A Small Area Enchants Seniors, Offering Bargain Skiing In Big Powder.

Mt. Baldy is small but powdery and friendly. Credit: Mt. Baldy
Mt. Baldy is small but powdery, friendly and inexpensive.
Credit: Mt. Baldy

Editor Note: This review was written by Jim Barber, a long time skier and ski business veteran.  He lives near Mt. Baldy and loves his retirement home in BC.  Here’s his story:  “My wife and I started our life together in the ski shop business at Hunter Mountain N.Y. in the seventies. We helped Lloyd Lambert set up the Hunter Mt Ski museum and the first 70 plus ski club.  We have no kids by choice so we have had plenty of time and money to ski all over North America. We moved to Washington state and got married in the late seventies. I worked for Weyerhaeuser in forestry research and my wife Marian taught Special Ed in a juvenile  institution. We knew we wanted to semi retire to a ski hill and the rest is history. Today our two homes are 40 miles apart in two different countries.”

Mt. Baldy Ski Resort is in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan, just over forty miles from Washington State and the Canadian border. We found it fifteen years ago while on a skifari to find out were wanted to spend our senior skiing years. We found it at Mt. Baldy, the last ski area we thought we would end up at after skiing at many ski mountains across North America.  We moved here from upstate New York’s Hunter Mountain.

 Mt. Baldy started in late 60s as a Cat skiing site. Soon, a t-bar was added and Mt. Baldy started to grow. It has the highest base elevation—5,800 feet—with all natural BC powder.  No snow making is needed here! Cat skiing without the cat!  One thing that sold us on Baldy was the number of seniors that own cabins and ski here. When we first started skiing here, there was a 90-year-old snow boarder. Need I say more?

We have two near by towns—Oliver and Osoyoos—with ample lodging and restaurants. There are countless vineyards in this region boasting BC wines. Oliver’s motto is “Wine Capital of BC.” If you love golf, you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon. On the mountain, there are cabins to rent and the Honky Tonk Hotel. There’s a ski rental shop and a great ski school. The lodge has a full cafeteria and upstairs is the infamous Baldy Bar and restaurant, staffed by top chefs from the wineries.  Baldy is a little out of the way, but if you are on a ski trip through the great Northwest, stop by a ski resort were everyone will show you their secret powder stashes, and you are valued and respected for being a senior skier/snowboarder.

 There is no rush at Baldy and no lift lines. No high speed lifts, because you need the time on the lift to rest and meet the locals. Eventually, everyone at Baldy becomes a local. Baldy is what skiing used to be and still should be.  That’s why workers from other resorts ski at Baldy on their days off.

Snow and Terrain:  This small area—there are only two major lifts—boasts of boundless powder, a meteorological fact of life in southern BC. There were 13 meters of natural snow on Mt. Baldy in the 2015-16 season. The mountain has 500 acres of skiable terrain with a total of 22 runs with something for every skill level. The Eagle Chair base is at 5,650-ft. above ski level, the highest base altitude of any resort in Canada. There’s also a terrain park.

Culture: Super friendly, lots of seniors, instant friendships and acceptance.  Less glitzy areas like Mt. Baldy breed great skiing relationships. Lots of slope-side accommodations make easy access. New owners have big plans for the helping Mt. Baldy achieve its potential.

Bottom Line:  We saved the best for last. Seniors ski for $19 a day, and guess what?  You can by a Season Pass for the same price.  Yup.  $19. That’s. A. Bargain. The season starts on Dec 1, 2016 and goes until mid-late April.

Trail Map: Click here for Mt. Baldy trail map.

Here’s a 2010 video of First Tracks on Mt. Baldy on a powder day.  Check the music and the skier whooping it up.

5 Comments

  1. How old is a senior?60, 65???

  2. John Dimma says:

    Really enjoyed the article by James Barber and especially the video.
    John D

  3. Wayne Eyres says:

    Is this ski pass for senior still available

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