The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

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The couple’s weekend: Romantic mountain getaway or adventure escape?

It's hard not to feel romantic strolling the French Riviera or enjoying a horseback ride on a beach in Hawaii. But, that's hardly adventure travel. Fortunately, in the heart of the winter one alternative to the jet lag associated with distant escapes is a weekend right here in the Green Mountains of Vermont. From a planned romantic getaway to a Valentine's escape, the opportunities for couples seem enticing and indeed they are, but be warned of some common pitfalls in romantic planning.

Watching a half dozen couples in the K-1 Lodge at Killington recently, it was clear that romance was not in the air. In fact, two college-age women seemed downright irritated with their boyfriends as they walked through the lunch line.

These couples had a clear disconnect.

Here's the thing, a ski or snowboarding weekend isn't like going to the beach or to Disney World! Understand that while getting bolted into a roller coaster takes no skill as you scream for a minute or two, loading onto an expert lift at Killington does require a certain degree of athletic aptitue, or at least willingness.

You can hit the slopes hard all day but if one partner is an expert skier looking for that adrenaline pump that can only be released on the steeps and the other is a novice looking to share a moment gazing at the spectacular Green Mountain scenery that disconnect can spell trouble.

The couples in the K-1 Lodge unfortunately were experiencing that disconnect.

Fortunately, there are options. Couples need to jointly plan a ski weekend to maximize fun. Or, it may be more opportune to plan separate guys and gals escapes. This is not about gender differences. There are many women who rip! And not every guy is an expert skier. That said, we have created a list of keys to maximize success.

Pointer #1: Plan The Mission

Start by asking if you are ready to experience vacation travel with your partner?  A romantic weekend offers the opportunity to either connect in a powerful fashion or to experience extreme tension. Just sharing a bathroom in a small bed and breakfast as you scurry to leave for the mountain may cause a possible rift in any relationship. 

Does one person plan to ski without a shower? Is one partner planning an hour of preparation including make-up and hair? Will this cause a rift?

Take the time to consider if vacationing together is right. If you are in agreement begin by defining the mission. Is this a romantic escape or a weekend of adventure? A romantic weekend requires different ingredients. You need to be on the same page!

Make a list. Romance? Adventure? Both? 

Pointer #2 Plan the Lodging

From cozy bed and breakfasts to on-mountain condos the options for lodging are wide. Still, a couple who elects to cut expenses by staying in a crowded ski lodge a half-hour distant or an off-mountain budget motel will not have the same experience as the couple who end the day skiing to a condo with a blazing fire and romantic, secluded, hot-tub.

Talk through the options. An on-mountain condo means one skier can start early and swing by hours later to meet their partner. Avoid a disagreement. Understand that each choice creates a different experience.

Pointer #3 Plan Apres Ski

A ski weekend is about more than skiing. Is one partner planning to enjoy a few beers in the lodge or on the access road after a day on slopes? Is one partner planning to soak in a hot tub? Is a romantic dinner for two planned or are you thinking of a large group dinner with 40 members of the ski club?

Killington, as we know, has a diverse access road. How does each person envision their afternoon. Is it in front of the fire? In a bar? Shopping?

Talk. Non-skiers - if one is in your life - may not envision the reality of a mountain escape. Remember: a romantic ski weekend is about more than a day on the mountain - without a plan, an unhappy partner can create an atmosphere colder and icier then a NorEaster. 

Pointer #5 Practice The Art of Compromise

A fun, romantic, adventurous weekend for two requires compromise. Is this weekend about a shared, couple, experience? Or not! Perhaps you will need to adjust lodging to make first tracks. If you ski one day it may be that the second day will involve a drive through the mountains before winding your way home.

Remember that a weekend with a loved one is not like a guy's or gal's weekend. Plan for success. Understand that a ski weekend is not like a day at the beach. Dress for success. It is a winter sport! Plan your options. Afterall, skiing is somewhat dependent weather. Talk it through. Then, savor your escape.

Tony Crespi is a former Ski School Supervisor and Development Team Coach whose work appears throughout the season in publications throughout snow country. Tara DeLuco is an advanced graduate student in professional psychology. She hates being cold!

Tagged: valentine's day, romantic, adventure