GET OUT: Are we skiing or dating?

By on March 3, 2015

Much of our culture in Jackson is based upon outdoor activities. For now, a popular hobby of choice is skiing. It seems ski dates in this community often happen during the day, and are somewhat ambiguous even when they are occurring.

Don’t get me started on why people aren’t old school, polite, and formally ask others out on dinner dates, because I don’t know. All I know is that formal dates rarely happen, and one will often find one’s self on a date without even knowing it. The key is to know the ropes to help make a day outside in the mountains a pleasant experience. Whether on a ski date with a potential partner, existing partner, or just a friend, underlying methods for greatest potential enjoyment can be established to make your date a great one. Here are some pluses and minuses I have found on my ski date experiences.

A good ski date has the right gear ready at the right time. I have often been led into ski dates where the other person is somewhat of a “gear bomb” when I show up at the meeting place. I’ve stumbled upon the other person cutting their skins in the parking lot, or even making peanut butter sandwiches in their van. Often, I’ve been a bit vexed that a supposed 3 a.m. start has been pushed back for an hour or more. I freeze my butt off in the parking lot while I watch them get their gear together. This is bad ski date protocol that would steer me clear of another date with this person.

A good ski date shares snacks. If one is planning on going on a formal ski date, bringing delicious snacks to share is critical. Nothing says “I’m not on a date” more than a ski partner whipping out seven Gu packets for lunch. Good snacks can be defined on a personal basis, but I am drawn towards chocolate-covered delicacies, homemade treats, or anything tasty that can be easily shared. Typically, snacking is my favorite part of the day. Any chance I have to bond over snacks solidifies my trust in said person.

A good ski date sprays snow, not words. There is nothing more disconcerting on a ski date than listening to someone talk endlessly about themselves and “rad lines” they have skied in the past. The best ski date doesn’t talk about skiing at all unless it’s about present conditions or what they are about to ski. Nothing kills the mood more than listening to hours of spraying about what said person and “the bros” skied last week. Two-way conversations are much appreciated. If one cannot think of a topic where equal conversation can be established, silence is the best policy.

A good ski date does not make romantic advances in precarious places. Nothing says “creepy” more than making a first move in a place where the other person has no other options. These precarious places include knife-edge ridges, belay stances or anywhere one is roped in. If the ski date is going well, one is better off waiting until entering a “safe zone” before taking it to the next level.

A good ski date isn’t texting away while in the mountains. Texting, Facebooking, or “Gramming” while skinning tells me that the mind would prefer doing other things. Additionally, stopping for 10 minutes to wait for someone to post an Instagram for their multitudes of followers tells me that they care more about strangers than enjoying real time with a friend.

When terminating a ski date, there are many different options to concluding the day. Dinner or a drink is always a nice finale. Sometimes, it is obvious to both parties that the ski date reached its peak at high noon and it is time to part ways. In any case, only you can be the judge of whether it was a fulfilling ski date. If you find yourself not wanting the day to end, this is a good sign. If you find yourself wanting to hitchhike or take the bus home at the first opportunity, maybe this particular ski date wasn’t a good match for you. There are many fish in the sea, and just because one particular fish wasn’t in your flow doesn’t mean none of them are. I wish you luck finding a ski date of any sort that will work for you!

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