You’re Never Too Old to Ski! 16
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

Author Connie Lawn with husband Charles at Utah’s Snowbasin Resort last year.
Bulletin - You are never too old to ski! In fact, skiing (like other things in life) just gets better as you get older. You may find skiing gives you more zest in life, has terrific health benefits in terms of fitness and circulation, and can indeed be a “fountain of youth.”

Senior skiing has enormous advantages. Besides being fun, it can be cheaper (and skiing can be a very expensive sport, as we all know). Most ski areas issue senior lift passes, which are at the same price level as the junior ones. Some areas will discount anyone with an AARP membership, although some of them try to make you wait until you are 65. Be persuasive and talk them down! Some areas give seniors free skiing, although the times may be restricted.

Another terrific organization exists for senior skiers. It is called “go50,” a global “over 50” ski club. It is an online discount ski club for skiers and riders aged 50 and up. For a fee of $50 a year, members get a discount card that provides hundreds of dollars worth of special ski discounts. Their web is One of the founders is Bill Chaffee, a hotshot skier and ski coach from the West who now lives in Massachusetts. Cofounders are Jim Buckley and Sharon Bray. Go50 was founded two years ago, and continues to expand its national and international discounts.

In general, senior skiers, who may have fewer family responsibilities, can have more fun and time for skiing. They don’t have to fixate about getting hurt (which does happen) and being unable to care for young children at home. They can be free to travel and spend as much time on the slopes as possible. Senior skiers can work part time at the mountain. They serve as members of a ski patrol or serve as ski ambassadors. The latter cruise the mountains with groups of visitors, showing trails and providing assistance to skiers lost or in trouble. In some areas, the part time workers are paid. But, in all of them, free skiing is exchanged for work. At times, free or discount ski equipment is also provided.

Nearly all ski areas have special programs for senior skiers and boarders, in addition to the discount prices. The Canyons, a spectacular area in Utah, gives a rate of $38 a day to seniors 65 and over. A season pass is unlimited and goes for $360 a year, if purchased early. If not, it goes up to $525. For those prices, you have access to an incredible mountain - home to many of the Olympics events. In New Mexico, where there are many retirees, Taos sponsors a special senior ski week several times a season. The instructors are all over 50. They focus on ways skiing techniques change as people age.

In addition to senior skiing, most areas have adaptive ski programs for disabled skiers. They may apply to seniors in some cases. These programs provide everyone with the opportunity to enjoy the snow and, if you hit it right, the bright sunshine and incredible, spiritually uplifting aspect of the mountains. In fact, I always say the spiritual side of skiing should never be ignored. Always take time to appreciate the view, nature, and meditate or pray while you are on top of the mountains. (Sometimes it helps on the way down!)

In addition, approach skiing with a sense of humor. In New Zealand, I met a terrific group called “one ski in the grave skiers.” They ski as often as they can, until their nineties or above. But, they are not fanatics. They spend a lot of time sitting outside in between runs, relaxing, talking, sipping a drink, and contemplating life. Surely, theirs is the correct attitude. Perhaps we should start more chapters around the world!

Remember, you are never too old, fat, tired, or out of shape to ski! But, you should find your health improves if you engage in such a magic and rigorous sport. After all, these are your golden years - live them up!

About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

Author thumbnail

Reader Comments

The Colonel
January 30, 2004
I do not believe the Canyons Resort in Park City hosted any Olympic Events.
Park City and Deer Valley, both next door neighbors hosted events.
January 31, 2004
Senior .. you?! Hmmm I would not have guessed ... my old maxim skiing keeps you young must indeed apply here!
Connie Lawn
February 1, 2004
Thank you both for your great comments!
Colonel - I did misspeak. I was thinking of the fact NBC headquartered at the Canyons Hotel, and did their reports from there!
Crush - love all your comments! Could you please send me your e mail again? Hope to meet you when we get out West.
How did you get your name? A "Turtle-Dude" on "Finding Nemo" shares it with you! Yours, Connie
February 1, 2004
1) ... write me, ski with me, :-)

