When the holidays roll around, a lot of friends and family groups roll up to the resorts. Group skiing provides a great way for people to spend time together. Shared group experiences lead to closeness, and studies have shown that adrenaline, like that which flows through your body as you peer down a snowy or icy steep slope, bonds people together. So if your friends have passed the Ski Personality Test, consider taking it to the next level and gathering a small group for a ski outing. Snowgrrl interviewed expert skier, athlete, Colorado Snowsports Museum Hall of Fame’r Chris Anthony to gather some tips on best practices for group skiing.
Chris takes groups of skiers of varying abilities on adventures in cool destinations like Alaska and Italian Alps. He needs to plan each day as it comes, starting with checking the grooming report first thing in the morning. Having enough information about what’s open, what’s groomed, and what to avoid benefits everyone involved.
Chris says, “I try to design the flow of the day with meeting points along the way so that people can take variations to get to those places, if they want.” He always starts the group out together in the morning, but then gives people the option to stay together or go their own way, knowing that they have a time and place to meet up.
* Happy Group Skiing Requires You to Plan Even More.
As I learned last week, you must have a very specific time and meeting place! My friend wanted to meet up with his colleague during our abbreviated day at Breckenridge. Unfortunately, his phone froze, and he had made only a vague plan with his friend to “meet at the top of SuperConnect.” This led to a long wait and some mild confusion about where everyone was and whether we should do a run and go back up, or keep waiting. I know we’re in the digital age. But cell phones can’t always be relied on in cold weather! So do everyone a favor and have an old-fashioned plan. Also, try to make it specific enough so that people don’t, say, wander into 2 Elk and wait “by the window” (when the lodge has windows with panoramic views all around).
3. Divide and Conquer.
Sometimes, group skiing gets unwieldly, especially if you must wrangle a large group. You may have to wait for lots of people to unload off of their chairs, make their way down the mountain and then start all over again. It can be easier and more efficient to do a few runs with people around your same ability. Then, you can share stories later when you meet up with the group for hot chocolate or lunch.
4. Meet and Rehash
Apres ski stands out as the best part of the day, in my opinion! Adventures don’t count unless they’re shared! So you made a wrong turn and got stuck on a double black diamond with cliffs when you expected a groomed blue? (This happened to me). You met Oprah on the chairlift? Rehash the day over a hot beverage and the group skiing adventures will come back to life all over again!
Ski safe and enjoy!