Skiing and riding with your buddies can be one of the most rewarding activities out there, as few things match the stoke shared when high-fiving at the bottom after a run of hip-high blower pow, or once your friend finally lands that elusive backflip. But many people get sucked into the routine of always accompanying someone else, missing out on the benefits of taking a solo day. Here are six reasons why you should go at it alone next time:
If you woke up after 11:00, got to the mountain at 12:30, and all the freshies vanished -the only person to blame- is yourself. Committing to a solitary day puts you completely in control, and therefore at fault. Since no one can hold you back with their lost gear and missed alarms, try getting out much earlier than you normally would. When I’m alone, I always go for first chair. It makes my riding day feel that much longer, and well, first tracks. Need I say more? Set the alarm for 6:30 am, and get moving.
2. Go Where You Want
When you’re riding alone, you get to call the shots. Whoops, you were feeling it on that last lap and accidentally skipped the chair you were supposed to take? Since you’re a single, instead of missing five phone calls from your now-seething friends who thought you were dead, you just hopped on another lift. No big deal.
Or, you just had the best run of your life, but your companion despises moguls, so they are making you move on. Nope, this time it’s all you, so repeat it as many times as you want. When I’m solo, I don’t even make a plan. I just float down, following what I feel like doing at that exact moment and seeing where the fall line takes me.
3. Try Something New
Nobody likes being the last one to the chair and making everyone wait for them. This competitive environment, as subtle as it may be, discourages riders from trying things that would normally slow them down. If I don’t have to keep up with someone, I’m experimenting. I’m working on my butters, perfecting my carves, or better yet, I’m riding switch. It’s unbelievable how much you can progress when you aren’t going hyper speed down a groomer, and instead attempt to nail that nose press 15 times on a run.
4. Break When You Want
Riding alone means you control the clock. Instead of busting down that mogul field and risking a bad fall because you can barely keep your fatigued legs upright, sit at the top, and wait until you are ready. And don’t be afraid to go into the lodge to use the bathroom, rather than risking frostbite just so your friends don’t have to wait as long. Or stop to grab a drink of water before you pass out, guilt-free. These are all boons of riding alone.
5. New Perspective
When you’re looking for your friends’ tracks like a heat seeking missile, you happen to miss a lot of other features and lines. Without someone leading, you might find a sweet new side hit on your favorite run that you never noticed or you might stare out and revel in pristine mountain wilderness that surrounds all the Colorado resorts. I’m always surprised at how differently I look at my environment and at the new ways I ride the mountain when focal point isn’t fixed on following my friends.
6. Singles Line
Debatably the best part of being alone is the coveted singles line. Slip beyond the crowd and exponentially cut your wait time, attracting the eyes of the envious onlookers. The most crowded of days feels much less so when you do not have to stand in line. Another plus – riding the lift can be beyond therapeutic when your only job is enjoying the vista- and not listening to your friend complain about their cold toes.
Singles line allows more time for this.
Solo days feel completely different from a normal outing with friends. Less waiting, no guilt, and you get to dictate where and when. Give it a try next time, because it will provide you with a new way of enjoying the mountains.