I was 18, a senior in high school, when I learned how to ski. My boyfriend at the time was an instructor at Kissing Bridge, and also worked in the ski shop there. By that time, we had already been dating for a couple winters, and he would hound me through the snowy months to join him on the slopes. I finally decided if I wanted to see him during ski season, I would have to learn how to ski. I convinced my best friend to join me. I clearly remember being on the bunny hill with my boyfriend skiing backwards holding my skis together at the tips until I felt comfortable. When I learned on that KB bunny hill, I also had to master the tow rope, which presented its own challenge. As of this season, KB has installed a magic carpet on that slope, which I would say is the best invention ever for a beginner hill.

It didn’t take too long before I graduated to the big hills. Sure, I fell getting off the lift a few times. OK, maybe I fell getting on to the lift on occasion. And yes, maybe I skied straight into one of those orange snow fences once. But it was fun! And if you’re with the right people, those are the moments that you can laugh at…even if they hurt a little, too. The point is, I learned something new that brought me closer to people I cared about.

January is National Learn a Snowsport month. Whether you’re 18 like I was, a little kid who hasn’t even been walking long, or retired and looking for ways to spend your free time, skiiing and snowboarding open so many new doors for winter fun. Head to one of our area ski resorts, purchase a beginner package that includes everything you need (lift ticket, rentals, lessons) and learn with other people who are in the same boat. You won’t regret it.

These days, I ski every week through the winter. I like the fresh air and the chance to enjoy winter instead of hiding from it. Plus, I like that I get to spend that time sharing adventures with my two daughters, and also with that old boyfriend of mine—who is now my husband.