I recently took the family skiing for the first time. Living where I do, you don’t typically get to go skiing. It was a grand adventure, but as I started learning how to ski, all I could think about was the parallels to MRP, and boy, were there a lot of them!
“It’s going to suck if you’re out of shape”
Skiing is a physical activity, and you need to be in shape to really enjoy it. Similarly, for your MAP, get to your normal BMI first, then start working hard to lower your BF% and gain muscle. Why do we say that lifting is the first thing you do. Get a gym membership and go work out.
“Don’t go Rambo”
I had never skied before in my life. So I get there, I do a lesson, learn how to pizza, French fry, stop, and turn. Do I think that I’m ready for a black diamond? Hell no. Green slopes all the way, with some blue after I did a day’s worth of green slopes. I saw a six year old doing high speed double black diamond runs over and over (turns out he’s been skiing since the age of 3, more than a few times with custom equipment – someone has wealthy parents). It is very easy to think “YEAH I GOT THIS” and do stuff out of order. It’s very easy to compare yourself to others and not calibrate for your own situation. Let the people who have been skiing forever do their thing. You do you.
Also, Don’t. Go. Rambo. Just don’t. Simple baby steps. Make small changes. Don’t go beyond where you need to be. Guidelines say one month per level of dread – but remember those are just guidelines. It might take you two months, or three, or even more to get the first level.
“Turn right to go left”
When I first heard how you turn, I thought I was in the Cars movie. Turn right to go left.
Turns out you need to push off your right foot to go left, and lean to the left. Didn’t make a lot of sense at first, but after a while I got the hang of it. A lot of the things here at MRP seem to not make a lot of sense at first. ”Wait, you mean I can say no to my wife?!?” Yes, you can say no, and not feel guilty about it. Someone should write a book, I tell ya.
There’s a lot of paradoxes here: “Always initiate” vs “Don’t reward bad behavior”. Dealing with shit tests vs comfort tests – you have to recognize that these are all tools. Choose the right tool for the right situation. You can use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, but boy, it’s going to suck. And ABC - Always Be Calibrating!
“If you lose control, you’re going to get hurt”
Over the course of the day there were a ton of people who were hurt, and being hauled out by the ski patrol and into ambulances. I saw someone wipe out in front of me and scream out in pain as I was going down the mountain. As a beginner, I thought, oh shit. It’s important to take this stuff seriously. Athletic stance, check. Center of gravity forward, check. Going too fast? Slow that shit down – go side to side, bigger pizza. Remain in control.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to go slow and remain in control for your own MAP. Don’t let the anger phase gain control. Don’t do anything stupid (one of my most common forms of advice here). If you lose control, you’re going to get hurt, and not just butthurt.
“Proper planning prevents poor performance”
I can’t tell you how many hours I spent researching the ski locations, figuring out what we need, getting the tickets and boots and helmets all figured out – it’s important to have a plan. Same with your work on the sidebar, in the gym, and with your wife. You have to have a plan. Don't be spreadsheet guy, but have a plan.
I love it when a plan comes together.
“Have fun with it”
Skiing is supposed to be fun. There’s a rush in going down a mountain at high speed, and feeling like a badass doing it. It’s also fun when you game your wife. Let’s rephrase: It SHOULD be fun when you game your wife. Have fun with it. Fun is missing out of so many MAPs. There are a ton of guys who just go and lift and forget to have fun with their wives.
Have fun, enjoy the rush.
Bonus Commentary: I saw a dad yelling at his 4 year old on skis, like really yelling and making a scene. The 4 year old was just a beginner. All I could think about was JBP’s comment that you never should make your kids do something that would make you hate them.
Post below your tips on ski vacations, skiing, and other suggestions for trips to take the family away.