It was pretty cool watching skiers race that tough Olympic course in falling snow. Their power, speed and control were remarkable. I only wish they were being cheered on with shouts and cowbells.

I’ll confess that the head-spinning ski and snowboard gymnastic events fascinate and confuse me. No clue of how they and most other events are scored. I prefer simple metrics like first to finish, most goals, or longest jump.

I also like events that are easy on the eyes. Figure skating and ice dancing fit that bill. Biathalon? That’s a whole other story.

It would be nice if the ancient sport of ski ballet were to return to the Olympic hill, or any hill. The terrific article on Ski Ballet by Margaret Fuhrer that appeared February 11 in The New York Times contains videos of Susie Chaffee and others doing things on skis that are slower and more graceful than any ski event I’ve seen in the current games.

Susie Chaffee, grande dame of Ski Ballet.            Photo: Hank de Vre

Ski Ballet was the only of the three original freestyle events that didn’t survive. The others, aerials and moguls, are entertaining millions tuned into the Games. Indeed, there may be some viewers who think that’s all there is to skiing.

Watching good Ski Ballet is watching a thing of beauty. Music accompaniment could be classical, jazz or rock. Watching aerials or moguls, my mind tunes into a soundtrack of hip hop and rap. Those downhill and Super G racers? The sound of fast skis on hard, icy snow is the best music of all.

Alyeska: 500”

Source: Alyeska Ski Resort

Alaska’s Alyeska ski resort recently surpassed 500″ of snowfall.

Visa Olympic Commercial

If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you’ve probably seen “Everyone Wins,” the Visa Olympics commercial that bends over backward to include a universe of diversity. The producers may have meant to satirize the crowded slopes problem. Instead, for active, older skiers, they produced a nightmarish scenario.

Aspen Bumps Minimum to $20

Old Aspen logo. Source: Aspen

Since November, Aspen has upped its minimum wage $5. The increase came in two installments, the most recent — $3 – bringing the minimum to $20 per hour. It’s significant on several fronts: It’s costly to live in or near most mountain towns, and Aspen is no exception. The increase may give Aspen a competitive hiring advantage over other nearby ski areas.

Skier’s Side Trip Saved Many Lives

I just read Nicky & Vera, the exceptional children’s picture book written and illustrated by Peter Cis. It tells the true story of Nicholas Winton, the Englishman whose delayed ski vacation resulting in saving the lives of 699 Czechoslovakian Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Prague. I mention the book here, because many of its wonderfully simple illustrations picture “Nicky” Winton with skis and poles. Winton arranged for the children to travel to England and be placed with families there. He kept his accomplishment a secret until later in life, when his wife, rummaging through their attic, discovered numerous scrapbooks filled with the children’s records. Eventually, he was featured on a British TV program where dozens of the people he had saved were present. The “Vera” of the title was one of the children. Nicholas Winton died in 2015 at the age of 106. Nicky & Vera was published in 2021 by Norton Young Readers.


3.7% of Boomers Participate in Winter Sports

That, accoring to a new report by The Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the trade association of leading industry sports and fitness brands, suppliers and retailers. In 2021, 3.7% Boomers (1945-1964) and 8.2% Gen-Xers (1965-1979) participated in winter sports. According to the report, in 2021, a total of more than 13.6 million people participated in Alpine skiing,  and more than 4.4 million in cross country skiing.  The report also shows that 35.5% of people 65+ are classified “inactive” in 2021. In 2018, the percentage of “inactive” was 40.7%. The study was compiled from 18,000 online interviews.

Alta Interlodge

Interlodge is Alta terminology for being confined to where you’re staying due to avalanche danger. My first was in the early 70s, long before cell phones, video games and other, more modern forms of entertainment. This short video explains Interlodge and includes Junior Bounois discussing a famous Interlodge event of the past. It’s a good one.


  1. Howard Vipler says:

    This past week was our first introduction to skiing with our new senior ski club in Colorado, The SkiMeisters, at Winter Park. The best part of skiing with the SkiMeisters is that you ski with a guide and a group of skiers if your ability. Our guide this week was our cousin Larry, and we skied at level 4 (there are levels 3-7). Sandie was in our small group of 6 skiers. One of the ladies in our group told us she was 88, and tore through the bumps like a young kid. Going up the lift with her she told she had been living in Winter Park for the last 45 years which may explain why she told me age is just a number. It appears Sandie and I are some of the younger folks in the club. And we look forward to meeting the rest of these fine folks as we ski with the SkiMeisters.
    Ski ya,

  2. howie, you are everywhere, man! – Steve Cohen

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