If there is one cardinal rule of skiing, it isn’t that the downhill skier has the right-of-way, that après is non-negotiable, or even that there are no friends on a powder day.
The supreme truth, holier than any other on the mountain, is this: Thou shalt not attempt to teach your significant other to ski or snowboard.
Even if you’ve both carved some turns in the past, differences in ability can cause tension.
Nothing kills the romance faster than a know-it-all condescending to a fish-out-of-water novice.
Level the playing field, however, and it’s a whole different story.
“My husband and I actually fell in love while taking snowboard lessons together,” says Breckenridge Resort’s Kristen Stewart, who has been happily married for three years.
“I was already an accomplished skier, and he hadn’t skied in about 20 years, so our first day on skis didn’t go well.
We took a snowboard lesson the next day so we both could start from scratch, and we had so much fun together over the next few days trying something new.
I realized if we could learn to snowboard together, we could do anything.
And the rest is history.”
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to add a little romance to your run-of-the-mill, same-every-year ski trip.
Small change-ups to the routine can make a world of difference.
Check out these suggestions for a long weekend, a little adventure, and a lot of sparks.
Follow the Stewarts’ lead by taking a private couples’ lesson at Breckenridge or Keystone in a discipline neither of you have tried.
If an ability gap isn’t the issue, consider exploring new terrain instead; if the timing is right, try something like Breck’s Steeps Camp.
Trying new things and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone give you a chance to be vulnerable and to support and encourage one another.
Cap your day of newfound or rekindled cooperation with a traditional date night: cocktails at Blue River Bistro followed by dinner at Modi’s on Main Street in Breckenridge.
Or extend your trying-new-things theme with a Starlight Dinner: Hitch a ride on an open-air sleigh pulled by a snowcat and ride up the moonlit mountain to Peak 9’s Ten Mile Station, where you’ll share a four-course prix fix menu of dishes such as espresso- and red chile-braised Berkshire pork belly, piñon-stuffed rainbow trout with garlic mash and vanilla bean crème brule with blackberry jam ($85 per person).
Yesterday, you discovered new ways to get down the mountain.
Today, challenge yourself and push each other to try a different means of getting up it.
Sign up for a four-hour beginner snowkite lesson on Lake Dillon with Colorado Kiteforce.
You’ll start with a two-hour ground school session, in which you’ll learn the fundamentals of kite control and reading wind windows.
Once you’ve mastered launch, de-power, and landing, you’re ready for the second half of the class.
Click into your skis or snowboard, and begin experimenting with direction changes and speed control.
By the end of the first class, you’ll likely be ready to test your skills on a hill and can, eventually, harness the power of the wind to get you to the same places the chairlift takes you.
If you did things right, you’ll be a little sore and wind-whipped, so spend the afternoon getting pampered at the Rejuvenation Center at One Ski Hill Place on Breck’s Peak 8.
The three-hour Elevation Elation experience combines an 80-minute Yugen massage to release tight muscles and an Alive & Ageless facial that exfoliates dry winter skin and then energizes it with fresh botanicals and moisturizers customized to your skin type ($320).
You’ll leave refreshed and invigorated to continue adventuring with your partner.
Once you’re all gussied up, hit the town again. Breckenridge might be small and historic, but it’s not without culture.
This winter, the charming Backstage Theatre on Ridge Street will present four productions, including Dog Park, The Musical and Curves Ahead.
Visit the website for show times and ticket information.
A post-show fondue-and-wine dinner at the Swiss Haven on Main Street after the crowds have thinned is the perfect setting for enjoying each other’s company and recounting the best moments of the past two days.
You know what they say about variety being the spice of life.
Today, stick to what you know best—whether that’s skiing or snowboarding—but keep things interesting by splitting your day between Breckenridge and Keystone, one mountain in the morning, the other in the afternoon.
Swan Mountain Road is a scenic shortcut between the two resorts with a perfect halfway-point pull-off made for a midday picnic lunch if the weather is nice.
If you have snowshoes, throw them on, but the .7-mile loop is usually heavily trafficked enough to keep the snow packed and easily navigable in winter boots.
Grab sandwiches at Inxpot in Keystone or Park & Main in Breck, then follow Swan Mountain Road to signs for Sapphire Point and take in the extraordinary views of the Tenmile and Gore ranges and Lake Dillon from one of the picnic tables along the path.
Tip: Start at Breckenridge and end at Keystone, where you can extend your slope time after the sun dips down with Colorado’s best night-skiing, till 6 or 8 p.m. depending on the day.