In Colorado, skiing is such a turn-on that we include which pass we’re rocking on our dating bios. So, what happens when your significant other—gasp—doesn’t ski or board? If your first instinct is to teach them yourself, be sure to buckle your helmet, says Winter Park Resort Ski and Ride School director Tony Terreri. You’re entering treacherous terrain.

A guide to teaching someone how to ski.
Illustration by Dave Perillo

1. Start With a Status Check

How’s your relationship going? If the answer is “not great,” it’s time to reconsider. “There are two main reasons you might teach your significant other to ski,” Terreri says. “One is you don’t want to date them anymore and want them to break up with you. The other is you’re thinking about marriage and want to see if they have any well-hidden homicidal tendencies.”

2. Pack Hot Chocolate

Remember, the goal isn’t to get your partner to ski like Jonny Moseley or Lindsey Vonn. It’s to make them fall in love with the sport. Keep it fun by plying your boo with warm, sugary drinks; bribing them with an epic après; and, above all, not guilt-tripping them into a few more laps when their feet are freezing and they want off the damn lift.

3. Hit the Books

Trust us: You’re not as good at skiing as you think you are. Before you pass on your bad habits, many of which can make new skiers worse, Terreri says, brush up on the basics by consulting the Professional Ski Instructors of America. Its website,, is stocked with informational videos for newbies and free digital courses for aspiring instructors.

4. Keep them in Their Comfort Zone

While your date may have the skills to handle more advanced runs, don’t increase the difficulty too soon: If they get scared, they’ll forget everything they’ve learned. “I’ve had lots of clients whose significant others took them somewhere they shouldn’t, and, well, that’s how they ended up my clients,” Terreri says. You’ll know they’re ready when they ask to try harder terrain.

5. Stay Cool

They’re going to get frustrated, and you may too. They can show it. You can’t. “As soon as you do,” Terreri says, “that trust as a teacher goes out the window.”

The One-Step Process: Buy Them a Lesson

Terreri has 31 years of experience, and even he left his wife’s training up to others. How’d that work out? They’re still together after nearly 13 years, and she’s transformed from a Floridian who only skied on vacation into a certified ski instructor.

(Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Hitting the Slopes)

This article was originally published in 5280 January 2022.
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas writes and edits the Compass, Adventure, and Culture sections of 5280 and writes for