2) Yup did not want 2 make a big deal with the Col. but we did just host the Today show .... but we see Katie Couric now and again.. . bet she will end up getting a pad here! How 'bout U ? ;-) The Grand Summit is havin' an auction late Feb. bet U can pick up a Grand Summit 1/4 share 4 way less thank 36,000 maybe even 15,000 I'll B there putting up bids .. see ya?
February 1, 2004
My handle?! "Crush" ? Given to me by Pam Chewning of the DC Fagowees (a competitor to my old WSI race circuit team the Zardoz Renagades) when got my Fasted Time Of The Day racin' at Blue Knob on a lucky day ... 'cause I was like Herrman Mayer "crushing" the gates and wailin' to the finish line! Took a real straight line that paid off ... unlike the time I did the same at Ski Roundtop and dislocated my shoulder! See Ya ?!??!?
February 1, 2004
Yup know the "Finding Nemo" scene as well ... a lot like me ! When I am 150 yrs old I will still B rockin' !
February 1, 2004
This is me in the UK Channel 4 LOL what a looser I am. I am 7 in "the Boy's League" LOL!
February 1, 2004
.. wrong above (computer thing) this is me...
tee hee
February 4, 2004
Not sure what it says about the health of the snowsports industry, but as skier demographics continue to get grayer and grayer, catering to the tastes of seniors should gain even more prominence on the agenda. By the time I'm 75 I hope they've perfected a rocking chair on skis just for me.
February 5, 2004
Loved your article. My only comment would be that I, respectfully, believe that you definately can be too fat to ski. It is almost impossible to find truly large ski clothes, there is a certain amount of danger to being too heavy in terms of getting on and off the lift chairs and of course the diminished stamina due to poundage. I think there is a significant amount of risk in an obese person skiing.
Dicky Do
February 7, 2004 is a great web site, and has saved me and my skiing buddy "Random Dog" a bundle this year. Imagine 10 days of downhill skiing, 2 days of cross country skiing, 2 days of cross country rental gear, and seven nights lodging for the grand total of $291.00. Here is the breakdown on our expenses: Wisp in December $7.00 lift ticket, $23.00 each lodging at Wisp Resort. Next day, Cross County at White Grass, $10.00 trail fee, $10.00 rental gear. Early Jan. Whitetail, $10.00 (Princeton Sports deal). Also in Jan. $2.00 lift ticket Timberline,(Ski Chalet deal), lodging at Fiddlers Roost B&B in Thomas WV.$23.00 each. Skiing at Canaan Valley, $12.00 lift ticket(2for1 from Canaan Valley Web site, senior rate), the following week, senior tuesday at Wisp, $15.00 lift ticket( they tried to charge $18, but we showed them the Web site info, we were the first to do so),lodging for the next two nights at Blackwater Falls State park, ($47 each, 2for 1 from their web site), skied again at Canaan Valley $12.00, and a day of cross country at Blackwater Falls ($15 rental, $5 trail fee). After a trip out west to Lake Tahoe in late Feb. to spend some big bucks, we have reservations for Canaan Valley for St. Patricks Day, $99.00 for three nights and three days of lifts plus we plan on an extra day at Whitegrass for another $10.00. Since we are both retired, we are able to take advantage of senior rates midweek. Keep up the good work with the dcski web site, and
Dicky Do and Random Mort!
Gary B
February 8, 2004
You know felice I'm a big guy and I love to ski and I guess your right if you get in my way my big butt just might squash your snotwadd butt
Connie Lawn
February 8, 2004
Thanks for all your responses, and the wonderful tips from Dicky Do and the others.
I still think everyone who wants to should get onto the snow. It also helps keep you in shape. Have fun! Connie
February 8, 2004
Dicky Do, you are my ageless, ski cheap HERO! Your post is one of the most amazing and inspiring I've ever seen on this website. I love to see old dogs work the system like your doing to the nth degree.
February 14, 2004
Took first ski lesson Dec 2003. Turned 47 early Feb. Have fallen in love with the sport! Look forward to fighting aging, gracefully sking down the slopes!
Sam Morishima
March 23, 2004
I have a ski and snowboard school in the heart of Sacramento and on Pier 38 in San Francisco called "Endless Slope" or I teach my students on a machine that simulates skiing and boarding called an "Endless Slope" (Think about a treadmill on a slope.) The students skis and snowboards on real skis and boards developing the skills of the sport indoors in a safe environment. I write because many of my students are retired adults who are trying to keep fit, maintain their ability to ski and quite a few wanting to learn and enjoy skiing or boarding for the first time. Their new found skills transfers directly onto real snow. Many of them tell me that not only do they actually ski properly and effortlessly for the first time but other sports such as their golf game have improved due to the lessons (mainly for the devlopment of balance and increased sensory perception in their feet, ankles and legs). What I wanted to say is as we grow older our balance becomes to degrade but sports like skiing allows us to maintain that ability to balance. Balance is critical in maintaining our helath and strength as we grow older. Skiing for many of my students is what keeps their quality of life on and off the mountain at a high level. I'm just happy to be able to help them achieve that quality of life through my schools.

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