5 Adventure-Worthy Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Because flowers and chocolate just doesn’t cut it anymore—and maybe they never did.

Valentine’s Day can be a contentious holiday. Some call it a capitalistic monetization of love, others consider it a nationally sanctioned day to point out just how alone you are. Regardless, if you’re in a relationship you just might find yourself shelling out money for a last-minute bouquet of flowers or shipping a box of chocolates to your long distance love. That’s Valentine’s Day at its worst: fulfilling an obligation to drop your hard-earned cash on one of a few standard gifts peddled by massive corporations. At its best, V-day can be an opportunity to get creative and celebrate your partner just a little bigger and a little better than you do every other day of the year. So, for those of us still scrambling or scratching our heads at how to spend this February 14th, a few adventure-worthy options:

1. Snow camp and snuggle.
Like Netflix and chill for the adventurous, snow camping is a perfect excuse to get super cozy with your special someone. Sharing body heat isn’t just a euphemism here–it’s a necessity. An inexpensive (really, free) alternative to a night in a fancy hotel, a quick camp-out earns you privacy from your roommates. Earn bonus points by stringing up some romantic fairylights, splurging on that two-person sleeping pad, and zipping those sleeping bags together. Voilá: a dirtbag honeymoon suite.

2. Hop in the singles lift line.
Some ski areas organize speed-dating events on their two-seaters, but this isn’t really a strategy you need anyone to implement for you. After all, any chairlift singles line is a speed-dating event if you’re bold enough. Better yet, hit a ski hill you don’t know. Convincing a cutie to show you their favorite spot might just be the way into their heart.

3. Hit the climbing gym with your new favorite partner.
One of a few sports that naturally sets you up with a partner, climbing’s an inexpensive, low-key date that won’t strain your newfound romance like a romantic, candlelit dinner might. Giving your new sweetheart a belay and encouraging beta, all while pumping fresh adrenaline into your veins (and getting nice and stinky) is a great way to say: I trust you, I have fun with you, and I’m not going to take this holiday too seriously but I will most definitely take this tricky problem too seriously–is that ok?

4. Up the ante on the skin track.
Taking a tour with your partner may be par-for-the-course, but if the snow’s good and the time’s right, we all know you guys aren’t going to miss those sweet, stable turns while the gettin’s good. So grab your bigger pack, toss a bottle of wine and a couple (ideally non-glass) wine glasses, some charcuterie, a cutting board, and maybe a couple Crazy Creeks in there. Better yet, hit your favorite spot with that sweet afternoon golden light and catch the sunset and alpenglow. Just don’t forget your headlamps.

5. Give the gift of adventure.
One year for Christmas, my super-awesome boyfriend gifted me an AIARE Avalanche 1 Course. It was an incredible gift, not just because it was something I’d wanted to do forever and didn’t quite have the funds to make happen, but because it showed that he knew I cared about getting out there and getting after it, and that he was behind that 100%. The thing is, you don’t have to give an expensive certification course to send that same message. Get your hands on permits for a Mt. St. Helens spring-ski, or maybe even a weekend at Havasupai Falls, wrap ’em up with a bow, and let your partner know you’ve got your priorities straight.

Photo by Alexander Baranov.

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