Uphill Without a Lift?

In this age of technological disruption, it’s time to consider the growing number of alternatives to rope tows, chairlifts, gondolas and trams.

Self Powered

Starting at the most basic level, there’s the growing practice of uphilling, the use of skins on skis to help the more fit and energetic work their way up. Long a European pastime, it’s catching on in North America to the extent that some resorts are charging for the use of their slopes. 

Unassisted backcountry skiing is a version and vice versa. The boarder version uses splitboards, short skis used to climb and then lock together into a snowboard for the trip down.

Heli-, Cat-, Car-Powered

By now, all of us are familiar with helicopters, snowcats, and snowmobiles as a way of reaching higher and more remote terrain.

Some of you may have experienced skijoring, the sport of being pulled on skis by horse, motorcycle, snowmobile or car. If you haven’t, this 1955 video, titled World’s Most Dangerous Sport, will convince you not to try.

Mechanical Skis

Source: Popular Mechanics

In 1953, Popular Mechanics featured Caterpillar Skis, motorized skis that promised to transport the skier up the mountain. The skis had devices that looked like tank tracks and weighed almost as much as the tank. An engine strapped to the skier’s back provided the power. This link to the article shows and tells all.


Donald Steeg with the SkiBee

Some years ago, a guy in Turkey mounted a large fan on his back to propel himself uphill on skis. More recently, a Russian man developed this fan device from a lawn mower engine. In the early 70s Donald Steeg of Detroit came up with the fan-on-back SkiBee.

Is Something Following Me?

Skizee Woodsrunner

There’s the Roller Cycle Tracker, a ski-mounted motorized unit that pushes its user through snow. The demo video gives the impression it needs further development. Another product, the Skizee Woodsrunner, operates on a similar push principle but looks more sophisticated, as you’ll see here.

As fat tire e-snowbikes grow in popularity, so, too, may their use in towing skiers uphill.

Drone Alone

Samsung built an experimental drone to lift a human.This video  shows the drone transporting a boarder. Peculiar and Jetson-like as it sounds, it probably isn’t that far away.

R2-D2 In Our Future?

Last season, the South Koreans held a robot-skiing competition. Assuming that technology improves, there may be R2-D2s in our collective future.

Brighton, Utah’s First to Open

Brighton opened Tuesday, Nov 19, becoming the first Utah resort to kick off the 2019-20 season. Many visitors to the area overlook this gem at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is an absolute snow magnet and has varied terrain. Passes are reasonably priced for the 65+. Brighton attracts a lot of boarders, so go midweek when they’re in school.

Fantastic Senior Ski Weeks at Mountaineer Inn, Mount Snow

Mountaineer Inn at the base of Mount Snow in Southern Vermont has been hosting Senior Ski Weeks for several years. The 5-night packages include lodging, Mount Snow lift tickets, lessons and meals. Each evening is rich in conversation and entertainment, including live performances from the American musical theater. Openings are still available for the January 5-10 and March 1-6 Senior Ski Weeks. $715 pp/double occupancy. Mountaineer Inn also has special mid-week rates for seniors. Click here for details or call 1-800-682-4637.

Sweet Deal From Apex

Apex Boots

Apex is a remarkable solution for any skier living with uncomfortable or underperforming conventional boots. It combines a soft and comfortable walkable boot with a stiff open chassis. The soft boot slips on with ease, even on cold days. When it’s time to ski, step into the chassis, close the three buckles, and step into your bindings. The company has a sweet deal for SeniorsSkiing.com readers. It ends November 30. Order directly through the manufacturer’s website (use Discount code SENIOR3000) and get free shipping in the lower 48, a ski boot bag from Kulkea (value: $149.95), and free demos for friends and family through 2020 at Apex’s demo center in Golden, Colorado. 

Great Gift for Older (and Younger) Skiers!!

Bootster is a compact, lightweight and portable shoehorn for ski boots. It works for ANYONE fed up with grunting and groaning trying to fit foot into boot. I purchased several for Christmas and Hanukah gifts. At $25, Bootster is a bargain. The thing lasts forever. It’s a gift that keeps giving. Click here on or the adjacent ad to learn more and to order.


Discounted Skiwear For Every Size

Snow Country Outerwear is discounting its full line of skiwear for women (Reg and Plus; XS – 6X), men (Reg and Big; Sm – 7XL), and children. Click here or on the adjacent ad for details.

A Ski Gift for the Grandkids

A-B-Skis is a beautifully illustrated hardcover children’s alphabet book. There’s one letter per page that covers some aspect of skiing, each in verse. The volume also has safety information and guidance for getting the young ones excited to be on the hill. It was written by former U.S. Ski Team member and 2006 Olympian, Libby Ludlow and illustrated by Nathan Y. Jarvis, a prominent illustrator and PSIA certified Children’s Specialist ski instructor. A delightful Holiday gift for grandkids. $24.99. Click here to order.

A Worthy Skiing Cause

Since it was founded 17 years ago, the Alf Engen Ski Museum in Park City has become one of the world’s preeminent ski history museums. Visitors get to see extensive collections and to experience numerous interactive mountain sport simulators. There’s no admission. Last year, alone, there were more than a half-million visitors. The non-profit foundation behind the museum is conducting its annual fundraiser. To donate, click here.

Award-Winning Animated Ski Film

Hors Piste is an award-winning, student-produced, animated film of a hapless injured skier being “rescued” by two emergency medical crewmembers. No words. About 6 minutes. Click here.


  1. It would be good to notify the new owners of Searchmont ski reßort. He doesn’t think seniors over 80 need a break on ticket prices. Our ticket went up 400% this year.

  2. Haha…I skied Squaw one day with a retired Reno chiropractor, and never forgot his words: “I don’t know why they give us such a good discount, we’re the ones with all the money”.

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