Odds & Ends, W.S. Merwin, Ski For Light Part 2, Schneider Cup, Resort Reviews, BC Resorts Love Seniors, Mystery Smithy, Crazy Ski Ads.

Spring Arrives Tonight.

This week, there’s yet more snow in The Sierra, and a Nor’Easter in the East, leaving piles of it everywhere. There are clearly opportunities for extending the season well into the summer. The question is: When do you put away the boards? When you have to switch to rock skis? When you have to take the cover off your boat? When tennis brackets are formed? When you’ve had quite enough of skiing, and it’s getting a bit old? If when to call it a season is a decision point for you, imagine what resort managers go through.

The dilemma for ski resorts everywhere is when to close for the season. As long as the demand is there, then why not keep the lifts spinning, the trails groomed, the burgers flipping? But what if the vast majority of late season skiers are pass holders, that is, not paying for tickets, rather flashing an RFID? Hmmm. Ultimately, there is a cross-over point between income, cash flow, and expenses that will form the basis for the decision. Or, do some resort managers keep a perhaps scaled-down operation going to serve those few ardent customers who keep coming, despite an almost empty parking lot?  We’re curious how the closing-day decision is made. Is it different between mom-and-pop local areas and corporate properties? Any thoughts?

As for SeniorsSkiing.com, we will continue publishing into the Spring, for sure.  However, next week, we are taking our Spring Break, a week off for travel, vacation, and a change of pace.  Our regular next edition will be published on April 8; individual articles will be available earlier that week.

Ski For Light.

This week, we are publishing Part 2 of a series on Ski For Light, the non-profit, all-volunteer organization that conducts a week-long cross-country ski experience for blind, visually- and mobility-impaired people. Part 1 is a skier’s story, describing what one blind skier’s experience is. In Part 2, a 25-year veteran guide explains why he keeps coming back.

Perhaps you have some time on your hands as a retired person, or you know someone who is visually-impaired and want to support them. Volunteering, donating, or becoming a SFL guide are worthy, soul-expanding opportunities. We’ve met a couple of SFL participants—skiers and volunteers—and can testify that it can be a transformative experience. Think about it. Click here to find out more. 

Find A NGS Benchmark: Another Outdoor Activity You Can Do With Your Grandkids.

A National Geodetic Survey benchmark. There are 400,000 scattered across the country. Credit: NOAA

Here’s an idea for those spring hikes with your grandkids, fat bike rides in the woods,  or last-gasp cross-country ski outings. NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey is encouraging people to head to the local hinterlands to find “benchmarks”, collect data, and send on to NOAA. It’s called the GPS on Benchmark project. If you bring your grandkids, you will be teaching how data is collected in the scientific world. For a podcast on the GPS on Benchmark project click here.

A benchmark is a permanent mark or disk that is embedded in the ground or attached to a structure. Each benchmark has a known elevation and location that is used as a reference for maps,  charts, and surveying.  There are over 400,000 benchmarks located in all areas of the country, installed over the past 200 years.  Anyone can visit the bench mark of their choice, record field notes, take digital photos, and collect GPS observations or coordinates and then use online tools to send the information to NOAA.

Remember geocaching? This is the same idea, except your target is a benchmark, and your role is to collect data. You can find benchmarks in your local area by heading to the National Geodetic Survey Data Explorer and entering your zip code.  We were surprised to find NGS benchmarks scattered throughout our neighborhood.

Click here for instructions on how to participate in the process, what equipment you can bring, and where to send your data. 

Whiskey In A Ski Pole. What A Novel Idea.

From the world of inspired ideas turned into unusual products comes the WhiSki pole for your consideration.  This product is a ski pole that is also an eight-ounce flask for a liquid. From the name, you’d assume whiskey. Think of the whiskey pole as serving the same function as that brandy barrel around the neck of the classic St. Bernard.  We would have surely loved to have been at the time and place where this idea came out of the firmament. Must have been a fun time. The WhiSki pole has a screw-top in the handle where your choice of beverage is poured in as well as where you, um, drink from. There is a clear warning label in fluorescent orange that admonishes you not to drink and ski, but there are other times when the WhiSki Pole comes in handy.  See the video below for examples. For the skiing friend who has everything, click here for more information.

This Week

Co-Publisher Jon Weisberg continues his reports from the Italian Alps with this update on his week skiing with our advertiser AlpSkiTour in the Aosta Valley.

We honor the passing of American poet and conservationist W.S. Merwin this week with his poem, A Contemporary.

This mystery skier is finally identified after 50 years.

A new Mystery Glimpse comes from the New England Ski Museum. Guess who this Smithy lady is.  Last week’s photo of the helmeted ski racer on the cover of Sports Illustrated is revealed, and we share another photo taken at the same time.

Correspondent Don Burch has some fun with ski advertising, Tamsin Venn reports on the Hannes Schneider Cup, held at Cranmore Mt, NH, Yvette Cardozo describes how BC ski resorts show their love of senior skiers, and Marc Liebman praises a favorite, Utah’s Solitude Mt. Pat McCloskey takes a side trip to June Mt, CA, and is pleasantly surprised.

Thanks again for supporting SeniorsSkiing.com and please tell your friends. There are more of us everyday and we aren’t going away. See you in a couple of weeks.



  1. Michael Maginn says:

    This comment is from veteran ski journalist Dave Irons:

    Regarding ski area closing in spring, I recently received an email from one ski area announcing they would close 3/31, The GM stated that a check of the records showed that they had never made any profit by staying open into April. Having been close to many ski areas over the years I know well that once the sale of day tickets drys up all they are doing is diminishing the profits made during the winter and profits are hard enough to come by in the ski business.

    According to the notice of refusal to post my comments the word profit was the reason for it being rejected. This is the second time I have had a piece rejected. The last time was because I used the word “around”. I changed that piece to read “all over” instead and it was used. I think maybe you need to check these things. I realize the “New left” in politics consider profit to be a dirty word, but if that car dealer doesn’t make a profit he won’t be “around” to service your car. Ditto for ski areas.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Why quit skiing in the spring ? Season is just starting up in New Zealand & Australia. Some areas are FREE if your over 70 ;others give good discounts for over 65 ; plus the Kiwis & Aussies like Americans and are great hosts.Have been going down there for 4 yrs now and am getting my plans going for July,August & Sept. Here in Colorado between WinterPark & Arapahoe should be able to ski well into June.

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