Stanley and Son on DH course

Having celebrated my 80th birthday in November, 2022, I guess I’m an old skier, not just a senior skier. It was the pandemic which stopped me from skiing in 2020 and 2021, not age.

In January, 2020, I skied a week in Chamonix, and then the pandemic nixed my downhill program for the remainder of the 2020 season, along with the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Now I’m back on skis, older than I was, and noticing a few things which have become apparent in two years of not skiing.

Flat light and white-outs

These never bothered me much before, but now I’m paying a lot more attention to seeing the piste I’m skiing. Finding the right goggles to accommodate my eyeglasses has become an issue.

As an older skier, make sure you’re seeing the piste with all its contours and changing snow conditions. Get new goggles if you have to.

A bag can save your knees

Walking around in ski boots won’t help your arthritic knees. Minimize the distances you walk in ski boots, get a good sized back pack and carry your ski boots to the base lodge or lift station.

Senior skiers also should consider so-called “cat tracks”, which are rubberized soles that slip over the bottom of your boots.  They cushion your walk on hard surfaces while protecting you from slipping and sliding, and also saving both your knees and wearing down your boot heel.

Looking for a nice place to ski?

Find the pistes where the racers train or race and ski there, or on an adjoining parallel piste.

Race courses and training pistes have the best slopes, not agonizingly steep with no long flat sections, pure skiing!

Use the best equipment to maximize enjoyment.

If you are renting equipment, take skis that are appropriate for your level of skiing and make sure the ski edges are properly prepared to minimize “sliding” around.

Use boots which are not too soft. You want the pressure transferred to your skis and not absorbed by boots.

If you’re using your own equipment, prepare the edges at least once a week, or after 3-5 ski days, and more often if you are skiing on artificial snow and/or ice.


You can’t really ski well unless you can FLEX.  Always stretch before your first run.

Stretch your calves and quads, which work so hard during a downhill day.

Stretch your arms, because you might be skating and poling for a stretch of flat terrain.


  1. Pamela Weisberg says:

    Wonderful. My husband Jon , who was the founder of Seniosskiing hoped to ski at 80 and older. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Enjoy every moment.

  2. Richard Dvorchak says:

    Some good tips there. Thanks. I ski Loveland in Colorado. Also the authors age. I have been skiing since the 60’s. Noticed the flat light days are hard, even with different lenses. Bought new HEAD ski boots this season. What a positive difference.

  3. Anita Suski says:

    Your advise is great. I live in Rochester, NY & grew up near Hobart College. I started skiing at the age of 40 at Bristol Mtn. I still enjoy skiing and will be 72 in May. I belong to an area ski club & our oldest member is 93 and she bought new skis this year at Sunday River Maine. So keep skiing

  4. Hey Stanley,
    Lots of good advice…would only add one strategic thought: in terms of trail selection, be most aggressive in late morning after warming up. And after lunch, go out in search of groomers and cruisers

  5. Håkan Hellstrand says:

    Re. flat light and white-outs. Anyone that finds goggles that solves this problem please, please let us know. Utah this year was/is Winter Wonderland with more than 11 meter of snow and still counting. The daily snow, however, made it real hard to see what was coming in front of you. Fortunately, when I was there, it was mostly powder and you skied right through it.

    • I struggled with flat light for years. I’m 73. My closest ski hill is notorious for it and “hard pack.” Aka ice. Cataract surgery has been a godsend. I can now pick up the subtle changes in surface elevations even in the shadows. Check with your eye doctor.

  6. Ronald Goldstein says:

    Stay on the bump runs! That’s the safest place for us seniors. Fewer skiers there. And it minimizes the chances for unanticipated collisions with the zoomers flying down the hill.

    • My bump run quota is one per day, and then I need oxygen. But, I’m an Eastern skier and don’t get much practice on them. Also, we’ve seen barely enough snow this year to keep moguls alive.

  7. Lots of good advice but I would add one tip for improving warm ups. By all means stretch out before skiing, but you don’t want to stretch cold muscles. Get a bit of a sweat going first. If you have completed a vigorous walk from your car before you stretch your muscles will thank you for it.

    • Another hint: Avoid crowded resorts and slopes. I got more injuries getting hit by novice skiers and snowboarders in past months than past 45 yrs. I feel safer and get more pleasure ski touring in remote high mountains and steep gullies than crowded slopes(as you have pointed out).

  8. Richard Kavey says:

    Stanley, Would love to hear about your experiences skiing in Israel. If I’m correct there’s a ski area on the Golan Heights. Thanks for your thoughtful article on protecting our bodies as we ski at advanced age – no novices we! And a shout out to the great Junior Bonous who’s still tipping and ripping at 97!

