Okay – so you know skiing is awesome. But maybe you’re having a tough time gathering a crew to join you up the hill because of < insert excuse here >. This guide is guaranteed to convince any of your friends who are on the fence to come and join you.
And if you’re the one who’s still undecided about skiing? Read on for helpful answers to some of the things that might be holding you back from hitting the ski hill.
Excuse #1: “It’s too expensive”
It’s true that skiing and snowboarding are up there with some of the pricier outdoor activities. There’s the gear, lift ticket and potentially overpriced nachos at the lodge. But there are some ways to make it easier.
Ski hills offer rentals, sometimes packaged with lift tickets. If you’re looking to buy gear, then second-hand is a good way to go; check our online gear swap, head to an MEC gear swap event, or look for ski and board swaps around town for deals on gently used gear. And finally, scope out end-of-year clearance sales or even pre-season turkey sales. They’re a great way to pick up a new set-up, often at a deep discount. Who cares if the skis are last year’s model? The added year simply makes them more mature.
Excuse #2: “I can’t get to the ski hill”
Canada’s pretty fortunate to boast some of the best ski hills in the world – but unfortunately, they’re not all conveniently located near transit. There are options, though.
The first and most obvious? Bus shuttle service. Most ski resorts offer this option, and it’s usually the most economic choice. Here are just a few shuttles to popular hills:
- Tremblant, QC
- Blue Mountain, ON
- Lake Louise/Sunshine Village/Norquay, AB (purchase a tri-area lift ticket and the shuttle will be free!)
- Rabbit Hill, AB
- Whistler, BC
- Revelstoke, BC
- Big White, BC
- Sima, YK
If you or a friend have a driver’s license but no vehicle, then renting a car can work out great, especially if you’re able to rally more buddies and split the cost. In addition to standard car rental companies, there are also car shares; here are a few to scope out (there are lots more out there):
- Zipcar (large roster of vehicles in BC and Ontario, great for all day use)
- Communauto (Quebec car share with one-way and round-trip options)
- Evo (Vancouver car share that offers hybrid vehicles with ski racks)
- Enterprise CarShare (dozen of models, provides options around Ontario and Saskatchewan)
- Car2go (great for A to B trips, pay by minute, hour or day)
Tip: Set up your car share account now (it typically takes a few days for everything to process) so when the first snowfall hits the ski hill you’ll be ready to hit the road.
Excuse #3: “I don’t know how”
Never skied before? Then now’s your chance to find out how awesome it is.
The best approach for beginners is to sign up for a lesson. You learn the basics from someone who understands what it’s like to teach newbies (and it’s often a better situation to learn from a neutral third-party – remember what it was like when your parents tried to teach you to drive?). Most hills offer a combo of gear rentals plus a lesson.
If you’re the one encouraging a friend to ski, spend some time with them on easy runs after their lesson. As they get more comfortable, you can be the more experienced guide that gives them the gentle push they need to ramp up their skills.
Heads up: Don’t listen to the saying “no friends on a powder day.” Snow safety’s extremely important, and skiing with a buddy is obviously safer (and more fun).
Excuse #4: “It’s too cold”
It’s a mountain covered in snow, so yep, it’s going to be chilly. But there are ways to keep comfortable even when flurries are falling.
Take a look at your layering system. Does it include the right layers for the ski conditions? If it doesn’t, then tackle the problem with borrowed, gently used or new gear (see the answers to excuse #1 for ideas). Hand and toe warmers can also be a perpetually chilly person’s new best friend. To really take it up a notch, there are also heated socks and mitts.
Excuse #5: “I’ve tried skiing, and I just don’t love it”
Instead of trying to force something that’s not going to happen, sometimes it’s best to adapt and overcome.
Most ski resorts offer lots of non-skiing activities, and these are a great way for you or your non-skiing friends to join a weekend ski trip without getting on a chairlift. The skiers in the group can head out for first tracks, and the non-skiers can go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or even tubing.
When the whole group meets up for après at the end of the day, everyone will have toque-hair, flushed cheeks from playing in the snow, and stories to talk about, which is really what time at the mountain is all about.