Free Skiing For Seniors: Early Observations.

One of the most popular features on SeniorsSkiing.com is our annual listing of resorts that offer free or almost free skiing for seniors. “Almost” free means a lift ticket or a season pass that can be had for a token amount, usually a processing fee or relatively small cost.

For the past several weeks, the lights have been burning late at SeniorsSkiing.com Headquarters. We’ve been waiting for resorts to post their 2019-20 rates, and many started appearing in September and late August. In a couple of weeks, after we’ve verified the final outliers and settled on a new format, we’ll publish our 2019-20 listing of free or almost free skiing in the US and Canada as Subscriber-Only Content. [Subscriptions to SeniorsSkiing.com are free, by the way.)

The process of finding and verifying senior rates is time-consuming. We have to go to each resort’s website, find the lift ticket and season pass rates, search for the senior eligibility age, and note it all on our spreadsheet. Some resorts have clear and easy to navigate sites, others have sites that are clearly amateurish. Others have one website for combined winter and summer activities, adding another layer or two of clicking.

But in going through the process of finding each resort’s pricing plan, we’ve noticed something of a trend. Call these observations rather than findings.

Many of the destination or big, brand name resorts offer free or almost free skiing for seniors beginning at 80 years of age. Those same resorts may or may not offer a discount for 65-79, varying from 10 percent off a regular adult pass to 40 percent, mid-week being the most cost-effective offering.

And many of those big resorts do not make it easy to find the offer of free skiing for 80+ on their websites. In fact, when we saw a separate price for, say, 65-79 year olds, that was a tip that there was something going on for 80+. We had to confirm many of those with an email to the resort. In other words, the free skiing for seniors 80+ option is not clearly obvious on many big resorts’ websites.

On the other hand, when we went to small and mid-sized resorts, the rates for seniors was more likely to be upfront and clearly displayed. These rates were usually found on a table where prices for kids, adults, military, college students, and seniors were immediately accessible. And there are great deals,

For example, Michigan’s Mt. Holiday has free skiing starting at 65. Monarch Mountain in Colorado has free lift tickets for 69 year olds and a $20 fee for a season pass. McIntyre Ski Area in New Hampshire offers a free lift ticket for 65 + and a $30 season pass. For many small or mid-sized resorts, the discounts or free skiing start to kick in at 70.

A couple of observations to share;

  1. You have to ask about discounts at big resorts, regardless of what you find on the website. Call and talk to a person.
  2. Generally, small and medium-sized resorts are the ones that have big discounts and free skiing for seniors. While not necessarily glamorous destination resorts, they are the first line of affordability for seniors. For those who are complaining they are being priced out of the sport, look for those kinds of resorts.

Update: Unsafe Skiers

Last week, we published an article by SeniorsSkiing.com correspondent and XCSkiResorts publisher Roger Lohr, recounting his hit-and-run collision with another skier. That story plus our survey question about “What Pisses You Off?” got a lot of comments from readers. So, we are pursuing some of the questions raised about whose responsibility it is to monitor and control on-slope speeding. We have some inquiries being made to the National Ski Patrol, and we’ll let you know what we hear.

This Week

George Is Da Man. Credit: Harriet Wallis

An inspiration to us all, George Jedenoff is the senior-most senior skier. At 102, he still enjoys the outdoor winter at Alta. Harriet Wallis has alerted us to his autobiography which is available and accessible by download for free. Check out his story here.

We are launching our first Mystery Glimpse of the season.

Thanks to the many wonderful ski museums around the US and Canada, each week, we publish an historic photo of a person, place, or thing that they contribute, and you have to guess what it represents. As for this week’s pictures, it’s really not what you think.

Also, co-publisher Jon Weisberg adds an appreciation of Doug Coombs, daredevil, risk-taker, celebrated skier of the steep and deep. Jon found Tracking The Wild Coomba, a biography of an extraordinary outdoors man and adventurer, in a book store on Cape Cod this summer. Click here to read his tribute.