    • You’re right Richard. Mt. Hermon on the Golan Heights has a 500 meter vertical. In the 1970’s and 80″s you could count on a season or 60-70 skiing days. But with climate change that’s all gone and now they are lucky if they get 10 skiing days a year. But if you catch a good day after a snow storm it’s awesome.

  9. Hello to Stanley and all senior skiers in the States from senior ski and snow lovers in Greece. Don’t call yourself an old skier. In my ski club in Athens, Greece we have active skiers 85-87 years old. Thanks for your advice

  10. Colin Pidd says:

    Inspiring and common sense smart (as they say – common sense is rarely common practice!).
    Thanks Stanley and congratulations on showing that age is no barrier to joy.
    Another thought is that as we age our feet get wider so find a good boot fitter to punch out your boots a little to prevent blisters and corns.

  11. Tony Natella says:

    Stan ,
    Loved your article, thank you.
    77 lots of medical issues only skied 20 and 22 missed 6 previous years, brain virus coma like state 2.5 months
    and 3 cardiac catheterizations in 9 months this year but I can’t wait im getting stronger every day.
    See you out there!
    My tip I ski every day brushing my teeth and shaving and my quads burn just like skiing. Feet 5 inches apart drop into a squat like you’re skiing. Lock the hip and absolutely still upper body swing those knee back and forth till they burn 100-200. Then go to GS turns using your hips and glutes and allow the quads to recover.
    It feels exactly like skiing from short swings to slow deep GS.
    Tony #1 passion

  12. Robyn Cohen says:

    Loved your message, I also was born in 1942, in Australia the season is very short, snowboards have spoilt it for skiers, I to could not go to the snow in 20 or 21 because of Covid, I like to ski slow on intermediate runs, my daughter has come with me & she does two to my one, only like mornings, did have a go on snowshoeing which was fun good to do when the weather is not good. Free skiing for over 70 is a yearly pass which goes up every year now over $200AU & we only come for a week which is not too bad. My bucket list is a white Christmas before I go to glory &, we had planned to go to Japan in 2020 Covid stopped this & now insurance is not as easy for me now I am 80. Love reading these stories , dreams are free.

  13. Bob Margulis says:

    You might want to check out SportRx. They make great prescription lense hInserts and lenses that snap into your goggles. I got mine this season and love them. No more over-glasses goggles!

  14. Scott Jimmerson says:

    At 75 ater 70 ski years, I learned something new last week. Had a pretty good cut on shin from logging right at tounge of boot. Really hurt walking across parking lot with skis. Until I undid top buckle. From now on I only walk in boots with a loose top buckle. World of difference.

  15. Also, lighter weight skis can provide a better ski experience.

  16. I have switched to Alpine touring boots. They are lighter and they unlock the hinge so that walking is much easier and comfortable.

  17. George Stanley Brown says:

    Thanks for all the tips. There is another factor that can stress older skiers: getting in and out of ski boots. I solved the getting in problem with that teflon roll advertised here. For the getting out problem I expect to go to rear entry boots. I started skiing with the Hanson rear entrys and did not know that now rear entry boots are available. Getting out of boots may force this purchase.
    G. S. Brown

    • Scott Jimmerson says:

      Hi George. I agree! getting in and out can be a pain….literally. My wife and I now use a boot bag that heats our boots. The HOT setting is best. In the car and at the motel. Getting out can still be a problem since the boots get a bit colder during the day. Gotta work on that one.

    • Rohn Jennings says:

      I found that the 3 piece “cabriolet “ style boots made all the difference in ease of putting on and taking off my ski boots . I have Roxa boots but Diabello , Dynafit and other brands have this kind of boot. Ultimate boot though are the Dahu Swiss boot with an inner snow boot that fits into a shell. 2 of my friends have these and I would too if they had technical fittings for touring bindings. 75 and still going strong.

  18. David Ferber says:

    Hey Stanley! Come on over, and come ski Alta, Utah. A full season pass for us 80+ yr olds is $50 + tax. And skiing with my adult son there (we’re going out for our 2d trip of the season in 2 wks) is one of the great joys of fatherhood!

  19. A lot of good advice but I throw a little Talcum Powder into the boots for lubrication. I also take a half of a Aleave pill to help the old joints. Started skiing at Snow Basin around 1957.

