Life Happens. We Get Older And Our Spouses Pass Away. That’s When We Ski Alone, Often Really Alone.

“Take some runs with us,” say Howard and Naimi. Credit: Harriet Wallis

This is a true story, and a sad story. It’s just one of many similar stories. It might sound like sour grapes, but the goal is to offer a perspective on what it’s like to ski as a widow. The story has a perfect ending because of five great words.

It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The road is clear and dry as I head up the canyon. The radio keeps me company until the signal fades into hissing static. I shut it off and drive the rest of the way in silence.

Whether you’re widowed or single by choice, there’s often a lot of silence. Skiing can offer camaraderie.

The mountain comes into view. It sparkles with fresh snow. What a great day to be alive and to ski.

The lodge is filling up with skiers. Sue and John tap me on my shoulder from behind, and we greet each other with hugs. As we gear up and stuff our feet into ski boots, I hear about their summer, their travels, and their projects. They’re having a great time.

But as we finish gearing up, Sue looks across the lodge and abruptly says: “Our friends are here. Bye!”

Those are not the best five words to hear.

Widows and singles are often cast off because we’re not a couple. We’re misfits. But we shouldn’t have to go two-by-two to qualify. It’s not Noah’s Ark. It’s the ski slopes!

I ski alone.

But then the day takes a turn.

It’s bitter cold on the mountain. Skiers pour into the mid-mountain lodge to thaw out. On the way to get a hot chocolate, I encounter Naomi and Howard. They’re hard core skiers with lots of enthusiasm.

Howard sees there’s no one with me and says: “Are you skiing by yourself? Take some runs with us.”

“Take some runs with us” are the five best words to hear when you’re skiing alone. They’re magic words. They reach out with camaraderie and kindness. “Take some runs with us” are five words that anyone can say to make someone’s day brighter.

Many ski areas have senior groups that ski together. But you don’t have to be part of any group to say: “Take some runs with us.” Seniors who are skiing alone will appreciate your kindness.

Camaraderie is the key. At Alta, the senior group is the Wild Old Bunch, and they can be identified by the large smiley-face patch on their jackets.

The 70+ Ski Club is a nationwide ski club that offers a variety of week long ski trips. Upcoming trips include skiing in the U.S., Canada and France. And the club is an advertiser in

[Editor Note: Some resorts sponsor and/or support senior clubs. Waterville Valley has its Silver Streaks, for example.  Other resorts, like Dodge Ridge, offer senior week specials including lessons, races, and gatherings.  Ski clubs are a sure place to ski with other seniors. These communities offer a chance to meet new friends and share the experience of snow sports.]


  1. Lynne Zucchi says:

    Sunday River in Newry Maine has a very active over 50 ski group. Prime time ski club. Find us any week day at the Peak lodge lower level at 10 am for a brief meet up and we guarantee you will have new friends to ski and socialize with .

  2. I have a husband but I still always ski alone because we are at different levels. To me it isn’t odd because I’ve never really skied with people. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, what you’re used to and consider “normal”.

  3. Silver Skiers is a 50+ club at Mt Rose Ski
    They meet Mon and Fri 9:00 am at the lodge

  4. Most of the areas around Spokane have “Prime Timers”. They often have a function at different areas on different days of the week.

  5. Richard Kavey,MD says:

    Check out The Sizzlers at Snowbird with charter members including Guru Dave Powers (original Sizzler name – Disco), Kurt Kurtzer, Chuck Graham (aka Gramp Pa), Connie Cruiser, Larry Lex Luther and Mark Jones. The Sizzlers have been shredding The Bird almost daily for forty years. They are great big mountain skiers – some with past ski racing success – who know in bounds, out bounds, side area and play the snow, temp, wind direction, exposure game much better than Rommel planned El Alamein. I was Sizzler auxillary with regular commutes from the right side of the country. They taught me how to play big mountain big snow second only to the Monashees. And Be sure to check out Coolwhip George Lorant.

  6. Bruce Lund says:

    I have skied alone for many years, at least at the beginning of a ski trip. My wife stays at home and keeps the home fires burning. Alta is one of my favorites and I often meet the Wild Old Bunch at lunch time. They have always greeted me as a good friend even though I am not a Utah resident.. That is what skiing is all about- unbridled friendship!!!!!

  7. boyd allen says:

    Bromley has the Silver Griffins. Great group of people.

  8. Naomi Karten says:

    Harriet, here are 5 more words: We enjoyed skiing with you! And 5 more: Hope to do it again! You made a wise observation as we rode up the chairlift when you said that even if we don’t always ski at the same pace, we go up at the same pace.” Lots of time to connect! (5 more words!) ~Naomi

  9. Chic lasser says:

    Heading to aspen after Ski Show in February. Skiing alone looking for ski mates. Any help?

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