Comments from a Senior skier
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Scott - DCSki Editor
January 30, 2022 (edited January 30, 2022)
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,205 posts

A DCSki reader sent me the following thoughts and asked me to post them to the forums.

Just wanted to voice opinion on the declining ski industry.

I love skiing however for seniors it is not skier friendly. As I understand the industry, we the seniors, were once the bread and butter for ski resorts. Our numbers, seniors, are decreasing while the new generations don't really want to ski. The sport has become too expensive. 84 bucks, mid week, for Whitetail and it is straight down the fall line skiing,  so boring.

The industry is missing a huge senior demographic by not introducing senior friendly skiing. Seniors are looking to be active and do activities in pairs and groups. Resorts need to find a better way to attract seniors. Most of us are retired and on fixed budgets. The benefits for skiing as a senior in our area are slim. We also don't want to ski all day.

It would help the bottom line of a resort to have many more seniors at a resort as opposed to none. Seniors also will spend more in the lodge. The intangibles need to be taken into account. Lift tickets need to be reduced for seniors and not just 5 or 10 bucks. A lot of us are on old equipment, straight skis, so we need to rent or buy new skis. 1,000 to 2,000 bucks for a new ski set up, no thank you.

Canaan Valley is heading in the right direction. Senior discount starting at 60, not 65 like Whitetail. They have a 4 hr lift ticket, with senior pricing for the lift ticket and rental. It costs 50% less to ski at Canaan vs Whitetail as a senior. The only problem is Canaan is 3 hrs away, tough for a day trip senior. Blue Mountain has a good program too. Timberline is somewhat good to but the only benefit is for repeated visits, credits to your next visit. The industry should consider paying per run or pro rated lift entry points. So much could be done to enhance a senior visit to a resort. It will not break the bank allowing seniors a nice discount. Better to have money in the bank than no money at all. 

Looking to ski this season at 63 but I'm not paying 150 bucks to ski at Whitetail, and they don't even offer a half day ticket.

fosphenytoin - DCSki Supporter 
January 30, 2022
Member since 12/20/2017 🔗
158 posts

There is a senior class program at Ski Liberty, although not well advertised.  It is called Silver Streak open to anyone over 50 years of age, class is held on every Wednesday at 10 am.

Non Epic pass holder: cost is $64, including 2 hour lesson + lift ticket.  

Epic pass holder, cost is $25 for lesson only.

Add on lunch is $12 extra.  

You need to go to Ski Liberty website, Lessons & Programs > Adult Lessons:  1) either scroll to bottom of screen or, 2) select Wednesday date to see this.  

I wish program / offering like this could be advertised in more places, enable seniors to access and sign up easily.  

This program started with SnowTime, it continues with Vail takes over. 

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snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
January 30, 2022
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,495 posts

A 70+ season pass for Hidden Valley is $155. And that is the not the early season rate. So I am not sure I agree with you.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
January 30, 2022
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Senior rates start at 62 at Massanutten.  Can get a 4-hour ticket.  A Special Value Pass that includes every day except the super busy holiday periods and Sat 9am-4pm is under $300.  There is more than enough variety to keep me entertained, with new terrain coming in the next couple years.

DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
January 30, 2022
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

There is no question that the acquisition of the former Snowtime resorts changed the options for people doing day trips from DC/noVA.  How much did the situation for seniors change under Peak Resorts?  The later acquisition by Vail Resorts does not seem to be thru the transition phase yet.  With the purchase of the three ski areas/resorts popular with folks in Pittsburgh, certainly would make sense to have a PA-centric Epic pass.

In the midwest, it's possible to get a 1-location Epic pass for some of the locations.  There is also an Ohio Epic pass.  As I remember there were senior rates that seems pretty reasonable.

I have a friend who has been very happy with the Senior Tahoe Epic pass.  That's existed for a while after VR added Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood to the portfolio.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 30, 2022
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,852 posts

Check out Bryce, VA if you can be happy skiing short, intermediate runs; cheap, good snowmaking system, less crowded, 2 hrs from DC.  Go to some of the preseason ski swaps to get used, late model skis.  They often are staffed by and benefit local Ski Patrollers, they will give solid advice on what eqmt should work for your skill level.  If you don't already own them, it's probably best to bite the bullet and buy new boots through a decent shop that will fit you correctly.

