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For those who started skiing later in life.....

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Like over the age of 40?

I know that some of you have started skiing over the age of 40 (I'm looking at you, @newboots), and I'm thinking about doing a blog post about this in the near future. So could you answer some questions for me:

1) What made you start skiing? At what age?

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?

4)What's been the hardest thing for you?

5) What's helped you the most?

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?

This should be an interesting topic!

Thanks in advance.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
I started at 53.

1) What made you start skiing? At what age?
My husband and I moved to New England in 2003. I was 53. I wanted to learn to ski, so joined a "ski bus." It loaded us up at 6:30 on Wednesday mornings, drove to a mountain somewhere within 3 hours drive north of here (north shore of Boston), and dropped up back around 7:00 pm. We never knew where we were going until we were on our way and the bus boss told us. We skied mountains in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. There was a reasonable annual fee for membership in the ski bus (the Hickory Dickory Docs), plus we had to pay for the day's lift ticket at the mountain of the day. Our bus boss worked out a group rate every time.

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?
I lived in flatland most of my life until 2003. Mississippi, Florida, central North Carolina, Missouri don't have much skiing. When I was a child my family did not have much money, so we didn't take vacations that involved travel, and we knew no one who did.

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?
My home in New England is 2.5 to 3 hours from good skiing north of me. Day trips are OK, but two-day weekends are better, and three-four day trips are better yet. As I got more and more into skiing, I was not satisfied with one ski day a week. I now try to ski 60 days a season since I no longer work in the "real world." The obstacle to doing this is financial, because I need to have lodging up north to do the overnights.

Oh, this is a big one. Boots that are too big has been a big obstacle to my gaining skills. I bought boot after boot, on a minimal budget I spent waay too much trying to get the right boot. I followed all the helpful advice about finding a good bootfitter and trusting him, but these guys kept putting me in the wrong boot. SO FRUSTRATING! Not all old ladies want a comfort fit, and I told them my goals. They profiled me as what they wanted to see and gave me the wrong boot year after year. I have finally found a wonderful bootfitter who respects me and put me in the right boot.
4) What's helped you the most?
If you are asking about what has helpedme get better skill-wise, then becoming a ski instructor helped me a lot. There's on-the-job training for ski instructors. I became a ski instructor because I was obsessed with getting better and wanted that training.

The occasional group lessons that I took before starting to teach were mostly worthless, and I didn't have the financial resources to purchase private lessons.

I also bought all the how-to books I could find, took notes, and worked on snow from those notes. I have my favorite books on technique, and still refer back to them.

Equal to the ski school training and the book-learning has been my participation in online ski forums. I may have learned more from online discussion about technique that from any other source.

What helped with the financial issue was joining a ski club in North Conway so I could have overnight lodging and ski two days a week. This introduced me to ski culture, gave me people to ski with, and allowed me to learn from seasoned skiers in the club. I now rent a condo for the season, and my husband comes up with me although he doesn't ski. This is better at this point in my life, but much more costly. We may buy a place one day.

5) What's been the biggest surprise to you?
Interesting question. I've been skiing obsessively for 16 seasons now with an intense focus on technique. One surprise was how hard it was to advance. Trainers contradict each other. Or seem to. Personal feedback has been hard to get from knowledgeable people. In a lesson, if the trainer doesn't tell each person whether they are getting it right or not, how are they to know? Many trainers don't do personal feedback. That was a surprise to me.

And then there's the body. It does things I tell it not to do, and it doesn't do things I do tell it to do. It is stealthy, and keeps these mutinies secret from my controlling mind. Video is helpful for realizing when the body is doing no-nos. Personal feedback from trainers is just as good. Both are harder to get than expected.

Maintaining a technial focus while skiing is difficult. When working to embed a new movement pattern while heading down a trail, there are so many distractions that the focus is often lost. I've realized this is not going to change, and have found ways to work with it.

All in all, my learning curve has been constant, but the gains have come at a slower rate than I expected given my determination and work habit. I'm OK with that now, but earlier in my 16 years I got quite frustrated.

6) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?
Oh. No one I know is a skier. I'm alone with this passion. They tolerate my skiing, but don't join.

7) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?
I've always loved school and learning. I became a teacher in "real life." Now I'm a ski instructor. The transition was seamless. Instructors get certified at different levels. Currently I am a PSIA Level II instructor. For no reason than just because, I'd like to get my Level III. It's the highest level of certification. This will be difficult since the "skiing exam" for Level III candidates asks them to do, among other things, somepretty athletic moves, and my 69 year old body so far has refused to do them. So I am working towards Level III. Is it in my future?? Well, if I get it next year at age 70, I will be one of the few who has successfully done that.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I was tweaking what I wrote about my boots in the biggest obstacle question #3, but it didn't make the 15 minute cut-off, so here it is with a few words added for clarity.

Oh, this is a big one. Being in boots that are too big has been a major impediment to gaining skills. I bought boot after boot, trying to get the right one, and I was on a minimal budget spending in a scary way, but I did it anyway because I knew boots mattered. I followed all the helpful advice about finding a good bootfitter and trusting him, but these guys, one after another, all very respected in the skiing community, kept putting me in the wrong boot. SO FRUSTRATING! Not all old ladies want a comfort fit, and I told them my goals and that I needed a performance fit. They neglected what I said, saw what they wanted to see, and gave me the wrong boot year after year. I have finally found a wonderful bootfitter who respects me and put me in the right boot. I am so grateful to him.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#7
1. I started skiing because of work!! I picked up ME, NH and VT as new territory for my desk bound job. My marketing field rep was a volunteer ski patroller. And he suggested a really good way to meet my clients was to attend an industry ski day at Loon. I said I couldn't ski, to which he replied: 'You can learn'! Started at 41.

2. I was a younger kid in the Midwest. By the time we moved to New England I was showing horses. A lot of kids from school went to Nashoba Valley in MA after school but to compete I was practicing (and teaching) with the horses every day. Or away at horse shows.

3. While I was still working it was time and distance. And an aging mother. And the cost of having to stay in a hotel/meals, etc. The other biggest problem is between my ears some of the time. :rolleyes:

4. I teach people to move well and it aggravates me that I can't magically see and fix myself! I want to be better, safer, faster and a bunch of other things. I need help to do that. AND getting new movement patterns to stick vs sliding back into comfortable bad habits. I am eternally grateful to my ski instructor and coach friends who offer me suggestions and watch me ski.

I also read books, blogs and follow on You Tube. It helps to re-visit what I've been told or have tried to do.

5. Biggest surprise? I'm going to have to think about that a while!

6. Almost none of my friends from home ski. And the ones that do still have to ski weekends. A few of my sailing friends don't like winter in any form. This year I've been lucky to have a couple from my yacht club come up midweek. Fun to see them and be a tour guide! I've made friends after five winters living in VT and those are the kindred ski spirits.

7. I'm pretty much a recreational skier at heart. I love being outside and marvel at how beautiful nature can be out there. So goal? Have fun, stay safe and go as long as my body and brain will allow!
 
#8
1) What made you start skiing? At what age?

I started at 62. I had a friend who was desperately miserable in the summer after a terrible breakup. We talked on the phone all the time, sometimes every evening. I discovered if I could get her to talk about skiing, her misery diminished and almost disappeared, replaced by a sort of elation as she described the freedom, creativity, and sheer joy of skiing. By the end of the summer I was dying to try it!

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?

I had very little interest. I had XC skied a few times in college and since, but without doing it regularly I never got very good at it. I have never considered myself athletic, starting in kindergarten, when others could jump rope and I didn't know how. I always thought athletic skill was something you were born with, rather than learned.

Also skiing was far too expensive. I've been frugal and saving for retirement most of my adult life.

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?

Fear, I suppose. I really, really don't want to get hurt. It takes so much longer to heal at this age. In the last decade I've sprained several ankles (at least three!), broken a metacarpal (hand bone), and nursed many bruises. I have a history of osteoporosis and currently have osteopenia.

On the other hand, I haven't had any of those injuries skiing! I ski more cautiously than my skill level would allow, but I'm getting better.

