Is teaching your Other Half to ski or snowboard the recipe for blissful couple winter snow holidays holding hands down the piste or disaster?

We put the question to the SnowHeads forum, asking members if they thought it was a good idea and if they'd taught their Other Halves to ski or snowboard, how did it go? Happily ever after or the end of a beautiful relationship?

Talked my OH into doing a season after she'd done two weeks skiing. Thought it might have been a big error about two weeks in with a big tantrum on the piste, but now she's a seriously good skier who is phased by no piste and starting to dabble in off piste.  Quiet moment the other day:

Me: 'What are you thinking about?' Her: 'skiing'. Result. Best thing I did all season was buy her lessons for Christmasflaming

Obviously it will depend on the particular couple, but I think there is endless opportunity to ruin a perfectly good day on the mountain if you try to teach your other half. I won't teach my girlfriend, it's just not worth the tears. rob@rar 

The wife skis, I snowboard. I used to offer to teach her, she just threatens ultra-violence. So now we just battle for the hearts and minds of the kids. She wants them to ski, I want to raise them to know the light and joy of the One True Edge. Richard Sideways

Began teaching my girlfriend to ski two seasons ago. She'd never skied before, but took to it well and really enjoys it. One to one lessons were key. Over the course of four holidays she has progressed from piste to low angle powder and trees. Bought all the kit and already paid for itself compared with hiring. Mike Pow

I'd say don't try to teach your OH unless you are a trained instructor AND s/he is used to taking instruction. I've had very successful snowboard lessons from my husband. but he's a snowboard instructor and I'm used to being instructed (although the kisses I got when I fell were really nice).

Most of the clients I've taught, who were discouraged after a few sessions skiing with their OHs trying to teach them, were doing so much wrong because the OH didn't understand how and what to teach. A professional instructor can make it so much easier. skinanny

My wife taught me to ski, I taught her to kitesurf; she picked it up in a day, She rocks. We learned to climb together and pushed each other up the grades. 

I don't find it hard to accept instructions from her; or anyone who is better than me, or has more knowledge, as I have always found that my ego is best left at home when indulging in potentially dangerous sports or activities. adam.b

My partner is a trained instructor who successfully taught me to windsurf, but I've seen several other budding relationships crash and burn as a result of a guy trying to teach his girlfriend his favourite sport (snowboarding, climbing, windsurfing, whatever) without ever having tried to teach anyone before and seemingly without the sense and humility to realise how badly he's screwing things up and apologise before the whole thing turns a bit acrimonious. 

I don't think I've heard of it happening the other way around, with the girlfriend being the incompetent would-be instructor and the guy getting pissed off, but maybe that's just because my sample size is too small? Serriadh

I have spent over 30 years trying to ski as well as my wife and am still nowhere near. But she does let me ski with her. johnE

Would you teach other half how to play golf?  Thought not! And you don't even fall in golf  (Mind you a whack over the head with a golf club will hurt more than a ski pole). peanuthead

I think it's a bad idea, generally. If your partner wants to do it, fine, but I'd still recommend that you arrange lessons from someone else and don't ride together until your partner can ride at your level. The sexes are different in this respect, based on what I've seen: 
1) If the male's better, then usually she can take it, but his presence often increases her stress and reduces her confidence. This is a nightmare for guides, who have to try to separate the pair without them noticing that they're being managed. If you don't do that, she loses and he gets angry. 
2) If it's the other way around, when the bloke is weaker, it just gets ugly. I've yet to see a male who can take getting his back bottom kicked by his partner plus a bunch of other blokes, they hate every minute of it. For blokes, their whole manhood is at stake, they really do find it extremely hard, to judge from what I've seen. 
I just don't want to ride with pairs who don't ride at the same standard, irrespective of which way around it is, because I know how it ends. 
Medium term it seems to me that such pairs are heading for trouble. The better partner has to settle for pootling around, or just give the sport up. The same is true of most other sports which require significant skill - windsurfing, climbing, caving. Usually they try the "pootling" thing for a while and then give up. My advice: the partner who rides should just give up the sport if they can't bear to be away from their partner. The other way around doesn't usually work. 
Riding with someone else's partner on the other hand can be a delight. philwig 

I've skied with a couple where one half who was perfectly capable has just ended up freezing and being unable to move at more than a snail's pace, resulting in an escort from the mountain by patrol. All because the other half had taken them where they perceived they didn't like, even though, ovjectively, it was identical to other places they'd skied perfectly happily all day. Couple psychology is weird. To be honest I was tempted to ditch the pair of them that day. fatbob

Being in the mountains can be so tortuous at times with partners and great on other occasions. I'm blessed in that my other half will bow out if she can sense my frustration at seeing untracked going begging and maybe a tad demanding to reach, again the red mist scenario. 
However, I love ski touring with her as she's pretty damn fit at climbing so no issue in waiting around - and after climbing for 1000m you do tend to take your time on the descent and not get so wound up as to where to get the next stash of fresh, because you know once down that's often it for the day.
There is a core group of around eight of us (male), out of the eight two of the partners are good off piste skiers and will do most things. However, we still do our 'boys' weeks because both of the partners know they would not be up to it or we'd allow them to come out with us on the last day, maybe.
It's not a sexist thing, if one of our group was a female and could hack the conditions then fine. I've had my legs ripped off on more than a couple of occasions by the wives of some Swedish guide mates. Weathercam

It depends entirely on the persons involved. I was taught to ski by an ex-girlfriend (not an ex through any clash of minds in skiing but through other circumstance) and it was no hassle at all. She was patient, I listened, she'd been skiing since she could crawl; she discovered I had quite possibly more natural ability than she did and it all was fine. She was, however, and no doubt still is, a much better skier than I will ever be, but then she lives in mountains and I live in a flat village in England. It was never a problem - I loved the challenge of keeping up.

