Taken by John Atkinson

Learn to Love Solo Skiing and Riding

I’m going to shamelessly admit that I am a sucker for New Year’s Resolutions. I love a fresh start. And I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the beginning of this year hit differently. When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I felt myself take a big sigh of relief.

2020 taught me that plans change, and not a whole lot can be predicted. So, I’ve found comfort in focusing on the things that I can actually control. When trying to construct my resolutions list, I thought about the things I’m passionate about, and one of the things I love the most is Vermont. Knowing that, I thought about the best way to show appreciation to my home state and concluded it was getting outside and enjoying it! Thus, my number one 2021 Resolution was born. I made it a goal to get outside for at least twenty minutes, five days a week.

I’ve already had to get a bit creative with how I get outside. So far it’s been a decent amount of walking, I shoveled snow in my condo parking lot one day, and I just got myself a split board, so I’m excited to take that out on a few backcountry adventures this winter! I’m new to the backcountry scene, so if you want to share some secret spots or tips, I’m all ears. But, as you can assume, my favorite way to get outside is snowboarding. Hands down. However, I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to motivate myself to get out alone. I’m a social person. I enjoy doing activities with others, so when it comes to gearing up and walking up to the hill by myself, I sometimes get in my own way.

With the state of the world, socializing has been a bit more limited. I have realized that my choices are to either get out of my own way and ride by myself, or not go at all. And frankly, the latter just isn’t an option. With all of this being said, I’m learning to really enjoy being out on the mountain by myself. If you’re skeptical, I want to share some ways to help you embrace your solo adventures.

Document Your Days

I like to take pictures of my solo days to remember what the snow was like and what runs I did. It’s nice to have a visual representation of where you adventured to. And if you aren’t able to be with your friends or family, you might as well show them what you’re up to! As someone that lives pretty far from her parents, I love to send them shots that I’ve taken out on the slopes so they can get a glimpse of what my day looked like.

Take a Break from Your Phone

Obviously your cell phone is important to have on you while you ski/ride by yourself for safety reasons, but nothing is quite as peaceful as a solo chairlift ride. I often find myself getting way too distracted with social media during my down time on the lift, so I’ve actively been stashing it away (after a quick photo or two) to take in the views and enjoy what surrounds me. Plus my hands stay way warmer that way! The sounds of the chairs spinning, skiers and riders below you… It’s a lot to take in. And you’ll miss some of it if you’re in “phone land” as I like to call it.

Find the Views

Nothing clears my head from its normal clutter more than stunning views. On the days that I need a mental reset or break, I head right up the Heaven’s Gate lift. Looking out over Organgrinder down onto the resort never ceases to stop me in my tracks. What else is there to focus on when you’ve got blue skies and snowy trails expanding around you?

Remember, You’re on Your Own Time

Skiing with friends and family is fun, don’t get me wrong. But having only yourself to get ready for the mountain, and then deciding which trails and lifts you want to take has its perks. I’m not much of a planner anyway, but if you are, take advantage of being alone and don’t plan your day. Legs feeling tired? Take an easier way down. Feeling up to a challenge? Head to a harder trail. Getting hungry? Open your Sugarbush App, order some food, and enjoy it! I personally recommend the Grain Bowl from Castlerock Pub and the Mac and Cheese Bites if you are feeling extra hungry.

Of course, if you’re skiing by yourself please be safe. The Sugarbush App is a great place to get access to mountain resources right at your fingertips including trail maps, lift status updates, and a handy contact list (including Emergency Dispatch). If solo adventuring still isn’t your thing, one of my other New Year’s Resolutions is to become a morning person. Until I’m able to motivate myself to hit the 8am Green Mountain Express chair over at Mt. Ellen, you can catch me for a few socially distanced runs during lunchtime on midweek days. See you out there!

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