Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Slopes’ changing demographics: More senior skiers

By
From page B3 | December 04, 2013 |

By Karen Schwartz

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — If you’ve walked into a ski lodge the past few years, likely as not you’ve seen tables filled with gray-haired skiers wearing sweaters so old they’re back in style.

That’s because the number of skiers on the far side of 50 — some on the very far side — has been creeping up each year, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Credit advances in artificial hips and knees that make it possible for skiers to continue enjoying the sport; shaped skis, along with better snowmaking and grooming that make skiing easier; and high-speed lifts and luxury touches like ski valets that make it more pleasant.

“There are no excuses,” said 93-year-old Klaus Obermeyer, the Aspen-based skiwear designer. Despite breaking his leg in a wipeout two years ago, Obermeyer still skis each day.

Sure, younger people still make up the majority on the slopes — the average skier is 38.5 years old — but, “The person who skis the most in a given year is 65 and older,” said Michael Berry, president of the NSAA, based in suburban Denver.

Bragging rights go to those age 68 and older, who averaged 9.5 days skiing last season. Boomers — those age 49 to 67 this year — also skied more than the national average of five times per year, according to an NSAA survey released in August.

“You don’t want to sit in your rocking chair and look at the view,” said 70-year-old Billy Kidd, who won a silver in the slalom at the 1964 Olympics. “You want to remember your days of youth and you love that feeling of adrenaline and dealing with the variables of skiing.”

Clearly, others old enough to remember Kidd in his heyday feel the same way. Those ages 45-54 made up 20 percent of skiers last winter, up from 14 percent in the 1997-98 season; the 55-64 age group made up 12 percent, up from nearly 5 percent, and those 65 and older rose to 5.5 percent from 2.5 percent, according to the NSAA study.

Kidd, who skis nearly daily in his role as an ambassador for the Steamboat Ski Resort, said one thing that has changed as he’s gotten older is his gear.

Indeed, Kidd is a walking billboard for the latest innovations. His skis and poles are lightweight carbon fiber. His Osbe helmet does away with goggles and replaces them with a built-in visor that provides better peripheral vision. He traded in traditional ski boots for soft Apex boots, which provide support through an external frame. (For putting on traditional ski boots, many older skiers swear by the Ski and Snowboard Boot Horn.)

“At 20 years old I didn’t care about comfort,” Kidd said. “I still have to have control … but the top priority for me is comfort.”

Certainly, there are challenges as skiers age, not the least of which is finding friends who are also still skiing.

Clubs like the 70+ Ski Club, based in North Kingstown, R.I., with more than 4,000 members, and the Over the Hill Gang International based in Colorado Springs with 3,000 members, offer camaraderie, discounted tickets and ski trips near and far.

Even those who retire to Florida still pursue their passion. The Florida Ski Council has 17 clubs in the state and at least one trip going every week of the ski season. The largest club, the Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders, takes about 1,000 people a year skiing, said Clair Quenzler, the council president.

These dedicated watchers of the discounts for skiers agree that the perks seniors used to get from ski resorts have been reduced as their numbers increase.

Several resorts have raised the eligibility age for discounted lift tickets, or they’ve limited deals to weekdays.

“To be fair to the ski areas, it’s a business for them as well,” said Doug Lofland, 56, one of the owners of the Over The Hill Gang International.

So what suggestions do experts have to help the rest of us ski into our Golden Years?

* Stay in shape.

* Try to choose slopes with less traffic so you can safely ski a little slower.

* Think about afternoon sun and shadows. A west-facing slope will have better definition.

* Be cognizant of higher altitude and hydration.

* Walking in ski boots can be more challenging than skiing, so companies have developed lightweight shoes, like Pakems, that you can carry with you during the day for a quick change.

* Consider taking a gondola or chair lift down the mountain if weather sets in or you’re tired.

* Consciously choose your danger level. “The repercussions of making a mistake are too great,” Kidd said.

And finally, enjoy, like the 89-year-old who sent the 70+ Ski Club a photo of herself skiing with her great grandchildren.

“There are not many sports four generations can do together like that,” said club president Richard Lamber5, 42.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Council to hear about drought pricing

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

    Downtown altercation leads to injuries

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Free beginner yoga class offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    NAMI support group meets May 10

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Dr. G featured on the radio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    End of life doesn’t mean life must end

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    With sincere gratitude

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    A wonderful day of service

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Please help Baltimore

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    He can’t give it up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
     
    Dangers from prescription pills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    .

    Sports

    UCD softball splits with Titans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Making memories at Aggie Stadium

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Marrone opens new greenhouse

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    New firm helps students on path to college

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8