As an avid senior skier with a few years on you, in many ways the mega passes ( e.g. Epic and IKON) have made this the best of times for those of us with a little bit of disposable income and the ability to travel north and west to take best advantage of them.

Leo
January 31, 2022
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
323 posts

Another aspect of your opinion that I'll respectively disagree with is that the industry is in decline and that younger generations aren't interested.

I ski every weekend in the mid Atlantic region and skied one week this season in Utah.  Resorts are overcrowded.  With skiers of all ages.  Both at home and out West.

Sorry this "post" comes off as old man entitled/grumpy behavior.  And if you want to participate in the forums and share an opinion do so the way the rest of us do, not thru Scott.  LOL. 

SeniorSki
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
All thanks for all the great info. Sounds like this is a great place to exchange thoughts and get good info. 

Short background, skied in area since 1970, own but not usable 203’s 7S Rossi’s, Solomon boots, Marker Bimdings. Very accomplished skier, however have been out of sport since for 8 years looking to get back into the sport. After skiing out west, Jackson Hole the best! And many resorts in New England, it is mentally hard to ski locally and below the magical 1000 feet vertical threshold but still very much fun to get out on the local scene. You would think there is a 2000 vertical footprint in this area somewhere but who really wants to jump into the ski business in this area so many factors out of one’s control. 

There are many studies out there on the industry declining, percentage wise. It is becoming very expensive. There are many newcomers and seniors that want to participate more then once or twice a year. That is all I’m saying. I wouldn’t say grumpy 😁, just very budget conscious. With no annual income. 

Have a great season and enjoy the local scene. 


yellowsnow
January 31, 2022
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
286 posts
63 is old?
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
January 31, 2022
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Like many topics, what can be learned depends a lot on the sources.  And the timeframe of articles.  Given the pandemic, many articles written before 2019 may not apply going forward.  Last season was a banner year for ski areas in the southeast even with capacity limits because so many more people got out on the slopes midweek.  Lots of snowmaking temps made a big difference too.  With the snowstorms from SC thru PA, this season will probably be even better in NC, VA, and PA.

The Indy Pass is relatively new.  It's designed for people who want to ski but can't fit in more than 4-6 days because of assorted reasons.

Ski swaps will come back eventually.  But to get the most benefit, some research is needed to know what to look for.   Especially for someone who isn't that familiar with gear made after 2010 or so.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
January 31, 2022 (edited January 31, 2022)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

yellowsnow wrote:

63 is old?

 No, skiing over 80 is old.  ;-)

Although getting past 65 or 70 makes it a lot easier to find senior rates for lift tickets.  I started paying attention to senior rates out west when my primary ski buddy reached 65 a few years ago.  The cut off age varied a lot more than I expected.  The range was from 60 to 80.  Need to be 80 to ski for free at Alta.  That's because Alf Egen thought 70 or 75 wasn't old enough.

I turned 65 in 2020.  Didn't ski much as a working adult.  Started skiing more after getting my daughter started at Massanutten at age 4.  She's finishing up college soon.  Looking forward to the next 20-30 years on snow.

Crush
January 31, 2022
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,126 posts

Leo wrote:

Another aspect of your opinion that I'll respectively disagree with is that the industry is in decline and that younger generations aren't interested.

I ski every weekend in the mid Atlantic region and skied one week this season in Utah.  Resorts are overcrowded.  With skiers of all ages.  Both at home and out West.

Sorry this "post" comes off as old man entitled/grumpy behavior.  And if you want to participate in the forums and share an opinion do so the way the rest of us do, not thru Scott.  LOL. 

