I was 19, brash and the proud owner of a deep goggle tan. I spent my days strapped to a snowboard hurling myself off jumps, obsessed by feelings of midair weightlessness. I also wasn’t weighed down by a boyfriend that year in Breckenridge—not to say I wasn’t looking. My list of criteria contained multiple shallow attributes, and the deal breaker was this: He absolutely, unequivocally, had to be a good snowboarder. The rest I could take or leave, but the good snowboarder peg was non-negotiable. I figured someone who was smooth on the hill would likely be stylish and witty off the hill, too.
Breckenridge is a small town, and all the snowboarders who rode the half-pipe knew one another, at least by sight. That’s how I knew of Craig. He was nice. He was also cute, beneath the goggles and hat. And…he could do 720-degree spins midair, landing with his board firmly beneath his feet. Float effortlessly off the biggest gap jumps in the park. Turn rodeo flips in the half-pipe with a distinctive style. In short, he was a good snowboarder.
A week later he asked me on a date. And I was right: His attitude on the slopes—creative, daring, yet always composed and in control—translated almost exactly to his relationship style. He’d be quick to whisk us away in his little car on road trips to punk concerts, or to attempt to cook “exotic” meals such as pad thai (with abominable results). He introduced me to new indie bands. He made me artsy cards.
Eventually I left the mountains, but not without Craig. And those traits that I first admired in him on his snowboard? They’re still part of why I love my husband today.—Kari, 33/female/straight/married/Ukrainian Village