4) What's been the hardest thing for you?

I recently retired, which helps a lot with time for skiing. But I have switched from an essentially sedentary life to a very active one, including gardening, carrying wood, tending chickens, and lawn care, which has involved a lot of unhappy muscles, joints and tendons. I sacrifice skiing time for physical therapy and now, the gym. Exercise scares me, because I've been injured more than once exercising, so now I'm applying my caution to that process. Change is slow, the body is arthritic, and I wish I had lived differently when I was younger.

5) What's helped you the most?

Falling in love with a passionate skier! He has also been a problem, since he learned to ski at the age of 4, and has wanted to be the person who taught me to ski. But learning at 4 is pretty different from learning at 62. Now that I have some skills and I feel I can get down most trails (barring double diamonds), he is a wonderful ski partner.

Skiing together at every opportunity, and planning ski trips in New England, are big positives, as well as having someone to share my excitement with.

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?

That I can get good at this! I feel it this year, when I have - just in the past few weeks - started venturing on black diamond trails without a ski buddy. Mr. Blizzard and @Abbi are my usual ski buddies, and have offered encouragement down many new trails. But now I'm trying them for myself.

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?

With astonishment. My daughter is all for it, but after trying to rekindle her teenage interest in snowboarding, had a really bad time of it and won't return. I have hope for her to take up skiing some day, and Mr. Blizzard has bought skis for my 20-month-old granddaughter!

My friends are encouraging, too. But astonished.

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?

Racing Mikaela?

Hah. I want to be one of those skiers I see at any given mountain at first chair on weekdays. The retirees, who ski anything, but often gently. Who don't have to impress anyone. Who gather in the morning for coffee and are often leaving the mountain when younger folks are arriving.

I want to become a flexible, strong, sturdy old woman. I want to put off the years of frailty. I hope that skiing will help me do it.

And then there are the psychological benefits of taking risks, learning to connect to my own aggressive feelings, and feeling stronger in general, mentally, in addition to physically.
 
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BMR

Certified Ski Diva
#9
Ohhh, can I play??? This is my first post on this forum, and I have been lurking for a couple of months now. What an awesome community!

1) What made you start skiing? At what age?
I started at 42. This is my second formal season skiing. Full disclosure, I did ski a couple of times in my 20s but never with any kind of instruction, so I really don't count that. XC skied and ice skated as a kid, but was pretty bad at both. What got me started? Needed something to get my kids away from the PlayStation through the long NE winters, figured we'd all try it, and all of a sudden I am hooked. Whaaaaa?

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?
Fear of getting hurt. I don't like speed, hate the feeling of being out of control. I am overly cautious and NOT an adrenaline junkie. Because I tried a couple of times in my 20s with well-meaning friends and family taking me up a slope and telling me to "just go for it", it didn't go well, so I hated the experience.

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?
Fear! I need to feel in control at all times. Also I get super cranky at other skiers who dare to be within a few yards of me. How dare they :smile:

4)What's been the hardest thing for you?
Fear! Did I already say that? lol

5) What's helped you the most?
Lessons, lessons, and more lessons. Also YouTube videos and reading SkiDiva forums.

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?
I am actually getting better at this and starting to really enjoy it. I find myself thinking about it during the week and looking forward to the weekends when we get to hit the slopes. Like, who even am I? I started with barely getting down the bunny slope to about a Level 6 (according my instructors) in just 1.5 seasons.

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?
My dad is an avid skier and is super excited I am suddenly into it. My husband is happy we are doing it, and the kids are loving it as well. We are all progressing well. Husband (being a man, grr) has less fear and is advancing faster.

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?
I am doing non-icy blues fairly confidently now, and I am no longer in the back seat (hurray!). Next goal is well groomed non-icy blacks. We shall see if that will be this season or next. Ice freaks me out. I am guessing that will never change. My dad started in his 40s and is a great skier now over 20 years later. So there is hope for me yet :smile:
 
#12
Welcome, @BMR ! So glad to have you here! Where in New England do you ski?

