How to Survive a Ski Trip When You Don’t Know How to Ski

This winter, I had the great fortune of being invited on a ski vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Everything about the trip sounded like a dream – a beautiful house to stay in, nestled in a famous ski town, a great group of friends, and a guaranteed fun time. There was just one little, bitty issue: I didn’t know how to ski. We’re talking haven’t-even-put-on-water-skis-before don’t know how to ski. Despite that minor detail and my initial reservations about the worthwhileness of paying for a ski trip when I didn’t know how to ski, it ended up being one of my favorite vacations of all time. Here’s how I recommend not only surviving, but also making the most of a ski trip if you don’t know how to ski:

Skiing Trip 1

1) First and foremost, take a ski lesson. You won’t regret it, but you WILL regret feeling like the only dope who can’t participate in, or even talk about the main activity of the trip. It’s really not as hard as it looks and no one will be expecting you to go down a double black diamond any time soon. Take it easy on the green slopes and practice your simple skills like parallel turns, hockey stops, and not falling on your face. If you decide you like it after your lesson, buy a Beginner Lift ticket, which will only give you access to the easier slopes and costs a quarter of what the full lift ticket costs! If you still need incentive to try it, this was the first and only vacation I’ve come back from without an extra 5 lbs, thanks to the incredible work out that is skiing.

2) Two words: après ski. This is the magical time of day around 4 PM when everyone who has been skiing and everyone else in the town join together for drinks and snacks at one of the many pubs or restaurants around the base of the mountain. The best thing about this activity is you 100% do not have to be a skier to enjoy it. You just have to like craft beer and cocktails, steaming plates of outrageous nachos, and relaxing with friends. Easy enough, right?

3) This third one is a classic vacation staple but especially important when you’re likely going to have a good bit of alone time during the day – bring a good book. Nothing sounds more heavenly or says cold weather vacation more to me than folding myself into an armchair in front of the fire with a big glass of red wine and a book I can’t put down.

Skiing Dogs

4) Finally, the great thing about a ski town is there are tons of other activities that involve snow and don’t include hurdling headfirst down a mountain with flat sticks strapped to your feet. Research your options before you leave and send an email out to the group so you can reserve whatever you need ahead of time, especially since lots of business offer a discount for booking ahead of time (tip: this applies to ski gear too). Make sure to look into dog-sledding, renting snowmobiles, cross country skiing (which surprisingly involves none of the same skills as regular skiing and is a fantastic workout), and whatever else the town offers.

So there you have it folks, you don’t have to be a skier to enjoy a ski trip! Just keep your mind open and your skis wide and you’ll not only survive, but have a fabulous vacation to boot.


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