  20. I’m 74 and still ski 20 days a year 10 days out west 5 days out east and 5 days in Utah my ski boots are 100 flex should I get a stiffer boots

  21. Glenn McLeroy says:

    In addition, would appreciate any tips on easier ways to getting up after a fall. Thanks

  22. Is George Jedenoff still around?

  23. Hi from the west
    Skied Taos, Telluride, and Beaver Creek this year
    I am 81
    Look for runs with trees and ski next to them
    They rrally help with the flat light
    Jim Olsson

  24. I just turned 70, 2022 and was excited to “ski for free” at many North American resorts. They’ve just pushed the free passes up to 75…some are even at 80.
    What a chutzpah after a lifetime of skiing to have this perk dangled in front of me and then moved away.
    I ski Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff. There is a day bus that goes up from Phoenix…2.5 hours.
    It is quite enough for me. I also go out to Western Canada if my kids will join me.
    It has been tough and isolating with a spouse that doesn’t participate in my sports. It is so encouraging that we are still out there and that I can look forward to many more years.
    My grandson skied Mt Hermon…not Whistler but he had a fun day

  25. Chari Smith says:

    No rear entry. It hinders forward and forward lean movement/flex. I instructed for 49 years. Now 79 1/2. I have diabetic neuropathy and arthritis in my toes. Gave up my upper level ladies boot that I loved. My boot guy put me in a K2 boot. Outer tongue releases and flips forward. Then it opens wide. Easy in and easy out. A rebuild of the old Raicilie boot. Go look and try them.

  26. Great advice at 80 I am still doing bumbs and blacks but a lot slower and shorter days we all have to keep moving

  27. As a 69 year old ski instructor who has been ski instructing for portions of four decades, I HIGHLY recommend at least getting footbeds from a quality ski boot fitting shop, and preferably ski boots that can be heated and form fitted to your feet. I’ve seen way too may ski days ruined by students who show up with improperly fitted ski boots.

  28. Still skiing st 81. Only issue I have is vision not the best, probably due to my diabetes 3. When the sun goes down and terrain is in the shadows, I am finished. I ski free st Wolf Creek and Monarch Mtn, CO. because of age.

  29. Steve adler says:

    I am 76 w 2 coronary stents, controlled for the moment bladder cancer, and enough aches and pains. Skiing about 20 days a year at Vail and other places( Taos), Whitefish. I think flat light is flat, no Lens helps but ski next to trees in the fall line, avoid treeless bowls. Talcum powder is amazing getting boots on . I use a Surfoot boot for the service, free for life and stores everywhere in US. The key though is short skis, 124 cm w standard binding, I am 65 inches; good in all snow, super in mogul s but avoid the toothy ones, cruising runs are deadly due to the out of control boarders and skiers at 50 mph, do not traverse , I have angina sometimes at 10,000 ft, fine < 7000. I will try a POC T 2 pm in a week .

  30. Check out ACL STRONG.

  31. Tom Tibbetts says:

    I started skiing in the late 30’s, and retired my skis in 2021 at age 86.
    I started using CADS when I turned 80, and my thighs were forever grateful.
    They allowed me to continue skiing with confidence through various conditions. Most of my skiing was done at Trollhaugen, Dresser WI, and the last 23 years at Breckenridge, CO. What a ride!!!!!

  32. The retina of the eye has ” cone ” cells that see color and “rod” cells that see black and white ( contrast). Cone cells are in the middle of the retina and the rods on the edges. As we age rod cells die out quicker..we lose contrast and peripheral vision…So…stay out moguls on cloudy days and ski whats in front of you. You and your party wear bright clothing on snowy days and stick togefher.

  33. I am a healthy seventy and have been skiing for 55 years. I use skiing as a mental tool for staying in shape . Some adjustment in habits are certainly required as we age . Maybe we have to” let the old man in” just a little .

  34. Please see this link about a senior skiing legend Betsy Pratt. She passed this morning. We have been fond old friends since the early 1960s. We met skiing here at Mad River Glen. I think her story would be a good piece for the newsletter. Thank you. Carol and Al Pierce

  35. Great advice by Stanley. Now in my late 70s I too have gravitated to skiing parallel with race training courses. As mentioned by others, well bumped up runs may be a good option as well. Last season put work into the short turn. Yes ski preparation is also vital. I do my own ski servicing. Over recent years also have been inching up the stiffness of the boots. Saves energy and increases the feel of the ski in snow. Smoother ride on a good day.

  36. Patti+Farkas says:

    Bit puzzled to read of those missed skiing years due to Covid. My husband and I (89 and 82 respectively) flew out and skied right through them at Alta. Didn’t use the lodge, of course, and the masks (neck gaiters) in the very short lift lines were a pain. Otherwise, business as usual. Unfortunately, he took that long chairlift to the sky this year, but I hope to get out again “23-“24.

  37. Good to see all these comments, stirred up by my ski tips for seniors. I just did my edges, waxed the skis and put them away for the Summer. See y’all next year….have a great summer vacation……Stanley

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