Harriet Hits The Big Eight-O.

[Editor Note: A big hug and salute to Harriet Wallis, snow sports journalist, who has written dozens of interesting and useful articles of these pages since SeniorsSkiing.com began in 2014. Happy Birthday, Harriet.  Many more and have a great year ahead!]

Harriet’s daughter bought her a cupcake helmet cover. Seriously, there are such things. Credit: Alta

I planned to celebrate my landmark 80th birthday by taking cookies to my aerobics class. Instead, I skied with a cupcake on my head and a ribboned badge with “80” in big numbers. It was a hoot. Here’s some insight in case you’ll turn 80 soon.

The pink cupcake helmet cover came with a flashing LED candle on top. My daughter gave it to me, so I couldn’t say no. I timidly stretched the cupcake over my helmet, turned on the candle, pinned on the 80 badge, and braced to look absolutely silly on the slopes.

My get-up drew attention, and everyone laughed at lot. A pack of skiers burst into singing Happy Birthday, and Alta sent a photographer to capture the event. I was skiing with my son and daughter and they enjoyed seeing their mom have a big day. It was a lot more fun than taking cookies to my aerobics class.

Skiers’ reactions were surprising.

To younger skiers, I’m a fossil, and they insisted on taking selfies with me. They had never seen anyone “that old” still skiing.

However, skiers in their 80s and 90s—skiers I’ve never met—gave me a hug and welcomed me to the vintage group. To them, I’m just a youngster.

I Want To Share The Fun.

When I went to the party store, I found their birthday badges only went up to 60 years. Dang. I decided that with some office white out and a marker I could turn 60 into 80. It worked. My doctored-up badge is unique.

Harriet will pass this badge on to someone turning 80 before April. Credit: Harriet Wallis

If you’re turning 80 before April and want to ski wearing the badge on your birthday, please post a comment to this article.

Please say where you’ll be skiing and a little bit about why you’d like to have the badge. Unfortunately, I have only one badge, so I’ll chose someone at random, contact you for your address, and mail the badge to you. Then you can pass it on.


But I’m keeping the pink cupcake to wear on my birthday next year!


  1. Alison Rabinoff says:

    Great article Mom! It was great to ski with you on your big day.

    In case anyone absolutely needs their own cupcake helmet cover, they can be found online at the Breckenridge Hat Company.

    I hope I can still be skiing at 80.

  2. Jim Gregory says:

    Happy 80th Harriet. I just turned 80 too. Will be in Salt Lake City 2/22 – 2/29 with 70+ Club. George Jedenoff will be there too… along with 160 of his freinds. Love the Helmut cover. Hope to see you there.

  3. Happy Birthday double knee champion!

  4. Bruce Sherman says:

    Nice lady…brximming with energy and enthusiasm.

  5. My December 27, 2021 birthday never looked so good! That’s the day I’ll turn 80! Cheers! Thanks, Harriet! Now I know how to plan!

  6. Dr. Gretchen Rous Besser says:

    Happy birthday, my young friend. You did more in one day to illustrate the joy of skiing than twenty prime-time ads. Keep up all of your inspirational activities.

  7. Happy Birthday Harriet and welcome to the octogenarian club. For my 80th a couple of years ago I took my daughter skiing. I have to keep up with a professional dancer. I know it has been many years since we met at a ski writers gathering somewhere, but if you ever head east, let me know as I would be delighted to take few runs with you. Last winter I saw a guy with a patch on his parka that read 90 Plus Club so we could have many more years ahead. All the best,
    Dave Irons

  8. Congratulations Harriet. Wish I could have been there. Hopefully next season/ What a wonderful family sport we all enjoy. I’ve admired the way you’ve come back after your various injuries in the last few years and remember well when quiet tears were shed putting your boots on in the locker room due to the pain but you you didn’t let that stop you. You’re an inspiration to this young 74 year old.

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