Ski personality test

Ski personality test
What can you learn about friends on the slopes?

The ski personality test simply consists of skiing down a mountain with someone you don’t know well.  You might be surprised to see all the insights that are revealed in a few hours, or less!  The ski personality test works equally well for work colleagues, potential romantic partners, and friends.   Skiing together will highlight your partner’s score on at least a few of these attributes:  patience, decisiveness, selfishness, and leadership.  Here’s how you find out:

  1.  The lift line.

    On a busy day, sometimes multiple lines merge into one.  Does your partner edge forward, on top of the tips of other people’s skis or snowboards?  Does he or she ignore the protocol for who gets the next chair?  Or is he happy to chat with you while patiently waiting his turn?  This is a good way to see both patience and selfishness.

  2. Top of the hill

    Getting out of the gondola or off of the chair, choices abound.  You need to decide which trail to take; the steepness, bumpiness, and overall rating.  An indecisive person will hem and haw and second guess her decision to take the groomed blue.  Maybe the green would be better?  Or maybe the groomed black could be fun?  Hmm it is so hard to know.  Beware — this person may be a “maximizer,” as described in Barry Schwartz’s fascinating book The Paradox of Choice.  In the end, a “satisficer” – someone who makes a choice that they think will be “good enough” — is happier than the person who tries to eke the maximum out of every experience.  We all know that person — the one who wants to get in the most vertical feet, get the best deal on new skis, stay at the best quality but least expensive hotel.  Oh, I may have been guilty of that in the past – but I am working on being happy with my initial instinct/decision.

  3. Ski with a friend

    Inevitably, in a group of friends, or even among two people, ability levels differ.  One person will be a very strong skier, while the other is just struggling to stay upright.   How the strong skier treats the weak skier speaks volumes about his or her personality.   This is a cornerstone of the ski personality test.  A good leader will choose a trail on which everyone feels comfortable.  It may be a tiny bit of a stretch for the weakest skier, or a bit boring for the strongest, but he’s not going to lead everyone up to, say, Vail’s Challenge run (a short but steep/moguly black) and wish them luck.  Similarly, if your friend complains that her knees are sore and she just wants to take it easy for the last few runs of the day, an unselfish person will join her on some groomed blues, rather than push his own agenda to quickly ski the long, bumpy black next door.  Alternately, there comes a time when parting ways is a good idea; that’s what lodges and hot chocolate are for!  If your levels are vastly different, sometimes it makes sense to do a few runs on your own and meet up after to swap stores.  A selfish/maximizer will always choose what’s best for him without regard to the consequences for others.  Of course, setting expectations at the outset can be helpful.  Does the weak skier expect the strong skier to hold his or her hand all day?  Or is she independent enough to try some things out on her own?  Has the strong skier offered to give the weak skier “tips,” but then rushes straight down the mountain without stopping?

Skiing with a new person offers a fascinating look into his or her personality.  Next time you’re on the hill with someone new to you, pay attention to how they act on the mountain.  It probably won’t be so different from how they are in the bedroom or the board room.


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