Rules of Engagement: Teaching Your Significant Other to Ski
You don’t know how it happened, but it did, and now you have to deal with it.
You met someone, you fell for them, and now you want to spend all(ish) of your life with them. But, here’s the thing: they don’t ski, and even worse, they want to learn. At this point, you have two options (three if you count changing your name and moving out of state): you either hook them up with lessons, or you teach them yourself.
If you don’t have enough cash for an instructor, or you don’t trust one of your friends to teach your significant other for you (because they’ll move in on your love supply), you’ll have to step up to the bunny hill yourself.
Here are a few rules to help you teach your love puppet to ski without grinding your relationship into a never-ending sexless cold war held together only by a shared Netflix account:
1. Don’t do it
You ought to know better than to try to teach someone you’re romantically involved with to ski. But if you’re intent on breaking this rule, let’s move on to damage control.
2. Pick the right time and the right place
If the future parent of your babies has a rough first day because it rains ice balls or it’s freakishly cold, they’re going to get frustrated more easily. On the other hand, if you go up on the best powder day of the year and have to spend it chained to the bunny hill, you’re going to lose your mind.
3. Set expectations before you go
First days are rough. Let them know to expect some serious trial and error. They’re going to look silly and out of place. Remind them that everyone went through this; it’s a rite of passage. Let them know that if you seem impatient you’re just playing coach, and you’re not mad at them. Which brings us to number four ….
4. Don’t get impatient
Except, you’re totally going to get impatient. Put on your happy face and go for the Oscar. No matter what, do not let them see you looking frustrated. Bring a flask if that’s what it takes, but play the supportive coach role until your smile muscles ache.
5. It’s not about you
Remind yourself (repeatedly) that instruction days are not for you. This is a labor of love. It will be fun (some of the time), and it will be a nightmare (most of the time). Think of it as a gift and keep your ego out of it.
6. Go with the flow
Everyone learns at a different pace. Your student/bed buddy might want to brave a few green runs on their own, or they might need you to hold their hand the whole time. Either way, your job is the same: support, motivate, and keep it fun. If you need to get a few solo runs to satiate your need for speed, set an expectation that you’ll take twenty minutes at the end of the day or at lunch to hit the big-kid runs.
7. Keep the praise coming
Skiing might feel easier than walking to you, but when you think about it, it requires a complicated and novel set of skills.The fact that someone can strap fancy sticks to their feet and fly down a mountain is kind of amazing, even if it’s only on the bunny hill. Verbally reward every inch of forward progress.
8. Don’t force it
After a session or two, your cuddle nugget will probably fall in love with skiing, and you’ll have something you can share for the rest of your lives. But, they also might not. If skiing or snowboarding turns out to not be their thing, don’t stress it. You don’t have to do everything together, you co-dependent nesters. Besides, you’ll always have Netflix.