Are You A Hucker, Ripper, Park Rat, Or Just A “Sick” Planker?

This you?

Sorry for the jargon.  This week, we’d like to explore on which end of the risk spectrum our readers reside. We have a sense that some readers have slowed down, taken down the speed a notch or two, search for corduroy on on sunny days, and switched to Blues and Greens. On the other hand, we know for a fact that some readers regularly race, seek double Blacks, huck off jumps, go outside the ropes, and generally find fire in their skis.

Question For You: So which are you?  Use this scale to rate yourself:

       1 is risk lover, jumper, fast, ski whatever, go-go-go, chute flyer.

       5 is graceful carver of the wide, groomed Blues and Greens, nice, rhythmical arcs, slow-ish, and in control.

Since this is an unscientific and statistically insignificant survey, make up your own criteria for 2-3-4 on the rating scale.

It will be interesting to see how our readership sees itself.

Or is this you?



  1. I would say I’m a 2 or 3. At 61, no way I’ll do moguls, steep glades or jumps but still love the steep stuff. So double blacks and blacks here in PA, but blues out West (with a black through in here and there for good measure).

  2. Im like Renee. Im now 80 and live in Pa. Im a 3. No more moguls, jumps, double blacks, or back country skiing out west anymore. Also no more climbing up on roofs, up ladders, cutting grass, working on cars, or lifting heavy loads.

  3. Doug Haddad says:

    At age 81 I still love to ski the steep, deep and mogals. So I will rate myself a 1.

  4. I stay on groomers. I am 67, bilateral knee replacements 3 years ago, and orthopedic repair of both feet with plate and screws, I would say I am a 3-4. With good snow cover I ski a moderate pace. Love fresh snow , but slow and cautious on really hard pack snow.. I live and ski out west.

  5. Jim Foster says:

    At 71, I am grateful that I can still get down the slopes in one piece. I will try anything, but generally stick to groomed slopes . My focus is to stay safe and look “pretty” rather than just “fast”.

  6. My birthday is tomorrow.. 72 Will be skiing with two buddies,we been together for 5/6 years everyone knows us.
    I been skiing where I’m not supposed to be. OB. For over 40 years. I’m still doing it. I ski a straight line. Lots of turns. So , what ever is the top number I’m close to that.. I cheat. I use shorter skis. 168,175. You can go as fast,safely.
    Enjoy your own challenges. It keeps you young.

  7. At 75+, I feel young compared to those who have already replied. I’m probably now a 3 that occasionally goes to 4. I like to make round carved turns and don’t care how steep or narrow the trail is as long as it is groomed. Powder – of course. Clumped up powder or soft mushy snow we used to call mashed potatoes, I stay away. Blue ice – no way. Bitter cold, i.e. below zero, I think twice. And last, I gave up running gates at 65 but every once in awhile, I’m tempted but ski away.

  8. 75 years old. Still like to go fast. I stay off icy moguls and heavy mushy snow to hard on the knees. Not skiing Nastar this year because it is only set up on the weekends and I have been avoiding crowds, only skiing on weekdays. When pandemic is over will start skiing gates. Probably a three this year.

  9. Hollace Widdowfield says:

    I would rate myself a 3-4. 74 years old. I don’t do moguls or off-piste but do love a good blue or black groomer and a little speed. I have definitely turned into a fair weather skier!

  10. Will self evaluate as a 3. Will qualify for the 70+ club in a couple of months. Try to ski some snow that is “good for me”, and not just good, every day out sliding. Will ski a few bump runs and in the trees. No hucking, like the steeper fall line, and love finding spine at the edge of a steeper groomer. Prefer a very round turn and not particularly fast. You will probably notice me and ask; ‘what does that old fart think he is doing?’.

  11. Lance Collins says:

    I would say I ski at a 2-3. I’m a young spry 65. I prefer off piste, trees, powder, bumps, but like to keep my skis on the ground these days. I’m comfortable on blacks and double blacks if the snow is good. Since retiring I spend up to 2 months each winter in B.C.

  12. Dave Irons says:

    I don’t rate myself and feel as a former certified professional ski patrolman and examiner i have anything left to prove on skis. Now that my 209 cm GS Atomics are nothing more than decorations for the wall in my office where I work on my latest writing I am content to cruise groomed runs on my 175 cm Volkl GS. I ski midweek when the light is good as my eyes which will turn 83 the last day of this month no longer pick up things in flat light. My risk taking days are long past. I do however have a pair of 180 cm Race Stock Volkl GS if I find perfectly groomed runs devoid of other skiers mid week..

  13. Bernie Krasnoff says:

    I refer to myself as a ” Gentleman Skier “. Nothing to prove. Living on Killington Mountain, provides the ease of picking the days to ski when the sun is out or partially out. Sill working on my form, trying to slow down and enjoying the beauty of carving turns with skis together on the blues and blacks on Killington. And that first cold beer after 2-3 hours on the slopes! Approaching 79 years young, how lucky we are.

