encourages readers to submit accounts of personal experiences on the hill. The following, sent in by Cynthia F. Jones, expresses her joy of returning to skiing following a 35-year absence.

Vanity Fair 1919

I ski only green runs.  At 73, coming back to skiing 35 years after the briefest taste of its magic and delight many years ago, I’m having so much fun it should be illegal.

So…why am I writing this?  First I LOVE that I found the SeniorsSkiing website – it’s been inspirational.  The articles and information have opened doors to let me know I CAN re-embrace skiing as a senior.  However, when it comes to connecting with senior ski groups – I realize I’ll probably never ski at the level of those members (acing the blue runs, tackling the single and double black diamonds), so there probably isn’t a peer group for those like me who just enjoy cruising the greens.  Or maybe we are just the silent elder skiers.

Truth Magazine 1896

My goal is simply to have fun and continue to embrace the joy, the stoke and absolute zen I find on the mountain.  Experiencing that perfect glide downhill (if the body is willing to cooperate on any given day) is worth all the effort.

Ok – I’m saying this in full view of senior skiers – I may never tackle a blue run.  I do sometimes cast a glance over at them, on my fun runs, but they don’t beckon yet and the call to go blue may never be strong enough. The one thing I don’t want to do is take the fun out of skiing with “should’s.” And right now I’m having tons of fun.

My reintroduction to skiing was via a student in my yoga class.  Forever will I be grateful to Sue for encouraging me to take that plunge back into something I had not been able to continue in my 30’s due to life circumstances.  And yet – while eternal gratitude will always be there – Sue is a highly skilled skier (she’s been skiing for decades) and she quickly tired of skiing with me since my goals and skills on the mountain are quite different from hers.

Woman’s Home Companion

But hey – it’s all good.  I take the occasional group or private lesson, as I explore different mountains, to keep my confidence growing.  I’m exploring the “Senior Friendly” ski resorts…it’s one of the most enjoyable travel adventure projects I’ve had in a long time.  I have no goal or personal need to graduate from the green slopes because I’m HAPPY!

And mostly I’m delighted, that now, in retirement, I can make following the powder a priority in life (I’ve put everyone on notice that a snow alert has priority over EVERYTHING!).

So here’s to the greenies if there are others out there – life is good!



  1. Hiller Hardie says:

    Cynthia-welcome back! I’m 65 & enjoy skiing with my 20 year old daughter. She usually has to wait for me @ the bottom! We also have pretty large group of 60+ skiers here in Western Pennsylvania, all still going strong.

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      Yea for you! I get to be on the mountain at least 2x a year with my son who is a snowboarder – he humors his elder mom by doing a couple of runs with me before heading for the blue and black diamonds – it’s such a treat to be on the mountain with our grown kids. Your 60+ group sounds awesome 🙂

    • Jackie Frank says:

      Hi I’d love to connect with your group. I’m just getting back into skiing at 67 and Western Pa ski resorts are the closest to me.

    • Mark Remcheck says:

      Hi Hiller– I am 70 and want to get back into skiing. Is your group accepting new members? Laurel Mt. and Seven Springs are my old stomping grounds.

  2. Bikingbaker says:

    Cynthia. Yes skiing is wonderful whatever run works for you. If your local area has a “Woman’s Wednesday “ like our area here in Western Ma. I highly recommend it. There are all levels of abilities and people working on being more comfortable on the mountain. Try it if you can

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      Wish we did have something like what you describe – my local mountain (Snowbowl) is not one I’d recommend for anyone (especially gentle skiers) due to it’s proximity to Northern AZ University and an abundance of college guys boarding irresponsibly. I had a “close encounter of the worst kind” with a snowboarder on my local mountain. I am looking forward to participating in the Silver Skier program at Telluride in Feb.

  3. Love it! There is so much more than the steep and the deep.
    Skiing, like yoga, can stretch your mind as well as your body.

  4. Rich Spritz says:

    Cynthia, I absolutely love your post. I’m a longtime ski instructor at Breckenridge, and I’m 71 and a physician. I’m thinking of starting a ski group for folks exactly like you. I love your focus on fun, staying healthy, and getting ‘out there’. Keep it up!

    • Len Friedman says:

      Hi Rich,
      This is Len Friedman replying (formerly Copper Mtn/Frisco now New York State/Vermont). I am now 86 years young and Gail is 76
      and we are still making turns but I see more Green/Light Blue in the future. ” Getting out there” is the goal not the color of the snow!
      Len F./Gail W.

