I write this column every week to share information and ideas about being in and on the snow. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of being there this season. It’s still a week or so off.

Sometimes it’s clear what I’ll write about: there’s a new survey; we’ve published one of our annual lists; Big Skiing, Inc. is systematically removing senior benefits. Those and other topics get a fair number of responses. Other times, the subject d’jour doesn’t present itself so easily and the dearth of reader comments reflects it. But, I always enjoy assembling the words.

More than one reader has accused me of naiveté because of comments about the amounts seniors spend when they go skiing. We explored that area in a reader survey at the end of last season and found that 56% of respondents reported they spent between $1000 and $5000 per person last season on skiing, boarding, and related activities. More than 10% spent $5000 or more, per person.

Those figures are “grossly in error,” wrote one reader who claimed the figure should be closer to $5 per day. Our data comes from survey questions that had almost 2000 responses. The resulting information reflects input that shows higher levels of spending. I can’t argue with what the reader observed in the lodge at her area of choice – those elderly $5-a-day brown baggers are found at many areas – but our surveys collect data from a large group. Unless readers have conspired in a massive fib fest, I’ll accept the survey results as closer to what actually happens when seniors go skiing.

Another recent survey result is that grandparents play a major role introducing grandchildren to the sport. This may be obvious, but I don’t think it is fully appreciated – especially by Big Ski, Inc., which relies on newbies to fuel its future. In the past 35 years, the number of skiers and boarders hasn’t grown. I have two young grandkids just starting out. We encourage them with related gifts. The survey that validated this concept. It showed that once introduced, almost 95% of the grandkids stay with it.

Like all surveys, ours are not perfect. But the questions are carefully written and the number of responses large enough to be accurate.

If you have topics you’d like explored in Short Swings!, please let me know. Alternatively, if you’d like to express your own interests on these paperless pages, we’re always open to article ideas and article submissions. They could be about your personal experience, your ski club activities, interesting skiers you know, etc. Click here for submission guidelines. 

Vermont Adaptive Snow Ball Fundraiser, Feb. 2 at Sugarbush

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports will host its fourth annual Snow Ball fundraiser, Thursday, February 7, at Sugarbush. Tickets are $40 for individuals and $70 for couples. For more info, click here.

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

January is the 11thannual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Resorts across the country have great deals on beginner learning programs. Since its inception in January 2009, resort partners have provided 957,250 beginner lessons during the month of January. For more info, click here.


Liftopia Launches Hosted Ski Bus Trips

Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for ski lift tickets and mountain activities recently launched “Liftopia Experiences,” hosted ski bus trips. Liftopia Experiences are available in major metro markets in the U.S. and Canada including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Minneapolis and Toronto. The trips include round-trip transportation to ski area along with lift tickets, rentals, lessons, and accommodations. For more information, click here.

Join Us in the Alps

Join us the week of March 10 when we ski in the Aosta Valley with guides from AlpskitourEach day, we’ll go to a different resort in Italy, Switzerland and France. The all-inclusive price — $4,500 to $5,500 per person– depends on where you fly to and whether you stay in a 3 or 5 star hotel. Orsden is a sponsor and giving a parka to each participant. If interested, email me: [email protected].

Coming Soon: SeniorsSkiing.com Annual Fundraising Campaign

In a few weeks, we’ll start our second annual fundraising campaign. Please support our efforts to bring you weekly information and to advocate on behalf of older snow sports enthusiasts. Thank you!


  1. Lenny Wolkstein says:

    I have 2 grandchildren, now aged 14 and 12. Every year sincethey were 4 & 2, I have taken them and their parents along with there parents and my wife for a week to ten days at Snowmass. This year, I will also be taking my son and grandson to Aspen/Snowmass for Martin Luther King weekend. I will ski Aspen/Snowmass for a total of 5 weeks and 3 days this season. My wife will join me for 2 of those weeks. All of the above, including equipment, lessons and lift tickets for the grandchildren are paid for by me and my wife. A friend will also join me for three of the ski weeks. Who says that seniors don’t spend any money at ski resorts.

  2. dave hoffman says:

    Two topics: I responded to the survey regarding how much we spend on skiing. I don’t buy equipment every year but I spend 2 weeks in Colorado each March and my wife and are are ‘Senior Skiers’. Our 2 weeks cost a total of $5000 for season pass, lodging and food. Yes we do pack a lunch while on the slopes at $10.00 for a baked potato with chili, a lunch cuts costs. I have seen a family of four spend at least $50.00 at Breckenridge for lunch. Not for the second part: I work in a ski shop and when parents and grandparents are buying equipment for the kids and discuss where to ski, I suggest two resorts in Colorado that have free skiing for kids 12 and under. I would think more resorts would consider this as it brings families to their area (one kid skis free when one adult buys a lift ticket), this would introduce a younger generation to the sport and be somewhat economical for the parents/grandparents.

  3. Bruce Kingsolver says:

    I recently spoke with my nephew who is a student at Colorado School of Mines. His parents put him on skis when he was three, and for a lot of his childhood the family had season tickets at Taos, going at least 2-3 weekends a month. I asked him if he planned on going skiing before the new semester started and he said he couldn’t afford it. Not only that, he really didn’t know what a lift ticket cost, telling me it was $200 a day. The last time he went skiing was a year ago when he visited Durango with his parents.

    If the ski companies are pricing themselves out of a future, they’re making a big mistake. A lift ticket was $4.50 when I started skiing, and even back then that was affordable for a high school kid. Yes, millionaires spend big at their resorts, but they aren’t going to keep the lifts running by themselves.

  4. Bob Margulis says:

    I’ll be leaving in a week for 5 days at Whitefish–where I now have a Super Senior FREE Season Pass. I haven’t left my home but the vacation has already cost me $1,000 between airfare and lodging. And no, I won’t be bringing my lunch, I will be getting a locker for my skis for 5 days, will probably have at least one dinner on the mountain and will get my skis tuned while there. I have a cabin looking out at Grand Targhee which is where I would be if it were not for the free season pass at Whitefish. I’d say that Whitefish comes out ahead on this one since if they didn’t give me a free pass they’d have lost this other revenue but would still have to pay staff and run lifts.

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