Last week’s column highlighted responses to a question posed to several friends: How much vertical footage is needed to have a satisfying day on the hill? For this week’s column, I posed the same question to all readers. Your input over the past several days says a lot about your passion for the sport. Not enough room to include all responses, but here’s a selection:

Fellow ski journalist, Dave Irons, 82, reports, “…all I need is a morning that includes 5-10 runs.” He and his 60-year old daughter ski Shawnee Peak (ME). “The 1200 feet of vertical is plenty. She’s…in great shape, which is why she is good for a few more runs after the old man is ready for a beer.”

John Emery, 67, and his wife ski Bogus Basin (ID). “I still track and log my vert, not for bragging purposes but to keep myself honest.” 

Rick Hovey is 66 and a resident of Park City (UT) since the mid-70s. Typically, he skis one million vertical and 80 days a season. Poor guy, last season he clocked 58 days and 900K vert. He writes, “I expect to meet my goals this year but will try to be satisfied with what I get.”

Rich Spritz writes, “My goal is to ski my age, though this year I may miss 70.” His family has a rule: “three runs counts as a day.” To anyone challenging the rule he suggests skiing three at “Breckenfridge” when it’s 7°F with wind howling, “then come meet inside by the fire and tell me that doesn’t count as a ski day!”

Susan Shaffer, Chapel Hill, NC, has skied one million vertical for several seasons. Last March, when areas closed, she was three days short of skiing her age. 

Tony’s local area is Cannonsburg (MI) with 250’ vertical. The area is a few miles from where he and his wife are on patrol (99 years of patrolling between them). For Tony, a light day is 100 runs or about 25,000 feet. “It’s a lot cheaper than the gym and lots of fresh air.”

At 74, Kevin Toolan’s perfect day is about 4 hours with his 6 and 10-year old grandsons at Okemo (VT) followed by lunch, a glass of wine and a nap. 

Peter Hogan skis Copper Mountain with his step-son. They enjoy lunch at a sheltered woodsy spot with a view, then ski the bowls and take a long “butt-kicking” mogul run before a few beers.

Connie Grodensky writes, “Skiing local is what skiing is about this year.” She takes 10-run days at Mt. Bachelor (OR) and is happy to leave before the crowds arrive. 

Ed Schultz, 76, skis 15 runs at Brantling (NY), with 250’ vertical. It’s small but in region that receives lots of snow.

Bob Ohrt, provides these words of wisdom: “Have been skiing local for many years. Depending on the year, ‘local’ might be a 300′ valley or a 3,000′ resort. It really doesn’t matter. Skiing is the experience and the sensation. Every ‘where’ can offer different joys. Ski what you have got.”

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts.

Skier’s Six-Word Challenge

Here’s the challenge: summarize your thoughts about the season in 6 words. Several have been received. If you want to enter’s Six Word Challenge, you may win a Booster ski boot horn, a great gift for any older skier. 

Here’s a selection from the past week.

Louis Vigorita, Ventura, CA, commented on escaping Covid isolation: 

Out of the bubble, into the snow.

Susan Zangrilli, Sandy, Utah, expressed one of this season’s dilemmas: 

Mask, balaclava, gaiter, helmet, goggles. Breathe? 

Her husband, David, laments not being able to boot-up in the Alta locker-room: 

Boots on. Boots off. Sans bench.

Bob Ohrt puts this optimisitc spin on the season:

It’s the smiles not the miles.

And Jan Brunvand, Salt Lake City, who’s already skied seven days, sent this about his season’s goals: 

Fifty days? Good luck with that!

Enter’s Six Word Challenge. Summarize how you feel about this season in six words. Winners will receive a Bootster ski boot shoe hornSend entries to [email protected].

Passes Surpassed Lift Tickets Last Season

National Ski Areas Association reports that last season, skier/boarder visits using season passes were greater than visits using single and multi-day lift tickets…a first for the industry.

May Be Best Lift Deal in the US

Colorado Ski Country USA’s $35 Gems Card provides two 2-for-1 adult lift tickets or two 30-percent (30%) off adult lift tickets at each of these Colorado resorts: Arapahoe Basin, Cooper, Echo Mountain, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Kendall Mountain, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn and Sunlight. For more information:

Better Mapping

You may have noticed a new look in the trail maps at places like Vail, Sun Valley, Squaw and Alpine Meadows, Stowe, Mt Snow, and Killington. They are among the areas utilizing  the services of VistaMap, a company providing a comprehensive system for creating and maintaining trail and guest maps. Like any good map, these are easy to read and understand. The technology utilized let’s them be updated easily. Click here to visit Vistamap‘s website.

Liftopia’s Assets Acquired

Remember Liftopia, the online ticket seller, which advertised extensively over the past few seasons? The company went under earlier this year after several resorts were not paid for the tickets Liftopia sold. The company’s liquidated assets were acquired by Skitude, a European ski-oriented tech.

Two Interesting Short Ski Films

Abandoned (24 minutes) tells the stories of several defunct Colorado areas.

Made Back East (21 minutes) follows a group of ski friends as they ski backcountry in New York and Vermont.

One Wonderful Ski Video

Twelve year old, Jacob Smith was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 8. After years of surgery, he is well  but legally blind. This 7 minute video tells Jacob’s story, including his descent on skis of Big Sky’s Big Couloir. Need a pickmeup? Don’t miss this one!


  1. Great movies – lots more fun than many of today’s big production ski movies. One brave young man in the Big Sky movie!

  2. I am 74. A good day on the mtn is 20,000-25,000 vertical feet!!!

  3. Peter L. Burkett says:

    I’m 73. I ski 4 days a week at Stevens Pass, Alpental, or Mt Baker. My goal is 21,200 a day…that’s 4 vertical miles. Any extra vertical skied is banked for my old age. It usually takes about 4 hours to complete and then it’s home to feed the chickens, goats and horses.

  4. I’ve always felt bell to bell is a good day and depending on how many consecutive days you can do this shows your condition and your technique. In my forties, 6 days. In my fifties, 5 days. Now, in my sixties 3-4 days consecutive bell-to-bell. A good ski technique eliminates any struggling, allowing you to ski all day. Struggling with any or all turns, not maintaining good balance and shaky stopping, primarily, tires you out. I swear that is why groomed-to-death level type ski areas are masking some struggle and why they’re so popular. 3 runs of pure struggle is exhausting. I also believe when exhaustion starts, your body starts talking to you, then it is time to end your day. So, I say, ski until you start feeling exhausted. If 3 runs meets your needs, I’d say you either need to hit the gym (loose some weight) or you need to take some new ski lessons to develop a better technique. But, if you aim to make “Peak to Creek” non-stop your 3 runs for the day, I would call that a day. And, get a free beer at Dusty’s, lol.

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