 

✔️💯 

Scott - DCSki Editor
January 31, 2022 (edited January 31, 2022)
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,205 posts

Ski areas have been overcrowded recently, due in large part to the proliferation of mega passes and a desire for people to focus on outside activities during COVID, etc.  But this doesn't mean new blood is going into the sport in a sustainable way.  Existing skiers are spending more days on the slopes.  First-time skiers aren't returning.

Every ski resort professional I've spoken to recently continues to be very concerned about the trend lines in the industry -- it is becoming increasingly difficult to convert first-time skiers into regular skiers.  Kenny Hess spoke about this in my recent interview.  And the crowds from the inexpensive mega passes can drive away new skiers too.  (Heck, they can drive away long-time skiers.  If your inexpensive mega pass gave you the opportunity to stand in multi-hour lines, are you likely to renew?  The crowds this winter are resulting in unprecedented visitor dissatisfaction rates for many resorts, and that will have a cost that's hard to quantify in the short term.)

There's an interesting conflict going on.  The cost of entry into the sport is higher than it ever has been.  Yet for regular skiers who plan on skiing many days during the season (and can manage to do both local and destination trips -- as well as ski on less crowded days, and already have their own equipment), the costs have come way down.

imp - DCSki Supporter 
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/11/2007 🔗
279 posts
the cost of a day ticket,rentals and perhaps a lesson is killing entry level participation.  people who drop $1000 for skis and bindings bitch at season pass rates lower than the 1990s.  
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,852 posts

Scott wrote:

Ski areas have been overcrowded recently, due in large part to the proliferation of mega passes and a desire for people to focus on outside activities during COVID, etc.  But this doesn't mean new blood is going into the sport in a sustainable way.  Existing skiers are spending more days on the slopes.  First-time skiers aren't returning.

Every ski resort professional I've spoken to recently continues to be very concerned about the trend lines in the industry -- it is becoming increasingly difficult to convert first-time skiers into regular skiers.  Kenny Hess spoke about this in my recent interview.  And the crowds from the inexpensive mega passes can drive away new skiers too.  (Heck, they can drive away long-time skiers.  If your inexpensive mega pass gave you the opportunity to stand in multi-hour lines, are you likely to renew?  The crowds this winter are resulting in unprecedented visitor dissatisfaction rates for many resorts, and that will have a cost that's hard to quantify in the short term.)

There's an interesting conflict going on.  The cost of entry into the sport is higher than it ever has been.  Yet for regular skiers who plan on skiing many days during the season (and can manage to do both local and destination trips -- as well as ski on less crowded days, and already have their own equipment), the costs have come way down.

 So true. 

The vacationers I talk to that are traveling with mega passes are having a ball, provided they effectively navigate prime time crowds.  Long time locals who are watching their resorts get invaded are not so happy.  Rode a lift at Solitude recently with a local who'd been skiing there for 50 years, many as a patroller.  He was livid that his Solitude has now become Multitude (albeit only on prime weekends/holidays/powder days).  A recent complaint he'd submitted to management got him an interview just that morning with the relatively new President/COO of Solitude.  It is the only mtn in Utah that is in the "unlimited" category for IKON pass holders and therefore it's a prime target for both locals and vacationers with that pass.

bryantfsu93
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/29/2021 🔗
14 posts

I think you need to be willing to pay a little more upfront.  I bet for 1000$ you could get setup with new/used skis and a season pass for next year (Timberline offers a Silver Pass for 209 bucks for the 60+ crowd, ski Mon-Fri as much as you want.  Being retired you should be able to get 20 ski days on the slopes. Year one costs you $50 dollars a day.  By year 2 the price is really low. 

Now if you only want to ski a couple of days a year, I think you are out of luck.  All resorts should probably have Tue - Thur specials for 60+.

Being a mid week skier is one of the things that looks good about being 60+


 

Blue Don 1982 - DCSki Supporter 
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/13/2008 🔗
1,541 posts

I was going to suggest mid weeks to save a few bucks and beat the crowds.  Then I saw this nightmare on a NON HOLIDAY MONDAY
Snowshoe 3 PM on 1/31/22.