  14. Michele Jacquin says:

    I used to be a 4+ except for speed, loving anything off piste, steep, deep or tricky. Headwall at Squaw, Dropout Mammoth, High Rustler Alta, tree skiing in deep powder. We were “backcountry” skiing on cable tele gear and skins in the 70s and postholing to the top above the lift lines to untracked stashes in the 80s. After a couple broken bone incidents including a femur fx against a Ponderosa Pine resulting in 14 screws and a plate, I have backed off. Approaching my 70 BDay, I look forward to cruising the glade runs next week at Homewood in Tahoe with my sis. I probably will be looking for the fun of cut up crud at the side of the groomers which I find both boring and scary due to the out of control folks. I hate those early morning death cookies in the spring after the machines do their thing. I still love a good snowstorm to ski in, flat light and all, especially if I get to go back to the Alta Lodge. Maybe I am a 3? We shall see.

  15. I’m 70. I’m a 1, but recently my knees are telling me it’s time to reassess.

  16. Tom Lott Lott says:

    At 74 without an ACL, I’m a 4.

  17. Connie Grodensky says:

    Between 3-4 for me as well. 67 with total knee replacements on BOTH knees, I am simply grateful to still be skiing. I love long groomed blues or blacks, and since we live where we ski, we are fortunate to pick our bluebird days as we will. Even with the parking reservation system our mountain has instituted, we have been able to ski on our chosen bluebird days, and I consider it a gift to be able to cruise down our lovely groomed blue runs.

  18. jim guderian says:

    Just turned 88 and found this year that all my old habits resurfaced. Ski only my local area (wife homebound) am hoping for 25 times. Used to like the steeps (not around here) and never got enough powder being an Eastern skier. Rate myself a 3 . . . . still trying to get my left ski to do what my right ski does all the time. “s fun? You betcha!

  19. Alan S Cort says:

    1-2 when skiing with my 30 & 32 year old sons (they are polite and wait for me at the bottom!), 2-3 when by myself. Biggest change is I am much more deliberate about skiing trees at Cannon Mountain by myself – the ski patrol has enough to do with out having to perform search and rescue at the end of the day.

  20. Cathy Meyer says:

    3-4, I prefer to keep my feet on the ground, so rarely jump cornices, but not averse to steeps, bumps, and railing some nice, fast groomers. I also enjoy cruising in the sunshine and enjoying the scenery and friends. It’s all good. I am an instructor. ACL in 2003, and my knees are a little stiff, but otherwise, I am in good shape at 67.

  21. richard cook says:

    2 – a reformed cornice hopping – flip jumper but still enjoy the steep powdery chutes. The BC coastal mountains have huge trees so always wear a helmet now. At 68 – knees and thighs still good. Keeping active daily is the key – shout out to Chris Crowley and his ” bibles for seniors ” which paved the way and provided a template to follow: Younger Next Year, and Thinner This Year, 25 sacred exercises. As an active adventurer all my life I highly recommend those books.

  22. Dean J Schaefer says:

    I guess I would consider myself a 3 or 4. Turning 82 in 2 months I am looking forward to my annual trip out west for just two weeks instead of my usual month (Covid). I will be skiing all but the extreme runs in the Summit county and Vail area, but I do prefer the sunny days since the flat light affects my confidence and slows me down. As an instructor at a small midwest resort I get in about 80 days of groomed runs so I like to challenge myself a little doing soft bumps and some steeps. I still do a little nastar racing and being over 80 I can bump my gold up to a platinum at times. I will be loving those goomers that you pictured.

  23. Peter Shepherd says:

    1-2 in my dreams only. Probably 3-4 these days but haven’t been able to confirm as haven’t been able to get out yet in 2021. Now that I’ve joined the 70+ club a little curve ball came towards the plate during skiing in December 2020. Due to recurring edema from a prior foot surgery very difficult and painful to get the foot into ski boot and would never be able to get it out, de-booting in the cold parking lot unless, I used a torch to soften the shell (cabriolet model to boot!). Maybe if the weather warms up a little?
    By the way Alan, one of the most memorable days was skiing with you a while back at Cannon after Notch effect flurries left 18+ and you led us through some awesome tree lines. Thank you. Hope to be able to test being more “deliberate” and floating between the trees with you again down the road. Keep ’em turning!

    • Alan S Cort says:

      Peter – what a surprise to see your name pop up! Sorry to hear about your foot – maybe a season off is the best cure? Love to spend another day skiing with you, I can share my greatest adventure skiing out of the Ymir backcountry lodge in the Kootenay’s of BC last February with my boys. Alan

  24. Jack Murray says:

    I’m 72 and a 3. My left knee has been replaced 4 times so no moguls or glades.