SeniorsSkiing.com correspondent Don Burch offers another fun puzzle about skiing, this time a word puzzle. Give it a try.

Ben White skied the NH 48 as a teen.

Finally, we are posting an interesting article by Ben White, who, as a teenager, managed to ski New Hampshire’s famous 48 peaks over 4,000 feet in one season. He is sharing what he learned about skiing off-piste, lessons he learned the hard way. If you’re a backcountry skier, see what you can learn from his experience.

Thanks for reading SeniorsSkiing.com. Please tell your friends. Remember, folks, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.

9 Comments

  1. Avatar Toby Brimberg says:

    I’m 78 years young and I just retired from ski teaching and race coaching after 50 years. I’m a PSIA level III certified instructor. I live in central CT, Cheshire. I’m wondering if you have trips where you’d want someone to give basic instruction, etc. I’m looking to stay somewhat involved. Once a coach always a coach. If your interested please have someone reach out to me. Thx

    • Avatar Michael Maginn says:

      Hi Toby: SeniorsSkiing.com does not run tours. However, our advertiser does: Check out the 70+ Ski Club here:https://70plusskiclub.org/

    • Toby, I am also 78 and a pretty good skier but not a level III instructor. I have a place in Park City, 3 Bed, 3 bath condo on the access road to Park City Mountain. My grandson will be 11 this November and he and my daughter are meeting me in Park City for the last week in March and the first 10 days in April. I taught my grandson how to ski starting at age 4 and last winter and for the winter before he was skiing with the US Ski Team farm team as a guest. He is pretty damn good because they put him with the 12 year olds. If you are still able to ski double blacks in the fall line (I cannot) and want a free stay in Park City in exchange for skiing with my grandson then you should reply to [email protected]. Tom

  2. Regarding the update on unsafe skiers. It is resort management and the resort association that need to be approached. The ski patrols work for the resorts, and do not set policy.

    • Avatar Michael Maginn says:

      Thanks, Steve. Good point. Let’s see what NSP’s official policy is. Awaiting response…

      • As a 15 year active member of NSP and 73 yrs old, general policy is we do not have the authority to arrest anyone but it is our duty to advise management of an unsafe situation and to advise that the sheriff’s department be contacted.
        If we track down a hit and run skier, at our resort, depending on their response, we will pull their ticket, at the very least and require them to meet with the head of the patrol. Again, depending on their response, they might be banned from the resort and other nearby resorts will be advised. Hit and run in skiing is treated like a vehicle hit and run. All damages and medical expenses are the responsibility of the perpetrator.

    • You are 100% correct Steven. The way to get this done is to approach the “big guys”. I’m talking about the one that have many mountains under one pass. We all know who the two top ones are. Once these guys are on board many others will follow. After all, what’s a better advertising tag line than “.. SAFETY and FUN are our two top goals for ALL our visitors. We strongly enforce it thru our patrollers and ambassadors!” ..

  3. Im Dick Brooks, 82 and a member of 70+ ski club. I have been a member of various ski clubs, until my mid 70’s. As the years went on I found members of these clubs to be the age of my children. At that point I felt l had less in
    common with my fellow skiers and fortunately found 70+ Ski Club.

    Typically I ski Purgatory and read that 70+ had a trip to Vail. I figured that Icould join and sign up for this trip since it was only a 5 hour drive.
    The rest is history. I so enjoyed visiting and and sking with folks my own age that I have continued taking 1-2 trips a season with this great organization.

  4. Maybe we can ski together sometime this winter at Ski Santa Fe. I am a Veteran and 74. I ride the train and bus from Albuquerque to Ski Santa Fe for free and also ski for free. I have also put together a blog https://theoldmanandthemountain.wordpress.com that combines being a senior skier and a Veteran. In particular, combining my Epic Military Pass with https://notforgottenoutreach.org/programs/military-appreciation-ski-weekends/ so I can ski for $40 at Taos and then head on to Vail via skicooper.com at Leadville.

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