Lessons from My First Ski Vacation (Part II – with Recipes)
Lesson Four: The best companions on a newcomer’s first ski vacation are supportive – and encourage lessons from the professionals.
If you are an experienced skier on a trip with a new skier, THANK YOU for your patience. We know it is taxing to go with first-timers. We slow you down, keep you from better terrain, and occasionally shut down the lifts because we have the balance of a newborn foal.
But if you are an experienced skier on a trip with a new skier, please encourage him or her to take professional lessons. I know that sometimes you try to lead with kindness, to volunteer your time and knowledge about skiing with the newbies. Unless you are a certified ski instructor, I think this can be a mistake.
From the perspective of the new skier, we don’t want be a drag. So we might try to do maneuvers, or take on speed, or try terrain we are not ready for (dangerous); and we are likely not going to ask questions because we want to seem more competent than we are (hubris). Both of these are bad ingredients when aiming for a fun day on the slopes. These reactions are beyond your control as an experienced skier – your personal relationship with the new skier is itself the cause of these problems. Therefore, I think it is better to leave the teaching to the professionals.
“If you are an experienced skier on a trip with a new skier, THANK YOU for your patience. We know it is taxing to go with first-timers.”
Lesson Five: Everyone has something to contribute.
I remember being fairly anxious before my first ski trip. Most of that was due to the fact that I didn’t know how to ski. But it also came from not knowing everyone that was on the trip. This is a blessing, however, because anonymity means never having to apologize for what you’ve done in the past.
One way to get over that anxiety is to realize that you — yes You — have something that you can contribute to the vacation. As preposterous as this may sound, everyone of us had something to give. Share photos, stories, recipes. Bring a guitar, make a playlist, help with the dishes (this will totes score you points).
And points can definitely be scored through good food! Like yummy apricot chèvre bites with cranberry and fresh thyme! Or an asparagus-gruyère tart with prosciutto (OMG, yes)!
Apricot Chèvre Bites
Super easy snack to have with a glass of riesling before heading out to Aspen’s nightlife. Buy some dried apricots, spread about half a teaspoon of plain chèvre (goat cheese) on top, and top with a dried cranberry and (optional) two or three leaves of fresh thyme. Fresh, tangy, and fairly healthy. I know two to three thyme leaves seems persnickety: trust me, it makes a difference.
If you get home from the slopes early, have a plate of these ready for your friends and they will sing your praises forever (and better yet, invite you on their next ski vacation)!
I know — it looks like it will take hours. Not on my ski vacations! Here’s the scoop: buy frozen puff pastry. Let it thaw just enough that you can unfold it and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Trim fresh asparagus and lay on pastry, half an inch from edges. Sprinkle shredded gruyère over the asparagus (and any other shredded cheese you might like). Add salt, pepper, thyme. Brush edges of pastry with a beaten egg. Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled fried prosciutto.
Lesson: The Last. Always say “yes.”
I’ll end where I began. If you have never skied, I recommend you give it a try. We are designed — perhaps destined — to find new experiences, learn new things, and meet new people. When the time comes, and you have that “What am I doing” moment, just know that you won’t know the answer to that question if you don’t say “yes.”
If you already know how to ski, and are debating whether to take on a ski vacation, I definitely recommend you say “yes.” We SNOWCHASERS didn’t know each other particularly well when we ventured out on our first ski vacation. And the result has been a set of new friends sharing incredibly fun experiences. We even started this ski blog together.
Always, always say “yes.”