  25. Greg Schaefer says:

    Probably a 2. I love to ski fast, can ski just about anything but really not a fan of bumps, etc. I ski Backcountry half the time which I find real interesting. I XC race in the town weekly series. It all keeps this 69 year old feeling young.

  26. Philip Purcell says:

    Well into mid 70s. Enjoying my Rossi ST skis. For me skiing in control, with a turn of speed when safe to do so, is most satisfying. Rate my risk-reward at 3-4 . Any day is a good day, on a uncrowded hill.

  27. John Farley says:

    At 71, I would call myself about a 4. Pretty much your description of a 5, but faster, and very little standing around, pretty much top to bottom with no stops. Although I love a snowy day with new freshies every run, I have not hit many of those this year but lots of cloudy, cold, windy days, which has given me a new appreciation for days like today: warm, no wind, bright sun and bluebird skies, but not quite spring snow yet.

  28. Bud Shehan says:

    I consider myself a 2+to a 3. At 72 with a replaced hip I’m skiing as hard as I ever did, I just can’t keep it up as long. Hate groomers. Love powder or cut up soft snow. Steep with moderate bumps is great. I ski Snowbird 3 times a week and look for “challange” runs that test my ability and give me a reason to keep pushing myself to improve. Favorite fun run at Snowbird is Blue Angel. Its a short moderately steep black diamond that cuts a narrow path through the trees. It has moderate bumps and almost always has good snow because not many people ski it. The trick is to see how many turns you can get in before the bottom.

  29. Patti Farkas says:

    I guess at 80 I’m a 3. Definitely a corduroy queen who likes to go fast but in control on sunny, or at least bright, days – no flat light for me! Have a faux hip and past back surgery, but they don’t seem to affect my skiing. Still trying to get my left foot to point straight forward to match the right one; conformation flaw, makes left turns just a little bit more difficult. My 88-year-old husband (expert skier) no longer has to wait for me, as I ski quite a bit faster than he does now. We are fortunate to be able to spend January through March skiing “the greatest snow on earth” as the license plates have it.

  30. Clyde Nunn says:

    83 and still skiing, sounds good. On modest groomed runs I’m close to 50 miles per hour at some point on any run, but my average by the scale you described I recognize myself about 4, I ski at sierraattahoe and have since 1954, and still have desire for “one more great run” thanks again for this newsletter

  31. Don Lapierre says:

    At the ripe age of 66, “pick-up sticks” it rhymes: I find my policy of not using eye glasses under my goggles even though my drivers license says I need corrective lenses, as my eyes acts as a governor on my speed. I never drive faster than my headlights can let me read the “road.” I rate my skiing level as an Owly “1”. Owly means skiing wisely; yes, off-piste but at a speed where I can change directions or stop quickly. Powder skiing is where I take my greatest risks, as I head for the steeps but I like skis that let me penetrate deep and I use the sunken depth to control my speed on the STEEPs. I find glade skiing fun when in untouched or loose powder. If I hear my skis scratch on an granular patch in the glade, I won’t expose myself in that specific glade until new snow. I try never to leave the snow, as taking air usually means pounding my knees when I land, and in my mind, it is like smoking a cigarette, each takes your future time away from you; 2 minutes or 2 months or possibly not being able to endure the heavy spring corn; Sore knees should disappear after a good night sleep. If not, start moving toward level 5. Steeps requires many turns, so you better be in shape, as it requires heavy breathing. Speed? Speed kills!

  32. I’m 73 and still recovering after being taken down by a stroke at 68. Although I resumed skiing the next season, new snow conditions, not seen since the stroke, still knock me for a loop, and frozen corduroy creates reverberations on the stroke side that make it almost impossible to turn smoothly. Recovering from a stroke means making all new connections between the brain and muscle groups (new snow conditions equate to new muscle groups), and sometimes dealing with nerve damage that prevents you from “feeling” the mountain” accurately, at least on the stroke side. All of this is highly exhausting. Under these conditions my risk factor is 4-5. For comfortable conditions with good snow and good weather, change that to 3, maybe even 2. I am curious to know how other stroke victims see risk.

  33. At 76 & with a fairly new donor ACL, am now a 3-4 skier. At 72, doc said ACLs weren’t done at my age. Talked him into it & have no regrets.

  34. Keith Egan says:

    At 67 I like to think I am a 2 but edging toward 3. Steep is OK but no moguls and minimal ice. Groomers with my wife our also fun. Need a challenge that wont kill me. Have seen seriously ski slopes I would ski if the runout was not trees. I don’t mind the fall, its the sudden stop. At the end of the day, I want to have pushed my limits a few times, not just not as many when I was 30.

  35. Hank Phillips says:

    Probably #2. Covid kept off the slopes this year except for this past week (got 2 days in) Hope to ski with a son in law and grandson the end of this month. Will b 81 in 9 days.

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