Powder, passion make for slippery slopes | VailDaily.com

Powder, passion make for slippery slopes

Matt Zalaznick

Well, the desperately-awaited layers of snow refreshing our two local world-renowned ski hills have skiers and snowboarders this week pondering a mountain’s potential for intimacy. Truth be told, we like to keep skiers and snowboarders from the rejuvenated slopes a few minutes and pester them into pondering it.

So how “bout skiing with your soul-mate?

“Never, never, never. It’s a one-way ticket to disaster,” says Avon’s Jason Decker.

OK. So who among us – the Southerners, at least – hasn’t had a high-altitude panic attack the first time our Minnesota-bred girlfriends, former ski racers, tested our manhood by shoving us down the East Vail Chutes?

Who among us hasn’t realized a date was going rapidly downhill watching the young lady who answered our personal ad careening ski-less and pole-less down Lover’s Leap? Didn’t she tell us on the lift she only wanted to cruise the groomers? That she wasn’t quite comfortable on anything too steep?


“There have been tears on the mountain,” says Pueblo’s Allison Hootman of hitting the slopes with her husband, Kent, who has been skiing since he was 4 years old.

“For us, it’s always a joy,” Kent Hootman insists as his wife makes faces at him from behind. “I think skiing is great bonding.”

Kent, however, does admit there’s a chance for familial strife and, sounding very much like a Vail Resorts brochure, offers some advice to avoid any bickering.

“Skiing is something you can share with your whole family – though it is important to invest in lessons so everyone can ski at the same level.”

Allison adds there haven’t been any tears this season – at least not yet.

What skiers and snowboarders unanimously agree upon is girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives, should not – under any circumstances – try and teach each other to ski.

So is there anything to be gained from giving your main squeeze a free ski lesson?

“Teaching a girlfriend is bad. It leads to, “You’re telling me what to do,’ which could lead to the cold shoulder in the hot tub,” says Denver skier Brad Thompson.

What makes you think you’re invited into the hot tub, bub? We probably shouldn’t give your answers any credence, but are the slopes a good place for a first date?

“It’s good points for a date – as long as it’s not a powder day,” Thompson says.

Skiers and snowboarders of both sexes agree that all novices – no matter how wonderful, handsome, smart or funny they are – are better left behind on a powder day.

It seems, however, a little rivalry is good for a relationship.

“We have a foundation of our relationship based on competition – so it’s always a joyful experience for one of us,” says San Francisco snowboarder Mike Campbell, who often skis with his girlfriend.

But where can you ski in San Francisco? Sure the streets are steep, but you’re liable to get squashed by a Rice-A-Roni truck.

South Lake Tahoe’s Eryn Cutler had about the soundest advice for mixing powder and passion.

“First of all, you can’t mix skiing and snowboarding. It’s too difficult to stay together and it’s a completely different mentality,” Cutler says. “And if one person is learning, the better one shouldn’t teach the other.”

However S.

“If they’re the same level, it can be an exceptionally romantic experience,” Cutler adds.

Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for: a few comments from Ashley Decker, an Avon skier who is confident that, aside from her brother, there are no guys who ski better than she does.

“That would be a big ego drainer,” she says.

So would she take a guy on a ski date? Wouldn’t out-skiing him shatter his machismo like scattered corn snow?

“I like to ski with boys I’m better than,” Decker says. “You buy them a beer at the end of the day and it’s all good.”

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at


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