Many in the ski resort industry harbor an image of older skiers taking up otherwise profitable space in day lodges while consuming their bag lunches and lingering over a cup of coffee. I take offense at that stereotype. I prefer a cup of hot tea to coffee and I take my own teabag from home.

Clearly, the facility makes more selling beers than charging $0.25 for a cup of hot water. And, like it one not, a few lunchtime drafts are more likely to produce on-hill crashes than coffee or tea.

On a recent trip to the skateboard park with my grandson, I realized that good pre-season safety training might involve dodging boarders while wandering through the half-pipe.

Most areas have well-known secret places where skiers and boarders go for a bowl. Some claim it gives them greater awareness and control. I can see it working that way in mature minds and bodies. But teenage boarder boys and girls? Those are accidents waiting to happen.

Which brings me back to what we quote most from that American patriot, Spiro Agnew. I don’t intend to be a nattering nabob of negativism but looking at the hypocrisy in the industry (what industry, government, institution doesn’t have its fair share of hypocrisy?), all I’m asking is that the people in charge recognize that older skiers are a good thing. We keep their lifts occupied mid-week. We ski more. We make more skiing-related purchases for ourselves, our kids and our grandkids. We tend to ski in control and show consideration for others on the lift, in the lodge, and on the hill.

Rodney Dangerfield

Most of us have supported the industry through bad and good times. Yet, they keep taking away the discounts and other privileges. The majority of those still offering discounts have upped the age threshold…most now at 80; some as high as 90. It’s not that we need the discounts, but it would be nice to have greater respect. Rodney Dangerfield was right.

 

Killington Now Skiing

Vermont’s Killington Resort, the largest ski and snowboard destination in Eastern North America launched its 2021-22 winter season last Friday. It was the first Eastern resort to open for skiing and boarding.

Steamboat’s $269 Lift Ticket

Steamboat Ski Resort (CO), announced that a holiday/weekend day ticket will cost $269 when purchased at the window that day. Last season, Steamboat upped its day pass to $225 from $199. Most skiers will purchase in advance at a lower rate or ski Steamboat on their Ikon pass.

What a Run!

Markus Eder is an Italian freestyle skier of great nerve and grace. This 10 minute video shows him negotiating some remarkable terrain. Enjoy the show.

Ski Maps Galore

Remember the area ski maps of your youth? Skimap.org is a site with 16779 images of ski area maps. For example, listings for Mount Snow in southern Vermont shows more than 50 maps from 1957 to 2021. The Americas shows 8849 maps; Europe, 5100; Asia, 1633. There’s even 232 maps for fantasy ski areas shown. Viewers can upload maps after registering.

Reality TV at Mount Baldy

Given the ski area labor shortage, it made sense that the CBS reality TV series, Tough As Nails, would have its two teams race to fix chairs at Southern California’s Mount Baldy ski area. It broadcasts as Episode 2 of the show’s third season. Click here to preview.

Snowbird Patrol

Safety Keepers, produced with support from Mammut, documents a day in the life of two Snowbird patrol people. It’s short and worth watching.

Ski Area Map Making Made Easy

Here’s a fun time-lapse video of ski trail map artist, Kevin Mastin, painting Tennesee Creek Basin at Ski Cooper (CO).

14 Comments

  1. harold goldberg says:

    Jon
    The invitation to ski Hunter still stands. My wife will be be returning to the Hunter mountain ski school this year (40 years PSIA level 2). We could share that cup of tea and some more ski stories.
    Harold Goldberg (we met at Ella’s funeral)

  2. Great points, Jon. I’d love to see a response from the ski industry organizations, ski areas and product suppliers. This is an important market segment that will continue to grow. When was the last time you saw a photo in the media of an older skier without the family and grandkids on the slopes?

  3. Diane Belanger says:

    I enjoy skiing in Europe since there they don’t consider it just a young person’s sport. Being a 71 year old female skier is not such an oddity.

