There’s More Than Ski Clinics For Seniors That Make Big White’s Master’s Week Unique.

Sleigh ride at Big White Ski Resort. One of many non ski winter activities.
Credit: Big White Ski Resort

[Editor Note: Correspondent Yvette Cardozo also reported on Big White’s Master’s Week focusing on the ski instruction elements.  Here, she shows us the social side which really looks like a lot of fun.]

The social part of the Big White Ski Resort Masters Week is what made the experience different.

Those of a certain age who skied in the ‘70s and ‘80s will remember the original ski weeks. Some were run like summer camp and at least one (Gray Rocks in Quebec) came off like a cruise ship.

Jolly time at Masters Week apres ski party at Big White Ski Resort. The Masters program is aimed at skiers of all levels over the age of 50.
Credit: Yvette Cardozo

You skied together, you ate together, you made long term friends.

And now, the old fashioned ski week is back and aimed squarely at the folks who made it a success decades ago—the Boomers.

Okay, the ski weeks I remember from yesterday had us on the slope ALL day with a brief break for lunch. My knees are long past that.

 Instead, the Big White Ski Resort (Kelowna, BC) Master’s Week has on-slope work in the morning, then social stuff in the afternoons or evenings. There is also a Masters Monday, aimed more at locals but also including folks who don’t want to commit for an entire week.

And this certainly has hit a chord with people

The first day of my week, when we were joined by the Monday only groups, the resort was expecting perhaps 130 for lunch. Nearly 200 came (many signing up just that morning). There was quite a scramble for food, but nobody went hungry.

Dizzy of Dizzy’s boot fitting shop at Big White ski resort shows off an early 1970s ski boot that boasted fantastic ski technology that, sadly, was ahead of the boot’s ability to support it. The boots famously would come apart during skiing.
Credit: Yvette Cardozo

This reflected what has been happening with the five-day ski weeks, which grew from 23 people a few years ago to 229 last year spread across two sessions before adding a third session at the end of the season.

Each day after class, there was something—a clinic, apres ski, a sleigh ride.

One night, we met for beer and pizza at Dizzy’s Ski & Board Shop where Lindsay Bennett (aka Dizzy) talked about ski gear.

Along shelves in the shop sat hundreds of old boots, some from the 1940s, each representing a tech breakthrough. His fav is an early 1970s orange Scott boot that was truly revolutionary … and fell apart when the plastic couldn’t keep up with tech.

 Boots are, Dizzy said, the single most important piece of equipment you can own. A decent boot will last for 200 days of skiing. And custom foot beds are perhaps the most important thing you can have in a boot, he added.

No one knows that better than me. Slower than most to catch on, I spent a decade trying to figure out how to turn at all. Then someone noticed my board flat feet. I splurged on custom footbeds, headed for a lift and in the space of 30 seconds went from struggling novice to solid intermediate. I had been making the right moves all along but my feet weren’t connecting with the boots.

 A few tips—get ski socks. They’re a blend that keeps you warm without being too bulky. Don’t pull the liner out of your boot each night. Electric boot dryers will do a better job. And park your boots up high for the night (where air in your room is warmer).

 I went into the shop the next day and an added thin innersole and heel lifts helped my aging boots fit snug again with the added benefit of tipping me forward just a bit more.

The next night, my friend Kay and I went on the dinner sleigh ride, riding in a large sled pulled by two beautiful Clydesdale horses through a magic scene of snowy trees and swirling flakes. Dinner was both gourmet and rustic—chicken cassoulet and bison ribs. We bonded with our seat mates, who produced bottles of good red wine and topped it all off with mini cheesecakes.

 Our final gathering was apres ski at an Irish pub with good munchies, great beer and wonderful memories.


Big White Ski Resort’s Masters Week is actually five days, Monday through Friday. There are on-slope lessons each morning, then social activities in afternoon or evenings.

For 2018, Big White is planning at least two Masters ski week programs, Jan. 29 – Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 – Mar. 2, plus possibly a third at the end of the season.

Price for the week (lessons, clinics and most social activities) will be $278 Canadian. Canadian dollars have run about .75 per US dollar for a few years meaning $278 Cdn works out to about $208 US.

There are also Masters Monday classes, held each Monday morning, for people who don’t want to commit to an entire week.

Big White ski resort base village.
Credit: Big White Ski Resort


  1. Robert Dunn says:

    I am wondering if you would ever organize a cross-country skiing trip to Finland?

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Hi Robert.’s very terrific advertiser the 70+ ski club is your first stop in answering your question. Just click on the 70+ ski club and you will be connected., while it doesn’t run tours like the one you suggest, would be enormously interested in a report from XC skiing in Finland. Let us know what happens.

    • I have organized XC trips to Norway in the past.
      Oslo/Lillehammer specifically.
      Great trips with excellent skiing and cuisine.

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