Teach my wife? Not a hope in hell. Reasons? Easy: 
1) No possibility of annoying the hell out of each other when it's not going well - let someone else deal with that. 
2) She'd learn quicker with a better, more professional instructor than I am.
3) She'd listen to an instructor more than me. 
4) She can have a laugh learning with no fear of looking silly in front of me because she can’t do something she feels she ought to be able to (in her culture, this is a big no-no). I'll have a laugh skiing and we'll have a laugh together when she can string a few turns together and get down an easy red – doesn’t matter if she comes a cropper once she's got the hang of it a bit, cos she's already skiing then. 
5) I cant afford a divorce ! austin7

Encourage? Nope. She'd have to be into it already or, at least, previously keen on the idea of trying. If they're not interested in the activity I'm probably not going to be interested in them. thedrewski

I have taught two partners to ski and the first split was for other reasons. I quite enjoy the challenge. I was tested, however, with the second as on the first trip, sharp peaks of Chamonix above in the morning, she shouted at the top of her voice (that loud the life attendant 200 yards away looked up) while she was curled up in a huddle in a blizzard in the afternoon: 'get me off this f*****g mountain. NOW'. To which I explained we would have to ski down to...pointing to the bemused lift attendant.

That was 10 years ago. I tried to teach her to snowboard instead the next year but those damn drag lifts on the nursery slope weren't co-operative. Tried paying for lessons but that did not work, so I cut my losses and hired some blades, then short skis, then daily a bit longer. By the end of the week she had forgotten all that snowplough c**p and has parallel skied ever since. She does the whole range of pistes and mogul skis the severe blacks like Le Face, Val d'Isere.

I cannot persuade her off-piste, however, and have now bought a mono so that we are at a similar speed. The challenge continues, though, as it is my passion - a bit like warm summer holidays are hers, which I detest, so it's fair swap given my arm twisting for skiing holidays every Christmas. sahsah

I taught OH how to ski. I had two weeks advantage. She is still with me. We didn't argue.  I think it depends on your relationship. Both people need to be able to separate their normal lives from the short space of time where one is 'better' than the other and realise that it isn't personal. I see it with my kids, as well. Older one gets emotional when I point out that she is doing something wrong. Younger one accepts it and asks how to fix it.

I taught OH how to drive when she was 17 and how to ride a motorbike the following year. We will never agree on who is the better driver, but she can completely cane me on any motorbike. I don't feel like my manhood is at stake. I think if your relationship might suffer because one partner can't accept that they aren't better at everything than the other, it is probably doomed anyway. (Take ironing as an example).

We ski together most of the time (and have similar ability now after a pile of lessons). I am probably more adventurous, so if I want to have a go at something and she doesn't we go our own ways. No arguments, no pressure. Thornyhill

When I took my boyfriend home for the first time, almost the first question my Mum and Dad (ski nuts) put to him was 'Do you ski?’. (He had been once with his school so he said ‘yes’ and I was allowed to marry him a few years later). My sister's boyfriend had to answer ‘no’ ( or rather ‘not yet’) and so he went off to a dry slope and learnt.

For our first few holidays together my OH and I both went to ski school - he to learn, and I to find like-minded people of similar standard to ski with. All of my class was 'other halves' of beginners/intermediates for several years running - fun and sociable for both of us, skiing with people at the same level and, also, with each other after lessons. You don't have to spend every minute together. snowyowl 

Mrs T and I did this: She did beginner/intermediate classes and I did 'Ski Elite'. Unfortunately the others in Ski Elite were hardly elite and when it came to powder, the instructor took us in it just for the rest of the class to fall on the first couple of turns and declare they didn't want to go there again.  Later I would find the T club rep with no other clients so we would find something silly to do. 

Unfortunately, Mrs T has never wanted to go beyond easy red runs. One of my 14 year olds with slight cerebral palsy has now said she does not want to ski anymore, which is sad, as the last time she skied she was really coming on well, skiing independently, getting down the mountain without additional help. Her twin sister is even more cautious than her mum and has some knee problems. 

My last hope is my six year old who was skiing down the mountain at four, looks a natural on skis and at most other activities she tries. It looks like it could be just me and the little one in future as the rest of the family want summer holidays in the sun. tangowaggon 

If you both ski then ski together. Your OH is also a friend (honest, not another species) and, just like skiing with any other friend, you have to adapt a bit to what you both like. Unless you are a raving expert and a total beginner you can always find some common ground. We both learned to ski before we met and ski mostly together. I am more likely to do an early morning raid to Glencoe on my own but that is willingness to be driving at 6am on a Saturday not ski ability. 

This applies to teaching any skill of any sort. My wife tried to teach me to dance and still bears the scars  Col the Yeti 

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