  4. Connie Grodensky says:

    When we were younger skiers, we anticipated skiing free at age 55. So much for that thought! On the other hand, still skiing at 67 and 68 brings joy beyond relief, and with a reduced rate at 70 (next year for my husband), we hope to continue skiing at our local mountain well up into the Over The Hill Gang years. As lift ticket prices soar into the great blue skies, being brought down to earth with a reduced price is a reward that we are still active, fit and still enjoy the call of fresh snow and blue skies. Happy trails!

  5. dick maynard says:

    I’m 82. And cheap. So for the past 20 years I’ve volunteered as an on mountain host one day a week and in return receive a season pass and a locker. I consider that a very fair trade. For someone skiing 40-50 days a year it’s resulted in a great couple of decades schussing the Colorado High Country.

  6. While I enjoyed the article very much, I find it amusing that the author would refer to a felon who was investigated for bribery and income tax evasion and later removed from office as an “American Patriot”. I’d think that after all these years it would be historically obvious that the Vietnam protesters were correct and the architects of that hideous disaster were wrong. other than that, thanks for the article.

  7. I’m sorry, but I find this piece pretty curmudgeonly. I’ve skied for over 50 years (85 days last season), so I have a lot of observations, and I think the stereotype of senior skiers Jon presents in his first sentence is not so inaccurate. Not everybody, and not 100%, but overall reasonably good, as stereotypes go. Ski resorts are corporations, with business models and bottom-lines, of which we seniors account for hardly anything. Most now-seniors aged out of skiing decades ago, and those of us die-hards who remain (and inhabit SeniorsSkiing) long ago figured out how to ski on the cheap. It is largely our kids who struggle to pay for our grandkids expensive ski passes, expensive ski equipment, expensive ski lessons, expensive travel, expensive everything, and weave it all into their work-lives, so it is they who get resorts’ attention. So I ask, what exactly should ski resorts to do for us seniors? Free passes in gratitude for our many years of patronage? I’ve been a customer of Xcel Energy Corp. for most of my life, but so far they have never offered to cut my electric rates in gratitude. Maybe I should complain to Excel.

  8. Oops. Make that ‘I’ve skied for over 60 years’. Senility rears its ugly head.

  9. Hollace Widdowfield says:

    We’re so disappointed in PWDR this year. We always buy Senior Passes and ski a lot! Hubby skied 100+ times the past season and I skied 30+ times. We also rent a season locker ( not last year due to COVID, this year unknown). They stopped selling Senior Passes and offer only a mid week pass so no weekend skiing. I don’t want to give up skiing (I’m only 75) but feel like I’m getting priced out! Grrrr PWDR!

  10. I never eat at a ski resort for a simple reason… the food quality is low and extremely overpriced. French fries, hamburgers, pizzas, sugared drinks and the like in my opinion are not fit for human consumption.. pity the young people who scarf them down at inflated prices. How about some fresh greenery, whole grain breads and good coffee. Toss the deep fryers.

  11. I work for Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in New York, we LOVE our senior skiers! Actually, we have hired quite a few to be instructors, with our oldest in his 80`s.

  12. connie wrote above:
    “… when we were younger… we anticipated skiing for free at age 55…”

    yep – so did i, when i was 20 something (in N.Conway, skiing Wildcat in them daze) – but now at 63, the ‘senior rates’ are mostly for 80+ !?

    and this, esp having bought both the epic and ikon passes for this coming season – and we gotta wear masks in the restaurants and bars???

    sigh…

    this could my last one…

    and the song of the wind in the palm trees is getting louder every day!

    aloha from ‘the shores of lake bonneville’
    dannooooooooo….

  13. Having just returned from 4 days in Colorado…..I agree it is expensive but the joy of watching your 4,5,6 year old grandkids learning and loving skiing made it worth the trip. This is our 45th year of skiing at Thanksgiving time and the crowds proved that there is a desire for all ages to head to the mountains. Yes I do miss the days of $10 lift tickets and $6 per night at the Loveland Pass Motel but we are still loving Skiing at 69 years old!

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