When you're a skier, dating someone who also happens to be a snowboarder is a tricky business. These relationships tend to take root in the dog days of summer when skiing is less at the forefront of your mind. When winter returns, things can really get confusing. Don't worry, accidents like this happen. It doesn't mean next season is totally shot, but it will take some finesse. As we know, skiing is a lifestyle, not just something that we do for fun. If you’re canoodling with someone who either doesn't understand this or prefers to move down the mountain on a single plank, you may find these tips on inter-sport dating helpful.
1. Be respectful of your partner's
You can’t be with someone and not respect his or her "sport." While you might not be willing to be seen in the lift line with your partner, you still have to respect the fact that they've chosen something different than you. Don’t try to force the fact that skiing is historically superior on them. Instead, lead by example and your S.O. is more likely to come to this conclusion on their own time. To speed up the process, suggest a nice traverse for the next run.
2. Try to understand your partner's decision.
Just because you are a skier who wouldn’t be caught dead on a snowboard even on gaper day, it doesn't mean you can't learn about your partner's sport, too. Find the common ground, like your shared affinity for Gore-Tex and burritos. Speak slowly and clearly and try asking engaging questions like, "What are your thoughts about Shaun White?" or “How do you decide which beanie to wear every day?” or even, “Do you like Blink 182?”
3. Understand your friends and family might not accept your choice.
If you come from a family of skiers, you need to realize that your kin might not understand or accept your snowboarder right off the bat. This can be really hard and may cause resentment, and trigger your own guilt for getting caught up in a mixed-sport relationship, so you need to make sure that both of you understand this going into the winter.
Set clear expectations from the beginning. If you’re not willing to be seen with your knuckle-dragging boyfriend anywhere except après, make sure he knows that in advance. Set those boundaries now in order to avoid a lift line lovers' quarrel caused by unmet expectations.
4. When you are educating yourself about snowboarding, keep an open mind.
This doesn’t mean you have to convert, but you do have to be open to learning why your snowboarder will want to suddenly, for no apparent reason, sit down in the middle of the run. Otherwise, you'll soon be back on the Ski Town Tinder Roulette or turning to your co-ed roommate for comfort and we all know that's going to be a bad time. If you want this to work, know there will be challenges; accept those challenges, and find a way to figure out how to put that fucking splitboard together before the sun goes down.
The beauty in inter-sport relationships is the opportunity to learn and grow from someone who you thought was going to be a one-time thing but ended up sticking around. Show you care by packing an extra jacket for when their cotton hoody gets wet. And remember that every cat track is a journey. But don’t worry, with enough speed (don’t forget to remind them!), Mountain Dew, snacks, Red Bull, Camel Lights, Fireball, sat phone, space blanket, first aid, second skin for blisters, and spare collapsible poles, you’ll get through it—together.
5. Don't give into the pressure.
Just because you are learning and understanding the neat-o things about your partner's choice to snowboard doesn’t mean that you should cave into the pressure and fall into snowboarding. Finding someone capable of an adult relationship in a ski town is great, but giving up your needs and interests for that person isn't. A functional relationship makes room for what both of you need, and your partner can't know what you need if you don't voice it. If your lover threatens to walk when you do express yourself on skis, let them go. You can always date a tele skier.
Matt Hansen was a contributing reporter.