Thursday, January 26, 2017

Life Hacks From The Slopes For Beginner Ski Bunnies

In keeping with my love of winter, I learned to ski back in 2014. I have been tearing up the slopes ever since... if by "tearing up" you mean cruising down the hill in high alert should a tree decide to walk into my path. Trust me, the U.S. Ski Team will NOT be knocking on my door. I'm slow and cautious. I've been passed by 4-year-olds countless times. Learning to ski is one of the most challenging things I've done; one that is sometimes filled with more frustration than joy, but I love it.

And I've picked up some awesome life hacks while I struggle my way down those slopes, such as:

  • Learning never ends. Beginning each season with a lesson is a well-accepted activity of skiers, even those at advanced levels. Just when you think you've mastered a skiing concept or strategy, you're standing at the top of that black run (complete with moguls) in a sense of panic. How the fuck am I going to get down this hill alive? has entered my mind more than once. Being in a constant state of learning helps navigate through the inevitable challenges.
  • There will always be someone better than you. This isn't something to fear - it's actually a tool for self-learning. Spending time riding the ski lifts and watching those expert skiers fly down the hill with ease is both maddening and awe-inspiring. You know that they didn't come out of the womb with skis in hand, but you can't imagine what it will take for YOU to get to that level. You know what it takes? Time, practice, patience, a healthy dose of humility, and a willingness to LEARN from those who are better than you (see my first point).
  • When you fall on your ass, get back up and keep going. Falls happen. My first season, I probably spent 50% of my time falling after either attempting a turn or getting into a panic after picking up some speed. I questioned my commitment a lot that year, but I was in the company of other beginners on that bunny slope. People fall on the hill all the time. When this happens you have two options: get carted off on a stretcher, or get back up and continue down the hill. And you know what? There's always a lodge at the end of that hill with some warm soup and booze.
  • Preparation is paramount. When we pack for skiing, our gear is always double and triple checked to make sure we have everything we need. There's absolutely no way you perform your best on those cold, windy hills without proper gear. Sure you can buy something at the lodge shop should you forget, but who wants to pay $150 for a crap pair of replacement glove liners? Fuck that. I come prepared for any and all weather conditions.
  • Eating to LIVE. If you expect to spend 4-5 hours skiing, there's no way your body will perform well without being properly nourished. It only took a few times of hitting the town the night before skiing (fried foods, booze, the works) to realize that I had to be kind to my body in order to get anything out of it that resembled a good day of skiing. And I'll be damned if I'm paying $100+ for a lift ticket just to be exhausted after a few hours because I didn't fuel my body properly.
My skiing journey continues to be a fantastic but challenging conquest. I love being outdoors and experiencing places that can only be reached via skis. I love being in the company of other skiers who share my experiences and are willing to help me get better. And I love that the lessons learned from this adventure help me improve in other areas of my life.

Hope to see you on the slopes!


  1. Thanks for this wonderful insights. I think for me, being a skier also, I'd like to add one or two learnings. Mine is "invest in things that will last" which pertains to friendships, time spent with people you love AND of course, getting the best gear. More than anything, strong brands of ski gears must be patronized. Not only are these products reliable, they are trustworthy and won't let you down. They are there for the long haul and innovation is key to their longevity. Preparation for me entails investing in a good pair of skis, boots, goggles and other things that make skiing worhtwhile and safe. For more, see: