Every industry benefits from a mix of offerings. The ski area industry is no exception. I find it enjoyable to ski big corporate resorts as well as independently-owned areas. Some, like Alta, Big Sky, and Jackson Hole offer both big terrain and an attractive level of smaller resort intimacy.

SUN VALLEY in the old days

 

It may surprise you that, according to the National Ski Areas Association, of the 37 states with ski areas, New York State has the most with 51…almost 11% of the country’s 470 areas. Next is Michigan with 40 areas, then Colorado and Wisconsin (31 each); California and New Hampshire (30 each), followed by Pennsylvania (26), Vermont (23) and Minnesota (20).

The majority of these are smaller and either independent or part of small group ownership.

Many smaller areas make it because they’re close enough to population centers and/or they’re the only game around. They get a large enough following to sustain them season-after-season.

Skiers in Norway: 1907

I like to mix up my skiing experience with visits to big and small. A few seasons ago I spent a delightful day exploring Pomerelle, a smallish area in southern Idaho. The terrain wasn’t challenging but it was interesting. And the base lodge was like going back in time…including the price of lunch.

Skiing big resorts is a different kind of experience. Vail is endless. Aspen, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole and others are challenging. Ditto with my home resorts Alta and Snowbird. I know them and their hidden stashes well. Alta, especially, combines great skiing with local friendliness and warmth. There’s a reason it’s a magnet for skiers from around the globe.

Teton Gravity Research recently produced “In Pursuit of Soul,” a short film celebrating smaller ski areas. To view the trailer click here. It builds the case for independently owned areas and was sponsored, in part, by Indy Pass, the reasonably priced pass that offers skiing privileges at 80 independently owned areas in North America and Japan.

Two skiers. Two skis. One turn.

If I had a few long weekends each season to ski and deep-enough pockets, I’d book at one of the big places in a region with reliable snow. For a family ski holiday with young grandkids, I’d choose a smaller resort with trails that funnel into one or two bases. That way there’s less chance for them to get separated or lost.

I like big mountains with a variety of terrain, and, frankly, it doesn’t matter much who owns them. They just need to be well-covered in snow.

Newly Found: 1300 Year-Old Ski

Archaeologists in Norway recently dislodged a 1300 year-old ski from the Digervarden Ice Patch. They believe it matches another ski found nearby in 2014. The newly found ski has an intact binding of twisted birch and leather. Click on the video (above) to witness the discovery in real time. A more detailed account appears in the Secrets of the Ice website which documents glacial archaeology.

The Superior Rx Goggle

SnowVision Rx goggles integrate prescription with inner lens

If you wear prescription goggles you owe it to yourself to learn about SnowVision‘s unique prescription lens. Unlike other Rx goggles, SnowVision integrates the prescription lens onto the inner lens of the goggle (see middle lens in picture above). Among its numerous advantages is the total lack of fogging. Another is remarkable visual clarity and full range of vision, including around the periphery of the lens. This is virtually unheard of in conventional prescription ski goggles and results from the curvature in SnowVision’s prescription and outer lenses. The lens – fully photochromic so it gets dark or light depending on conditions — is available as unifocal, progressive or bifocal. SnowVision’s components are made by high-quality vendors in Germany, Italy and Japan. Every senior skier who wears glasses should take special care when it comes to prescription goggles. There are some unsatisfactory products on the market, as I, unfortunately, have encountered. SnowVision is a breakthrough.

Please Help with This SeniorsSkiing Crowd-Sourcing Project

Numerous readers have asked about groups for older skiers. Some, like the Wild Old Bunch (Alta) and the Over The Hill Gang (multiple areas) are fairly well-known. SeniorsSkiing.com wants to compile a list of groups. If you know of any, please email name, location(s), a contact name and email and/or phone number to [email protected] The info will be posted on the site and updated as new info is received.

Special Discounts

EZ•Fit Auto Adaptable Insoles

Masterfit is offering 20% off any of its EZFit insoles (Snow and Universal models), Tongue Eliminators, Boot Horn and SkiSkootys. To learn more about these products, and/or make a purchase, visit https://masterfitinc.com. The Tongue Eliminators, Boot Horn and SkiSkootys can be found under “Fit Aids.” The 20% discount is good at any time. Simply enter the code SS21 during check out.

