Love in the Mountains: 5 tips for crushing a powder day with your girlfriend | VailDaily.com

Love in the Mountains: 5 tips for crushing a powder day with your girlfriend

Jessica Heaney
Love In The Mountains

You see a snowstorm in the forecast and you're reading Joel Gratz's OpenSnow updates daily. Visions of skiing through knee-high powder fields fill your thoughts and you can already feel the excitement. Waking up to a powder day, for many locals, is better than Christmas morning for a child.

But then you look to your partner and something happens to that excitement. It turns to anxiety. You begin to wonder if they're as thrilled about the impending snowstorm. And you question, "Will we get into the same fight we did last year on the mountain?" When you lost each other in the Back Bowls, he fell and got a ski buried, or when she got "hangry" and criticized you for taking the wrong run.

Most couples have been here — the awful powder day brawl — when couples struggle to connect on a day that should bring only joy and fun. Instead we feel stressed and disappointed. Too often couples surrender to no longer sharing powder days but it doesn't need to be this way. Rediscover how to connect on the slopes and strengthen your relationship.

Plan Ahead

If you're an early riser, then nothing is more painful than watching your partner sleep in on a powder day. You've already had two cups of coffee and it's approaching 8 a.m. Your anxiety is starting to build and you know this only leads to a bad start to the day. Because you're about to snap.

When you see the snowstorm approaching, sit your partner down and plan out the day. Let them know it's important to you to leave at a certain time and get on the same page with some details.

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I'd suggest answering the following: Where are we skiing? What time will we commit to leave? Who will make breakfast and, of course, the coffee? And be helpful by getting all your gear out and ready the night before. You don't want to be tracking down mittens five minutes before it's go time.

Prioritize the Relationship

If you're like some locals, then you might go bonkers on powder days. You can't wait to hit all your secrets spots to snag the freshest of tracks. All you think about is that free feeling of gliding swiftly through those powdery turns. But where's your partner in these daydreams? Maybe you left them behind in that last tree run?

If you're committing to spending the day together, then you need to keep the relationship as the No. 1 priority. A successful powder day together only requires that you focus on sharing a fun day playing outside. It isn't so much about how many lines you skied or if you hucked the biggest of cliffs. If you lose your partner in the experience, then you've simply lost. Because there will always be more powder days but you may not have this person to share them with.

Bring Snacks

This is hopefully an easy tip. Throw some granola bars or gorp in your pockets just as backup. You burn more calories skiing powder and blood sugar can quickly drop. Prevent the hangery outbursts by being a thoughtful prepared partner.

So, when your loved one gets a little snippy on the chairlift, offer them a snack. And don't forget to keep each other hydrated.

Lose the Group

While it's tempting to circle up with friends and ski together, I'd suggest keeping the numbers to a minimum. Again, the primary focus is sharing the day with your partner — not everyone else and their partners.

In groups, dynamics get tough to manage. Each person has different opinions, needs and wants. This can quickly add stress and it becomes more challenging to stay connected with your No. 1.

Reflect

At the end of your powder day, kick up your boots and reflect on the day. Share what you enjoyed most, how hilarious it was when you took that fall, or when your partner mastered that tight tree run. Simply take a moment to share about the day and have it all sink in.

Enjoy the snow, and keep each other safe out there.

Jessica Heaney is a licensed clinical social worker who knows the relationship struggles of living in the Vail Valley. If you're a Vail Resorts employee, then your EAP benefits give you and your partner six sessions with Heaney. For more information, visit http://www.jessicaheaney.com. If you want to learn how to date for commitment and how to stop dating the king or queen of first dates, then contact Heaney at Jessica@jessicaheaney.com.