When your love life is mainly flirting on chairlifts at the slopes, how do you navigate dating when quarantine ruins all your go-to moves? Ski instructor Rouchelle reflects on love, dating, and pursuing the outdoorsy type in the city.
From Mountain Tops to Pandemic Lows
One moment you’re a cool mountain girl living your best life, dating cool mountain guys. Next, a global pandemic hits and you have to jump on a plane home to Australia without knowing when you’ll be back in the mountains again. I know, privileged problems, right?
Very early in my separation from mountain life, I joked with friends about how this was going to impact my dating life. Never mind the pandemic putting a halt to my career.
As a ski instructor in her 20s, living season to season, my dating life’s been as unpredictable as the weather in the Australian Alps. From seasonal flings, trying to make long distance relationships work, to being completely swept up in romance. The jokes about ski instructors and dating are generally true – when the snow melts, hearts break.
Truth is, chairlifts are the dating apps of the mountains. You’re always meeting new people, and you usually have something in common with the person next to you on the lift. You’re both into snow, up for adventure, and talking about the weather is an actual thing – conditions are key!
But take me out of the mountains and remarking ‘What a beautiful bluebird day’ to a stranger doesn’t really cut it in an urban bar. If you can find one open in a pandemic.
So, who’s a ski instructor supposed to date when they’re not in the mountains?
Do dating apps do the trick?
Sure, dating apps seem like the most convenient place to find a romantic liaison or someone to take long walks on the beach with. But city dwellers speak about different things to the ski-bums I usually converse with.
They talk about reps at the gym, corporate life, and living for the weekend, instead of how much vert they ski in a day or their plans of wanderlust van life. Yes, this is a generalisation.
In search of the free-spirited vibe of mountain guys I came up with a strategy – swipe right for dudes who look like they have hobbies other than going to the pub (it’s a pretty common theme!). Usually surfers, in hope they’re the coastal version of the mountain guys I’d been missing. After all, surfers have a similar connection to nature, it’s just more of a summer version.
Read more: Surfing Slang 101
I’m yet to test my theories about the stereotypical profile of a surfer on a real life date. Although so far, the conversations I’ve had have a better vibe than people who put up a series of mirror selfies. No real surprise there.
Dating apps are a very superficial way of judging people. It can be hard to predict vibes through a phone, and you pretty quickly establish a few key factors that are hard nos.
‘Aww he has a nice smile, look at those abs, oh no, he’s holding a fish. Byeeeeeee!’
The Troubles of Mountain Love
Dating in a mountain town sits differently, and usually you’re friends before there’s a romantic interest. The bond is connected through a love of skiing, snowboarding, nature or partying, and socially everyone is intertwined.
Jumping into a new dating pool out of the friendship bubble of mountain life is scary and unknown after so many years spent in remote mountain locations. But there’s significantly less chance of dating my best friend’s ex.
Because in a mountain town nearly everyone’s dated everyone else, and if your new crush hasn’t dated your best friend, maybe they’ll date her after you. Things can get awkward.
Still Searching For Stoke
This has become my life, searching for stoke, sweating through the Australian heat, running to the beach every moment I can, picking up random sports, and talking to the cute surfer guys.
This isn’t even about dating; it’s about hanging out with new like-minded people and the search to find them away from mountain life.
Read more: How To Have Sex in The Bush
For a skier or snowboarder, the lifestyle is ingrained, it can be hard to be attracted to someone who doesn’t ski or snowboard. But maybe if I catch one of these cute surfer guys, I’ll drag them to the mountains and teach them to ski. Win-Win! Summer and winter buddy sorted. One can dream.
Feature photo thanks to @timclark1