A forced march may be my most effective pre-season training.

While it wasn’t really forced, our hilly, eight day walk in the Dordogne region of France was a delightful, though at times strenuous, way to get in better shape.

After a few days in the 90s, temps dropped to the 60s; perfect for our daily 6-8 hours on narrow roads and even narrower farm lanes. We purchased the trip from Utracks, which arranged for our bags to be moved to the small hotels they had booked along the way. Their maps and directions were okay, not wonderful, and they neglected to inform us of an app that tracks your movement along the trails, helping to prevent numerous wrong turns from following the directions they supplied. That said, every hotel was spotless and the meals (included in the package), outstanding.

This is the land of ducks, geese, truffles, and cheese. Every place we stayed served it fresh from the area and beautifully prepared. No caloric guilt after all that walking. The last day, we took a car part way, walked seven miles, then canoed the final leg down the Dordogne River to another tiny town and our hotel. We had zig-zagged about 70 miles; the ride back to where we left the car was about 20 minutes.

Next time I trek will be closer to the season.

The Dordogne also contains the Vézère Valley, one of the world centers of prehistory. Among the 147 sites is Lascaux, the cave network whose walls are lined with glorious depictions of animals. These masterpieces were created 20,000 years ago. The original cave is off limits, but, in typical French fashion, it is beautifully exhibited in a precise underground copy; the centerpiece of a large, modern museum dedicated to this exceptional discovery. Other sites, including the comprehensive National Museum of Prehistory are scattered throughout the valley. If contemplating a visit to Vézère Valley, it’s best to decide an itinerary and purchase tickets in advance, especially for the more highly visited sites.

Aspen/KSL/Intrawest/Mammoth

A new 800-pound gorilla is about to enter the room. Last week, Aspen Skiing Co., KSL Capital Partners, Intrawest, and Mammoth Resorts closed on the deal announced in April. The new entity has 12 resorts including Aspen, Mammoth, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Steamboat, Winter Park, Stratton, and Mt. Tremblant. It also includes heli operator, Canadian Mountain Holidays. Total terrain (CMH excluded) is 20,000 acres. Total annual skier visits: 6 million. Vail Resorts is the other 800-pound gorilla. What does this consolidation mean for senior skiers? Stay tuned.

Ski Younger Now

Ski Younger Now is a retraining program for older skiers, and skiers returning to the sport after recovering from injury. It teaches low-impact, low-torque techniques to enable efficient skiing in all kinds of terrain. Created by SeniorsSkiing.com advisor, Seth Masia, SNY is entering its third season as a Signature Program in the Vail Village Ski School. Six 3-day sessions are scheduled for 2017-18. To sign up, download the registration form and return it to the Vail Ski and Snowboard School, call (800) 475-4543, or email Ingie Franberg, Adult Specialty Programs Manager, at ifranberg@vailresorts.com.

Climate Change Ends Summer Snow Camp

Camp of Champions, which for 28 years has been held on Whistler Blackcomb‘s Horstman Glacier has ceased operations. In a letter posted on the camp’s website, founder Ken Achenbach writes, “The predicament I find myself in is nature’s fault, not Whistler Blackcomb’s. In 2015 alone, the glacier lost 35 vertical feet of ice.” The camp required big terrain park features which could not be built due to drier snowpack. Other camps continue to use the glacier.

Outdoor Industry’s Political Activism

The outdoor industry is politically involved in saving public lands from private development as reported July 27 in The New York Times.

 

 

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