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      Thx for your comment! If you get that group going I would love to make the trek from AZ to Breckenridge some season and get a chance to ski with others who are happy with easy skiing 🙂

    • Jackie Frank says:

      Let me know if you get that group going. My daughter skis Breckenridge and I plan to come out West to ski this year. I’m a greenie and happy to stay right there!

  5. Wish you were in the Northeast. Loved your post so encouraging! I’m 74 and tried a short run on a Christmas vacation. Anxious to try the greens again.

  6. Jan Brunvand says:

    Cynthia: If you get to Utah, come in and meet the Wild Old Bunch at Alta in Alf’s Lodge off the very pleasant Sunnyside lift, and I will show you my favorite green runs there plus a few nice light blue ones. I’ll turn 89 on March 23rd and never stopped skiing since childhood, but I find now that greens and light blues give me just as much pleasure as the darker side did many years ago. My favorite circuit is at Powder Mountain where I can ski all greens off three lifts in a lovely series of scenic cruisers, starting (appropriately enough) with one called Easy Peasy and continuing for what must be two or three miles around to Mushroom Valley or Sunrise and on up to the top where I park. Similarly at Brighton I have my routine skiing mostly greens and loving it.

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      Thx for such great info Jan – and the invite to connect with the Wild Old Bunch when I visit Alta in April.

  7. Kathy Leber says:

    Cynthia, I believe there are MANY “silent elder skiers” that would LOVE to be part of a group that just enjoys being outdoors and active in the winter, but in a less intensive way!
    I am 76, and have been skiing mainly advanced runs for the past 3 decades, but after several non skiing related surgeries, and an osteoporosis diagnosis, I am finding that the thrill of skiing a really challenging run no longer outweighs the concerns about potential injuries.
    I cannot give up the pleasure of skiing, but will likely now choose , and fully enjoy, those groomed cruises more often.
    You are not alone!

    • Kathy , Cynthia et al,
      I can relate to your comments. I have skied since my teens and at 73+ have to give my friends some guff when they bug me about how I used to be such a better skier than they were. In my case several ski related injuries and a ladder fall( my fault) took the wind out of my sails. I call myself G2 or Groomer Girl on the runs that I like and say see ya later for a late lunch. I would love my sky brain confidence back sometime but focus on what I do enjoy the most which are now mostly greens and Blues in CO (BC and Vail). I like smaller areas again such as Ski Cooper and am looking forward to going to Brian Head this year.

      • Cynthia Jones says:

        LOVE Brian Head!!!!! It is one of the best for Green Run lovers with an entire mountain top to bottom – with a variety of routes down for green skiers. Have fun!

  8. Come to Timberline Mt. Hood!

  9. Cynthia – congratulations on your return. It would be interesting to hear your impressions on what must seem monumental changes in the sport since you “retired” some 35 years ago. Might I suggest ignoring the green, blue and black designations. They are relative to each mountain, and what is green at one might be blue at another, and vice versa. Instead, you seem to have a good sense of what looks like fun, and you go ski it. Trust your senses – then you can look at the map at the end of the day.

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      Interesting question – I think the only real difference that I notice are much friendlier skis – option for shorter shaped skies makes maneuvering so different from the “skinny sticks” that I remember from back in the day.

  10. Char Brooks says:

    Love just being out on the mountain, enjoying the beauty surrounding me.

    I do mourn the “good old days” skiing the more challenging runs and a fair amount of powder runs over the years. What sweet memories! However, I’m just grateful to be able to get out and make a few turns and look forward to a good snow year.

  11. I’m with you, Cynthia. Getting older (and maybe just a little bit wiser), I no longer feel the need for speed. I find myself gravitating toward the greens and easy blues, where I can enjoy nice wide turns while gawking at the scenery.

  12. I enjoy xc skiing in my home state of MN, but find I have fewer people to get out on the trails with. Most of my former xc ski friends have developed conditions over the past few years that no longer allow them to enjoy the sport, and/or they are spending their winters in warmer climates. I am in my mid 70’s and would like to connect with some fellow xc skiers in my age bracket who would like to get out and enjoy some greens with me.

  13. Cynthia Jones says:

    Hope your message reaches other xc skiers – I salute you – xc is terrific body workout – I gave it up – prefer the momentum gliding of downhill. Salute to you 🙂

  14. Jackie Frank says:

    Hi Cynthia,
    Your post means a lot to me. I started skiing again last year at 66 after 15 years away. I had to get over the mental hurdle that skiing the greens is fine. Now, fun is all I am after and the greenies are good. Those senior-friendly ski areas are just what I am looking for back East. Enjoy the snow!

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