Use code SENIORSSKI to receive a 30% discount on online orders for any of Arcadia Publishing’s 27 ski titles. The offer is valid through November 7.

Holiday Shopping for Older Skiers

The Bootster ski boot shoehorn: ideal gift for older skiers

It’s really quite easy…and reasonably priced. The Bootster is an ingenious ski boot shoehorn so compact that it easily fits in a parka pocket. The little device unrolls to reveal a slippery surface that helps the foot slide easily into the ski boot…even when the boot is cold. Each Bootster is hand assembled and very well made. The price is $25 plus shipping. I can’t think of a better or more appropriate gift for older skiers on your list.

FeedSpot Now Delivering SeniorsSkiing.com Content

FeedSpot is an online service that consolidates and delivers news based on the user’s preferences. Happy to report that for FeedSpot subscribers seeking ski-related news, SeniorsSkiing.com articles are now part of their package.

Skiing in Taiwan?

Before global warming had taken it’s toll on so many places with snow, skiers in Taiwan frequented the island nation’s Hehuanshan ski resort. Alas, like so many other locations around the globe, there no longer is enough snow to ski there.

RIP: The Farmer

Dave Van Dame, The Farmer, was an Alta ski legend, skiing deep powder there for 48 years. He recently passed away. Those of you who were privileged to witness his technique are fortunate. Alta recently issued this short video tribute.

The Best Car Commercials

A thing of beauty: my Willys 1/2 Ton Pick Up

I recently sold my (unrestored) 1950 Willys half-ton truck. It was love at first sight several years ago when I saw it on a side street in Ouray, Colorado…a foolish purchase requiring far more skill than I had and more money than I wanted to spend. I concluded that, like many things, old cars can be enjoyed without ownership. During my infatuation I started to follow Hagerty, which insures vintage vehicles and publishes online and print content about them. This article about 10 “unforgettable” car commercials contains links to some funny and moving examples. Not skiing but a lot of fun. Click here to access

Glowing Down the Mountain

I’m glowing from skiing

This is what happens when you don your glow-in-the-dark one-piece and go night skiing.

5 Comments

  1. Kevin Toolan says:

    For the last 10 years, when I turned 65, I have done all my skiing at Okemo. For the 40 years before that I skied mostly at Okemo and surrounding mountains, with a yearly trip out west, to most of the resorts you mention in your article. A few years ago Vail purchased Okemo and the entire atmosphere of the mountain changed. It was definitely no longer senior friendly, in fact it was no longer friendly at all. Season passes are almost 3 times as expensive. While these ski conglomerates do a good job running the mega resorts, they do not come close to providing the same experience as the individual owned resorts. Kevin Toolan

    • Vic Polonski says:

      I agree. I’ve been skiing Okemo since 1976 (maybe before) and the attitude has definitely changed with the take over by Vail. I remember when the Mueller’s purchased Okemo and good things really started to happen. Now bad things are happening.

  2. Love the car commercials esp the paul harvey Farmer speech. Brings me to a story: just got my 64 Lemans convertible back from body shop in fall decided to use it skiing Loon one day. Drove up with a buddy, stopped at exit 30 to drop top and lift skis so they were hanging out of rear seat! Cool look! Then we froze for two exits to Loon!!! But we’re quite conceivably the only ones who came in like this with a 60’s ragtop all season!
    Hint: don’t do this too often: rear quarters rotted out in three yrs and had to repeat very expensive bodywork all over again!! Wisdom with age!!!

  3. I have a Booster and it works great. I no longer have to struggle. T o boot up in the morning.

    • Cansnowplow says:

      What did you get for a booster? Moderna, J & J or Pfizer, Kenneth? I’m not sure if I’m ready for the booster. It was a struggle to put my boots on in the car last year, so I am sure the booster will give ski area management some assurance you are safer in their eyes to allow those with boosters to change their boots in the lodge in comparison to someone without getting the booster still having to use the car to change. I have a fishing chair that I carry in the car and it makes it easier to sit on it instead of any of the seats in the car in getting your boots on. Gut buster!

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