Spending your winter break on the slopes with family or friends? Here are 4 tips to keep it fun:
There are challenges in life, some big, some small, that inherently mark a milestone of achievement. Graduating high school. Surviving your first all-nighter. Potty training your child. And inevitably: keeping your mishmash group of 10+ family and friends skiing together happily on your holiday ski vacation.
This last one is hardly given any forethought as the challenge approaches. Everyone is focused on reserving their hotel, renting equipment, and making sure last season’s ski pants still fit around the middle.
There is often a “more the merrier” mentality for ski trips, and generally I agree with this. Except when I don’t.
And so it began with us. This year, everyone was headed out to Utah to ski with us at Snowbasin Resort. We could skip the “reserving hotel rooms” part because we are lucky enough to live here. However, squaring away equipment, planning the dates, and purchasing tickets were top of our list.
And so we arrived at The Moose, at 9 a.m. on Friday morning. The Moose is my favorite meeting spot at Snowbasin due to its central location. My kids were all in one spot, waiting patiently and ready to go. Already this day was starting off good. If you are a parent, I am sure you can relate. See my kids are like a flock of kittens that head in many directions, often simultaneously, and I am usually busy herding them.
However, on this particular day they were on point. My mom trickled in, always punctual, and then my dad, fresh from getting his boots on. Lastly, the three cousins, one from Boulder and two from Chicago made it over to our meeting spot.
We were all there, all wrapped up from head to toe in fleece, down and DWR. One, two, three… I counted to ten. Realization dawned like a chip stuck in my throat. We had ten people in our group! And we all planned on skiing together!
I briefly thought, “we are set up to have a frustrating and exasperating day,” while we entered the second of two gondolas carting us to the summit. “Lord, help us...”
Having grown up skiing since the age of two, I’ve witnessed many of these group ski days. Family comes in from afar, and our party of three turns into a party of seven. Or in college we’d try to keep two carloads of people skiing together for a day, and learned that it was easier to pass our Calculus midterm blindfolded. In my opinion, skiing in groups much larger then 4-6 takes a ton of commitment.
And it does. I spent the rest of the day counting to 10 multiple times a run to make sure we had everyone. But you know what? We had an amazing day! Everyone had their fill of runs (complete with powder turns and face shots), stuck together and was smiling come 3 p.m. when it was time to hit the Cinnabar for a beer.
I stopped to think about what had made today different than all of the other times I’d tried skiing with a huge group.
Here are a few tips:
- While the goal was to ski together, we expressed out loud that we didn’t need to stay together. Often frustration arrises when people feel obliged to remain with the group but have some other run or thing they’d like to do. Give people freedom to grab hot chocolate, ski a harder (or easier) run and do their own thing.
- Communicate a meeting spot. Not only a meeting spot for lunch or the end of the day. But at the top of the slope, make a plan to meet at the base of a specific chairlift or gondola and then let everyone get there at their own pace.
- Speaking of pace: if sticking together proves too difficult, divide by ability level to conquer, but meet for lunch and enjoy each other’s company then.
- Memorize everyone’s outfits! Take a good look around you, because once you are on the hill, everyone is going to look like your cousin.
Have a great winter break shredding with your friends and family!