Has your ski season started? Mine hasn’t, though I’m beginning to get excited. A-Basin and Keystone are open, there’ve been big storms in the west, and even the east has seen a few inches here and there.
So while we’re getting ready to get out there, it makes sense to think about what we can do to make this best season yet. Sure, it’d help if we had back-to-back powder days or if you snagged that pair of dream skis you’ve been lusting after. But there’s plenty of things you can do to turn the season ahead into a real winner:
• Ditch the negative people: Nothing can suck the fun out of a ski day more than someone who’s always negative. So instead of letting them ruin your day, ski with people you like to be around. I have a bunch of friends who make me smile, both on the hill and on the lift. Make people like this part of your regular ski crowd.
• Don’t be so hard on yourself. While you’re ditching the negative people, ditch the negative thoughts about yourself. Too many of us focus on only the negative aspects of our skiing. Focus on your achievements and abilities, instead. That trail you couldn’t do last year? You’re rocking it now! That bump run? You own it! Give yourself some love. You’ve earned it.
• Think quality, not quantity. Turn off your ski app, and instead of counting your runs or how much vertical you’ve done, count how much fun you’re having. If you take 3 runs that make you hoot and holler instead of 7 that are just so-so, then that’s something to celebrate.
• Wait for the slow pokes. Here’s the truth: I never mind waiting for people who are slower than me. Because as much as I enjoy speed, I also enjoy skiing with people I like, whatever their ability. You’re not in the Olympics, this is not a competition. Keep that in mind.
• Stop and take in the scenery. One of the main reasons I love to ski is that I get to see things that non-skiers never do. There’s nothing like standing on the summit viewing row upon row of mountains fading into the distance, or standing in a silent glade of trees as the snow drifts slowly down. Never be in too big of a hurry to take it all in.
• Try someplace new. I ski a lot at my home mountain, but I really enjoy getting away to someplace new every now and then. It doesn’t have to be the biggest place or someplace far, far away. Plane rides are not a pre-requisite to having a good time.
• Take a lesson: Lessons are like a magic pill. Take one, and you’ll be able to ski more confidently and cover more of the mountain than you could in the past. Lessons can do a lot to amp up the fun. Try one and see.
• Get a good friend skiing. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could get your best friend — the one who doesn’t ski — out on the slopes? It’d be an absolute blast, wouldn’t it? January is officially Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and there are usually great deals out there for never-evers. Go here for more info.
• Be grateful for any day on the snow. Sure, conditions aren’t always great and the day isn’t always fantastic. But truly, this is a first world problem. Consider yourself privileged to be skiing at all. Be thankful that you’re healthy enough to be on the hill, and that you have the means to pay for your lift ticket. And as part of this…….
• Thank the ski patrol and the lifties and the people who make it happen. Sure, being on the mountain is their job. But if it weren’t for the patrollers, lifties, ticket sellers, food workers, and so on, operations at your favorite mountain would grind to a halt. So don’t act like an entitled bitch. Give them the respect they deserve, smile and be nice. It goes a long way.
• Feel the joy. Skiing is supposed to be fun. Never lose sight of that. Instead of thinking about the fall you had this morning or the traffic you’ll hit this evening, revel in the moment. And if it stops being fun, stop skiing. There’s always another day.