Wednesday, I skied Alta. It was my second day out. Snow was blowing. Light was flat. I felt the chill.

After a few runs, it was time for something warm. I headed for Alf’s and looked around for a familiar face. No one even remotely familiar.

Tje crew at Alf’s makes terrific soups and other goodies.

So I took my bowl of mushroom bisque (consistently good at Alf’s), walked up to a table where another older skier was seated and asked if he wanted company. He did. I sat down, and we had a pleasant conversation. Turns out he’s a Vermont ski industry veteran and, to my pleasant surprise, a SeniorsSkiing.com subscriber. We talked shop for a while and skied together the rest of the afternoon.

We know from reader surveys that most older skiers prefer to ski with others. In the past I was happy to ski alone, but with age, I enjoy teaming up. I don’t have many friends who ski so I pick up ski companions on lift or in the lodge.

If you find yourself in a similar circumstance — on vacation, not knowing other skiers, simply wanting company — don’t be reluctant to approach an age-appropriate (or younger) stranger and start to chat. If he or she seems compatible, suggest taking a run together. The camaraderie is enjoyable. There’s the opportunity to learn more about the mountain. And, if either of you run into trouble, there’s someone there to help.

ALTERRA MOUNTAN COMPANY: New Name for Recently Formed Ski Area Coalition

Announced last year, the group comprises Big Bear, June Mountain, Mammoth and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in California; Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Blue Mountain in Ontario, Mont Tremblant in Quebec; Deer Valley in Utah; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia, and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia. It will be interesting to see how Alterra’s to-be-announced season pass will compete with Vail’s Epic Pass.

CALIFORNIA

Achieve Tahoe provides winter and summer adaptive sports instruction for adults and children with disabilities. January 16-19 in North Lake Tahoe, it will host its annual “Ability Celebration & Winter Ski Festival.” The program is sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and Warfighter Sports. Thirty-four injured veterans will receive complimentary ski and board lessons (including individualized adaptive instruction and adaptive sports equipment), accommodations in the Village at Squaw Valley, meals, and transportation.

MASSACHUSETTS

Expect to see more about Massachusetts ski resorts on the Internet. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism and the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association are advertising on TripAdvisor. The campaign runs through March. The state’s 12 alpine areas produce 1.5 million skier visits each year. 

PENNSYLVANIA

The state has a great program for grandkids who ski or board there. It offers free lift tickets to all 4th and 5th graders, regardless of whether or not they’re state residents. As part of the program, first timers receive a complimentary beginner lift pass, lesson and equipment rentals. First time adults with them receive a 50% discount. Visit http://www.skipa.com for details.

QUEBEC

February 2-4 is the 4th edition of the Festival Rando Alpine Tremblant presented by Smartwool. Activities include alpine touring, trail fatbiking, dinner, and a nighttime climb on skis to Mont Tremblant‘s summit.

VERMONT

Ski Vermont continues its series of humorous videos with the hopes of educating people about skiing safety. Their release is timed to coincide with National Safety Awareness Month (January). Individual areas throughout the state will be hosting their own safety education initiatives.

Bromley will host its 15th consecutive Mom’s Day Out fundraiser, Saturday, January 20. Mothers receive a day pass in exchange for a $25 donation to the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center (SVRCC) based in Bennington. To qualify, mothers need to show a picture of their offspring at the ticket window. Last season, 400 mothers participated.

6 Comments

  1. I live in New Paltz, NY but have a season pass for Killington and Pico in VT. I am looking for ski companions.

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Check out Find Out Ski Buddies Near You. Top menu box on the right. The link will take you to the National Ski Council Federation where you will find lists of ski clubs in different states. Good luck.

  2. While skiing Taos a few years back I jumped on the lift with a couple my age. I mentioned that I was “new” to the mountain and they said that they would show me around. We skied all morning and then they broke for lunch (back to their condo) and I jumped on the lift with another couple for an afternoon tour of the mountain. Best day of skiing, snow and companion wise!

  3. william tidmore says:

    Blind in my left eye since age 4 I approached a guide and blind skier who was younger than my 75 years about 15 years. This was at Steamboat 3 years ago. We skied that afternoon together and it was great! Be open to all possible opportunities. Make friends for the day or even longer.
    Bill Tidmore M.D.

  4. Jan Brunvand says:

    I said to my wife Wednesday at Alta that the guy at a nearby table at Alf’s looked like Jon Weisberg, but we weren’t sure enough of ourselves to say hello. Yes, it was a blustery cold day with poor visibility. Better today (Friday) with more powder and, eventually, some sunshine peeking through the clouds. Sorry, Jon, that we missed you.

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