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wgo
January 31, 2022
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,534 posts
Maybe Tuesdays thru Thursdays to beat the crowds these days?
Bonzski
January 31, 2022 (edited January 31, 2022)
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
599 posts
Today is a non-school day for some districts so a few parents I spoke with yesterday were extending until today. I didn't see the lines that bad yesterday (Sunday)!
mdr227
January 31, 2022
Member since 01/11/2016 🔗
169 posts
I often ski by myself or split apart from my family to ski some runs they aren't able to and am one of those people that always enjoy riding the lift with someone else and striking up conversation with them (though of course some people don't like that so you don't push).   Some of my most enjoyable lift rides over the years have been with people in their 60s and older (one time an 85 year old) that are often out there by themselves as well.    Love hearing their experiences and what keeps them skiing.    Would be great to see more options for 4 hour lift tickets like WT and Liberty had to make it more reasonably priced not just for seniors, but everyone though I think it would be great for seniors that don't want to ski a full day.    Discounts on private lessons or small group lessons at various levels for seniors that are offered more often would be great too.
Shotmaker
January 31, 2022
Member since 02/18/2014 🔗
133 posts
There wasn’t any lines at western territory today. 
BaySailor - DCSki Supporter 
January 31, 2022
Member since 03/7/2021 🔗
13 posts
A lot of the DC/Baltimore schools were closed today and some even tomorrow too for teacher work days.  I think that is the cause of it.  
SeniorSki
February 1, 2022
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts

snowbrains.com


I believe most of you might find this interesting, for me it is spot on. You can find other posts, pros and cons, draw your own conclusions. 
SeniorSki
February 1, 2022
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Again great info, thanks for the conversation. 
Didn’t know Massanutten is expanding, great news. Skied there many times, always wondered why they didn’t expand to the North. 
Epic pass or other names sounds great if you can managed the travel scene. Would definitely allow access to the bigger resorts without breaking the bank. Skied Jackson several times I believe lift ticket was around 50/60 bucks don’t really remember. Now it is North of 150, need to look that up. 
Skied Snowshoe many times. The pic of the packed lift is mostly because most of the front side runs funnel down to this one lift. They need to put in another lift or a 6pk/8pk lift. 
One of my favorite places to ski for varied terrain, steeps, trees, narrow trails, seldom crowded was blue knob. However it was only good if totally open and lots of natural snow. We would skip school, schuss, drive to Blue Knob, ski for 20 bucks. Included gas, lift ticket, sandwich and beverage from the lodge, snack for the way home, so much fun. 
Still nothing is good like up North or out West. 
Making the turns and enjoying the scenery is what is all about anyway. 
Hope we get a big dump in February then I will head to Canaan. 
Enjoy the turns. 
Denis - DCSki Supporter 
February 1, 2022
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,298 posts

There are a lot of issues with senior skiing.  Among them Declining capacity and accumulated injuries or just wear and tear on the body.  If I can make a good recovery from my latest surgery (spinal stenosis, 3 places), this is my source of inspiration,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H94M9so7mEQ

These old guys look like they’ve having a heck of a good time.  I know most of their places, have appropriate gear and it is well within my skill set.  Is it steep?  No but it’s powder.  Is it scary?  No but it’s powder.  Is it mogulled?  No but it’s powder.  Are there lifts?  No but the snow covered slopes speak to my soul in a way that lifts never did.

SeniorSki
February 4, 2022
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
You are so right about the body. I can’t ski all day like I use to. My lower back gives me issues but as you say the snow is so hard to give up. First time at Jackson Hole we where on the tram first top 20 in line. Skied the Hobacks all day, couldn’t even walk the next morning, the best sore legs feeling in the world. Now I can barely make 10 runs. After 10 years going to get back into it. Snow is calling. Looking out over the town of Jackson Hole from the tram summit is breathtaking. Hard to compare to the local scene. However it is what it is, enjoy the views, make the turns, get outside, spend time with your buds, time is short, even local areas can produce an enjoyable experience. Thanks to all the local areas producing a good skiing experience. 
SeniorSki
February 4, 2022
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Thanks for sharing, didn’t even know this existed. 

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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