I remember the first time I learned to ski. I was 7 years old and I was outfitted in a puffy red, pink and blue jacket paired with rented boots and skis. My sister and I were instructed by our great uncle who still gives skiing lessons to this day.
We learned all the basics like making a "pizza" to stop and spreading your arms out like an eagle to balance as you go down the hill. I'll never forget holding on to the rope to be towed up the bunny hill and my first time getting on to a chairlift. Since then, I've become an avid skier. My family and I went on ski trips almost every spring break as I grew up.
If you know how to ski or snowboard, you can probably appreciate my take on the best parts of going on a ski/snowboard trip:
Getting all your winter gear together and packing your bags
I don't know about you, but I love getting out my ski gear before a trip. After being stored away in a closet or garage all spring, summer and fall, there's something so fun about trying on boots, jackets, hats, gloves and goggles. Not only do you have to get out all your clothes and accessories, but you have to make sure your gear is ready to go. Applying a fresh coat of wax to your skis or snowboard before hitting the slopes is a must to ensure a smooth ride.
Arriving to your destination to see snow capped mountains
I live in the Midwest and there aren't any mountains around. It's pretty flat, so heading out west and flying over the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada Mountains covered in snow is pretty exciting. Seeing a skyline with summits in every direction is beyond beautiful.
Attaching your lift ticket to your jacket
The anticipation of hitting the slopes really starts to sink in once you've purchased your lift ticket. It's your pass to the mountain for the day. With it, the trails are yours to explore. Figuring out where to attach your ticket on your jacket is like finding the perfect spot for your favorite ornament on the Christmas tree. You want to display it proudly and have it front and center.
Catching your first chairlift of the day
I always love the feeling of getting all my gear on and securing my boots to my skis in order ride up the lift and get to the first run of the day. It's hard not to get butterflies and feel excited as the groups in the front of the line start to dwindle down. Watching the chair go around and around until it's your turn is fun, but actually sitting down on it and beginning your ride to the top of the slopes is the best part!
Riding on fresh powder
I'll never forget the first time I rode on fresh powder. We were out west and there was a heavy snowfall overnight. My family and I had always skied on groomed trails but this day we decided to venture down runs that hadn’t been touched. Getting on the fresh powder was exhilarating, it felt so effortless! Since this was my first time skiing on a blanket of snow that hadn't been groomed, I inevitably fell a few times but it was like falling into a fluffy pillow - my family still has pictures of us all covered in powder.
Conquering your fear of a black diamond run
If you've been skiing or snowboarding for a long time, you've probably been down a black diamond. But, if you're a beginner, black diamonds can be intimating. They can be steep, icy and filled with moguls. It's best to work your way up to taking on a black diamond as you become an intermediate or advanced skier or snowboarder, but I'll tell you that there's nothing more rewarding than getting to the bottom of your first black diamond run. Looking back up the hill to see the trail you just went down is a true testament to how you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it.
Warming up in the ski lodge with a hot chocolate
It's important to take breaks when skiing or snowboarding, especially if the temperatures are low. Grabbing a hot chocolate from the ski lodge is the perfect way to warm up. I always like to take off some of my gear and undo my ski boots a bit. Plus, it’s always funny to see everyone’s red noses and messed up helmet or hat hair as they relax in the lodge.
Taking in the view from the top of the mountain
After riding all of the chairlifts to the top, you're almost guaranteed (depending on whether it's snowing out) to have a great view. Standing on top of a mountain is an incredible thing. You're literally the king or queen of the world!
Making memories that last a lifetime
Skiing and snowboarding are activities that can be done alone, but they're even more enjoyable with family or friends. There's both action on the slopes and downtime riding up the lifts. What better way to bond with your loved ones than to take in the scenery and talk about everything under the sun as you ride to your next trail?
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