Teaching a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife to ski (particularly if you’re an expert) can be challenging and can require a lot of patience.
The first thing you should do if you’re gonna dive headfirst into teaching your partner is to ask yourself if you believe you have the ability and the level-head to be a teacher on the slopes. If the answer is “yes”, then here are some other tips to ensure that the learning experience is positive and loving for both of you.
Be Encouraging Always
There are going to be times when you get frustrated with your partner. That’s ok. What’s not ok is saying negative or belittling things like, “Why aren’t you getting this?” or “You’re being a baby. Just do it.”
Keep it positive and honest. Give them real feedback that is free of emotion such as:
“That was a really fluid turn.”
“Try to keep your knees bent a bit more and loosen up your body.”
“Make sure to look downhill instead of just at your skis.”
“Great effort today. You’re catching on.”
Don’t Compare Their Learning Experience to Yours
Chances are, you learned to ski when you were young or in your teens. Something to understand before teaching an adult is that grown-ups often learn very differently than children and teenagers.
For children and teens, the element of fun typically trumps any fear they might have.
However, for adults, fun is often secondary to the fear and self-consciousness that they will experience when learning this new (and very physically demanding) sport.
As such, don’t say things like:
“This was so easy for me when I learned. I don’t understand why you’re not picking it up.”
In fact, don’t tell them that anything is “easy” or that they will “catch on quickly” because you have no idea what their learning curve will be. They may catch on and start ripping groomers the first few days, while powder skiing or trees might throw them for a loop.
Let them learn at their own pace and don’t compare, encourage.
If you’re both getting frustrated, take a break. Immediately. Go eat. Go drink. Even call it a day if need be. Skiing is supposed to be fun and is meant to bring you closer together. If the opposite is occurring, press pause.
Buy Them a Lesson
Once they’ve gotten to the point where they need more direct and professional instruction, maybe consider buying them a lesson. Ski instructors can often make a mediocre skier a damn good skier in one or two lessons simply by commenting on form and by being a neutral observer.
Be able to recognize when it’s time to let the true experts take over and your significant other will thank you. Not to mention, the entire goal is for your partner to be able to ski WITH you, so a lesson or two is one step closer to that goal.