re a pretty good skier, you may be an incredibly shitty teacher. There is nothing wrong with this. Did you ever have a bad teacher or professor in a math-related class in high school or college? Of course you did. Do you believe in your heart it was because they really didn’t understand math? Probably not. They probably weren’t very good at teaching what was in their head, or relating to students, or communicating. Just because you can do skiing, it doesn’t mean you can do a good job helping someone else learn how. Admitting this may be the first step to saving your relationship. Learning this through experience may be the end of your relationship.

Can you afford to pay for a ski lesson for your significant other? Be honest. Think of it as a $150 bet that your boyfriend or girlfriend is actually going to like skiing. We all know you’ve spent $150 on way dumber things. Hell, you probably spent at least $1500 on a college elective class that didn’t teach you anything relevant that you use in your daily life or career. A ski lesson is a mere 1/10th of that cost (or probably what you spent on the books for said elective class, which you later sold back for $11)! And the end result is fun.

If you don’t have something called “patience,” you’re going to have to develop it, unless your boyfriend or girlfriend is a total natural and discovers they can rip down a black mogul run on their first day. Then, you’ve won the jackpot as far as skiing spouses go. But that’s not very likely. What’s likely is you’ll have to spend one to five days taking it easy and skiing some greens and easy blues with them until they get the hang of it.

Here are some things to not do:

  • Be afraid to bribe them with bloody marys, hot chocolate, nachos, or all of those things.
  • Any of these things
  • Expect that they will gain any confidence by sideslipping their way down something way steeper than anything they’ve done so far.
  • Be a whiny little shit and tell them every 30 minutes that you’d rather be skiing [insert something that’s way out of their comfort zone] instead of watching them pizza wedge down a nice wide green run, again.
  • Take them out with your friends who have all been skiing for years and expect them to keep up, and then get mad when they don’t.

Tell yourself you’re trading five days of mellow runs with your beginner girlfriend or boyfriend for 50 days of fun with them over the next five years. Also, probably don’t get drunk and sleep with their best friend, and/or compare their cooking to your mother’s.


5 replies on “Help Your Relationship Survive Your Girlfriend/Boyfriend’s First Ski Season

  • Amy

    This is why, my first year of skiing, I signed up for an 8 week introductory lesson package. It was great. I learned how to ski, for the most part, and my boyfriend and I didn’t get into ski related arguments. He’s a really good skier so now he gives me some tips as I go and I ask him things about what I’m doing wrong. Only a few times have we had arguments about skiing. And it’s usually when I’m on a run that I find intimidating and his patience has grown thin telling me the same thing over and over again about what to do next. But we get over it and move on to an easier run the next go around.

  • Rachel @ Betty LIVIN

    Ha ha! That’s exactly what happened when I learned to snowboard. I thought my snowboarder boyfriend would teach me but all he could say when I asked questions was “I don’t know, just do it.” I would suggest taking lessons with a professional to save the relationship! lol

  • Arielle

    I’m the girl who takes an hour to get halfway down the bunny Hill, takes off her board, graciously relieves her committed instructor, and walks.

    Just finished The New American Road trip Mixtape. It was beautiful. Makes me miss traveling. I hardly stay anywhere longer than two years because setting down roots seems like surrendering my dreams somehow. I loved your perspective on climbing, live, driving, listening to music. Rating about Oregon made me miss it so much. Thanks for giving me a push to start planning my next trip.

  • Kristen Bor (Bearfoot Theory)

    This is great. One of my major goals this year is to learn how to ski. No boyfriend at the moment, but I’ll remember to pull this post out of my back pocket if it ever comes up! And I think the same advice applies to friends teaching friends.

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