Do You Have Skiing Buddies From Way-Back When? polls show that most seniors like to ski with their friends. Our ski group of seniors has banded together for decades, getting together in March each year for epic skiing in Tahoe or Utah depending on the conditions. The common denominator in our group is our fearless leader Eric Durfee, Incline Village, NV. In the group picture, Eric is seen as second from left flanked by Mark Hutchinson of Vermont and Proctor Reid formerly of Vermont and now D.C. These guys grew up together and raced together as juniors.

Pat McCloskey's gang of life-long ski buddies. This lucky bunch of seniors meets yearly for Big Skiing. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Pat McCloskey’s gang of life-long ski buddies. This lucky bunch of seniors meets yearly for Big Skiing out west.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

The balance of the group on the right is yours truly and Bart Smith, formerly of Seattle and now residing in Utah. Bart was a college racing pal of Eric’s, and Eric’s wife Helen is an old friend of mine from skiing as a kid. I met Eric at his wedding, and we have had a lifetime of adventures ever since. Missing is our friend John Ingwersen who rounds out the group as a former college racing friend of Eric’s from Cornell. That was a long time ago.

Aside from Eric being the glue to this fun loving group, what makes a group like this stick together for those many, many years? Hutch says it best when he states , “We love the fresh air, the scenery, the exercise, the chats on the lifts, and dinners together.” He goes on to say, “We are lucky to have a leader who affords us a nice place to stay in Nevada. He does the planning of where we are to go and does a

Skiing pals at the top of Northstar where you can see forever. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Skiing pals at the top of Northstar where you can see forever.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

fantastic job of organizing us. He has taken a few individual, devoted, ski loving guys and provided them with an ideal situation to enjoy what we enjoy most.” Bart provides an alternative landing spot in Utah if Tahoe conditions aren’t terrific. Finally, Hutch states, “We have a wonderful mix of his (Eric’s) friends who have become great friends to each other.”

Between hip replacements, torn rotator cuffs, bad backs, and various worn out parts, this group of old guys managed to break an iPhone app record a couple of years ago when we logged on and managed 57,000 vertical feet of skiing at Northstar in one day. The next day, we each logged 52,000 at Mt. Rose. The app developer contacted me and asked who we were since we had broken the individual day record, and I recounted to him that we were just a bunch of old guys in their 60s who love to ski together and enjoy each other’s company. He was astounded.

The saying goes, if you finish your life with a handful of friends, you are a lucky man. This is our handful.

[Editor Note: Pat McCloskey is lucky to be skiing with friends he met many, many years ago.  Do you have a group of stalwart skiing companions?  Let us know your group’s story.]


  1. Mark Hutchinson says:

    What a great time we have! Looking forward to many more trips!

  2. Eric Durfee says:

    Our 2016 adventure starts this Saturday. Pat and Hutch arrive in Reno on the same SouthWest flight at 11:30am. When I pick them up at the curb they will already have their skiboots on!! We’ll be on the slopes at Mt Rose by 12:30!! Rose has a special that if you have a same day boarding pass you can ski the rest of the day for $39.00. Perfect!!! From there to Northster, Squaw, Alpine, Kirkwood, and a couple days at Mammoth. Can’t wait!!

  3. Vic Polonski says:

    Our group is called Senica Menica (you’ll never guess what it means) and have been skiing since 1974, primarily at Okemo, Vt. It started with a few guys from a company named Grumman on Long Island and by the 3rd year there were over 60 guys. For the next 25 years, the number stayed pretty constant. We are now about a dozen and includes “grand kids” in their 20’s – 30’s. We ski for 4 days during the week before MLK day and always go to Okemo and Stratton. We usually try for a 3rd mountain and this year it was Killington. Our oldest active skier is 83. Whatever the conditions (this year ???), we always have a great time, on and off the slopes.

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