The more I ski, the more I realize the saying, “no friends on a powder day” is not a great adage to live by. Few things in this world are more fun than enjoying a powder day with friends—whooping and hollering down the slope, taking photos, and creating memories. Skiing brings people together, and teaching a friend how to ski can be a fun, rewarding experience.
Helping a friend get into skiing can seem like a daunting task, though. Financial barriers, travel, lodging, and the amount of gear associated with the sport can deter a lot of people from picking up the sport. But a few tips and tricks can help you coax your friends into giving skiing a try. Who knows? You may just gain a valuable ski partner from the process.
How to be Financially Savvy on a Ski Trip
When helping a friend learn to ski, the first issue or question that is bound to come up is financials. Being a vacation-based skier is expensive. Lift tickets have breached the $200 a day mark during peak weeks, and rentals, flights, lodging, and clothes all add up to a high price tag for a week of skiing. That being said, you can keep the price tag down while getting the most out of your ski vacation by following a few easy steps.
Ski During Non-Peak Weeks
First and foremost, it’s best to avoid peak weeks if you’re trying to save money. Peak weeks are typically the weeks before and after Christmas, Presidents’ Day weekend, MLK weekend, Sundance in Park City, and generally the second half of March. During these busy times, lift tickets, flights, and lodging all increase in price. Some good times to book a trip if you’re trying to save money is the first week of December, the two weeks just after New Years, and the tail end of the season, which can be anywhere from early to mid April depending on where you intend to ski.
In terms of lodging, it is important to think about how important ski-in, ski-out lodging is to you. For obvious reasons, ski-in, ski-out properties and hotels tend to be more expensive. Do your research to determine if this is the accommodation you truly need. Park City, for example, has an amazing bus system that can easily transport you from anywhere in town to the ski slopes. Do your research on your destination before committing to a ski-in, ski-out lodge or hotel.
If you’re helping a friend get into skiing, chances are they will need ski and boot rentals. While it doesn’t make sense for a beginner skier to go out and buy skis, buying their own boots could actually help improve their skiing and comfort and even reduce future costs and hassle. The benefit of buying a boot for a beginner skier is familiarity and personalization. Over the course of a trip, they can become familiar with their own boot, which will help immensely for future trips. They can also personalize the boot, making it as comfortable as possible so they can ski from first chair to last!
Multi-Resort Passes and Lift Tickets
Lift tickets can be one of the most expensive parts of learning how to ski. With some resorts now charging upwards of 200 dollars for a single day pass, many skiers are opting for multi-resort passes, like the Ikon or Epic, as a way to save money. It may seem like a waste to invest in a full season pass when you’re just learning to ski, but it’s important to consider that learning how to ski will take more than a few days and learning how to ski well can take a full season. This makes a season pass or multi-resort pass a viable option if your friend’s committed to learning how to ski well.
If, however, your friend is just giving it the old college try, and they’re not really convinced they’ll take to the sport, it’s worth looking for lodging that offers either free or discounted lift tickets. This can be a great way to bundle the cost of lodging and lift tickets, as well as reduce the overall costs of learning how to ski.
On The Snow
Once you get all the pre-trip details dialed in, you’ll need to get your friend on the snow! This is the part that can make or break the overall experience, so it is best to be cautious, patient, and have a plan for how to best introduce the sport.
Whether or not to sign your friend up for ski lessons is a tough question, but before answering it, think about yourself and how skilled you are at teaching someone a brand new activity. Most of us are not patient enough to teach a beginner skier, and quite frankly, most of us don’t know the proper tricks of the trade. Personally, I’ve been skiing almost my whole life, and I would have no idea how to teach a beginner skier. Because of this, getting your friend lessons is often the best way to get started. Once they’ve completed a day of lessons, you can speak to the instructor to get an idea of what to look for in the coming days, so you can give pointers that you know are on target.
Route planning is a fancy way of suggesting that you should spend some time looking at the trail map to come up with a rough game plan of what you and your friend will ski. Since your friend is a beginner, sticking to greens and not pushing the pace or difficulty is key to keeping them happy and progressing. Pushing a beginner too far out of their comfort zone is a good way to get them frustrated and end the day early. Make a plan of where the green runs are, and try your best to move around the mountain. No one wants to be stuck at the bottom doing the same run all day, so make an effort to move around the mountain, showing your friend the beautiful scenery that goes along with skiing. Simply being up in the mountains is a great way to pass on the love of skiing.
Planning for the Weather
Of course, make sure to take ample breaks when skiing and always watch the weather. Those windy and snowy 5-degree days are great for the hardcore skier, but they may not be the best when you’re lapping greens. With some patience and thoughtful planning, it is only a matter of time until your friends will be able to roam the mountain with you!
While it may take some time and patience, helping your friends learn how to ski can pay dividends down the line. Not only is it rewarding to pass on a pastime like skiing, but teaching your friends will give you the camaraderie and companionship that makes skiing so great.
By: Cal Perfall, Content Writer