Instead of making a New Year’s resolution you know you’ll never keep, commit to something you can really get excited about: Have more fun on skis or a board.
It’s our favorite resolution because it makes improvement almost inevitable. Resolve to have more fun, and you’re all but guaranteed to improve your skiing and riding skills, up your experience level, and get out more in 2021.
We polled the Bluebird Backcountry crew—a stacked team of lifelong skiers, splitboarders, and powder hounds—for their best tips. Here are our favorites for having more fun on the slopes and making 2021 your best year of skiing or riding yet.
1. Play Hooky on a Powder Day.
The best way to have more fun on skis or a board? Make it feel just a little more badass. “Play hooky from work at least once,” recommends Bluebird team member and photographer Doug McLennan. Get in the habit of tracking upcoming storms on a weather app like OpenSnow, and treat yourself to a sick day the next time your favorite spots get a few inches of fresh.
2. Up Your Snack Game.
You’re a grownup now, and it’s time to start snacking like one. “Stop bringing along that same stale Clif bar that’s been getting smushed in the brain of your pack for the last 3 seasons,” says Bluebird’s brand and marketing guru Emma Walker. “Bring food you’ll actually eat (and enjoy), and you’ll be amazed how much better your days on the skintrack feel!” Need some suggestions? Check out our list of the all-time best backcountry touring snacks.
3. Set a Crazy Goal.
Maybe it’s skinning 30,000 feet of vertical gain over the season, or finishing a skimo race [[link to cripple creek race]]. Maybe it’s sending your favorite run in a prom dress. Regardless, it’ll motivate you to get outside your comfort zone. Here’s a great one to start with: “Ski every run on the mountain—you’ll be sure to find some surprises!” suggests Bluebird volunteer and Jill-of-all-trades Sara Higgins.
4. Get Out with Different Partners.
Life is just better with more adventure buddies. “Plan outings with friends of different abilities levels—people you can learn from and people you can teach,” says Bluebird partnership wrangler Laura Hansen. You’ll pick up a lot of tips from following a master’s lines. Conversely, teaching a newbie is a great way to refresh your own memory on the basics.
5. Invest in Yourself with a Lesson or Course
There’s no getting around it: Sports are more fun when you know what you’re doing. So take a little cash out of your self-care budget and buy yourself a movement skills lesson and/or an avalanche course to boost your confidence on the mountain.
6. Start Tracking Your Backcountry Days.
Data nerds, this one’s for you. Try an app like Strava or Gaia GPS and start recording your mileage, vertical gain, and touring loops. Not techy? Just start counting your days out. If by March you find you’ve reached 9 backcountry days, you might just feel motivated enough to squeeze in an even 10. If not? That’s OK, too—you’ll have a great benchmark for any goal-setting next year.
7. Check the Avalanche Forecast Every Day.
You don’t need a new year to start making this one a habit. Checking the local avalanche forecast only takes a few minutes, and it can make a huge difference in your personal safety. And, of course, we recommend getting as much avalanche safety education as you can.
After all, the best way to truly guarantee a good backcountry day is to make sure you’re down safe in time for beers.