:clap::welcome::clap:
 

rider

Diva in Training
#15
1) What made you start skiing? At what age?
Husband took up skiing in his 50s, so I followed at 58.

Wanted a new sport, had just put my horse down after an accident.

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?
No one in my family skied, and $s. Was constantly working and building a career.

When I started was slow due to "multi-bone break" horse back riding accident.

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?
Having the body do what the mind asks.

4)What's been the hardest thing for you?
Building confidence and mastering continuous improvement for technique.

5) What's helped you the most?
Private lessons.

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?
How far I have come in a few seasons. First couple of years were pretty dicey.

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?
Positive and see how much I have learned season to season.

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?
Continuously improve technique.

Continue to progress with more difficult trails. Currently doing some blacks depending on conditions.
 

kiki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
1) What made you start skiing? At what age?
- Living in the PNW, most people try skiing at some point. While I had some earlier exposure, I didn't really "start skiing" until 42. At that point, I had gone through some major changes in my life with family and work and committed to finding a better work life balance. My commitment was to focus more on myself and health, and finding joy rather than just living to work. Skiing seemed like a good winter option.

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?
- Money and time

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?
- Physical stamina, flexibility, strength and ability, as well as fear

4)What's been the hardest thing for you?
- It's been much harder to do physically than I ever expected, I battle constant fear, and some days it's really lonely.

5) What's helped you the most?
- Ski lessons
- Yoga and a foam roller
- An awesome boot fitter and boots that work for me
- This online forum and the support of women in this online community. Whether it is reading the experiences of others, or when people have reached out to me with encouraging comments, it has made all the difference.

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?
- How much I enjoy the social interaction on the lift or in classes with different people from all over the world.

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?
- They all think I am crazy

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?
- Make some ski buddies to ski with
- Keep improving my physical stamina and strength so I can comfortably get through a whole run without a break
- Conquer fear and be able to enjoy the experience calmly and have fun on the mountain!
- Improve technique and ability - move up safely to black terrain and handle bumps with ease.
 

Tvan

Angel Diva
#18
1) What made you start skiing? At what age?

My husband had skied as a little boy, and desperately wanted to try snowboarding. I agreed to go, take a skiing lesson, and cross it off my “tried it” list. We were at the Dartmouth Skiway and my instructor was a retired professor who totally “got” adult beginners. I had a great experience and wanted to do more. We went home, rented equipment, and proceeded to ski every winter weekend. I was 45.

2) Why didn't you start skiing earlier?

I grew up in a family of musicians. Physical activity and sports are discouraged because my parents were afraid of me getting hurt and not being able to play my violin.

3) What's been the biggest obstacle (if there is one) to your skiing?

Overcoming the fear of falling, and the fear of getting into a situation on the hill that is beyond my ability to manage.

4)What's been the hardest thing for you?

Learning that I am actually very athletic, and thinking of myself in that light.

5) What's helped you the most?

The Okemo WAA Program, skiing with other women my age and ability, the advice and friendships from this forum.

6) What's been the biggest surprise to you?

That I can actually ski! And that I love winter!

7) How have your friends and/or family reacted to your skiing?

Most are encouraging and envious.

8) What are your skiing goals? And what do you see in your future as a skier?

I want to ski in control and with good technique for as long as I’m able to.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Thanks, @liquidfeet. One more question for you: what's been the hardest thing for you?
Oh, I missed that question.
The hardest thing has been figuring out how to deal with non-skiing family members who don't share nor understand my passion. I also don't have any friends who ski. Membership in ski clubs helped at the beginning, but leaving non-skiing family behind every weekend certainly had its issues. Family now comes north with me on the weekends :thumbsup:. And then, since I'm an instructor now, that structure provides a friendly home base where my interests align with everyone in the room.
 
#20
Oh, I missed that question.
The hardest thing has been figuring out how to deal with non-skiing family members who don't share nor understand my passion. I also don't have any friends who ski. Membership in ski clubs helped at the beginning, but leaving non-skiing family behind every weekend certainly had its issues. Family now comes north with me on the weekends :thumbsup:. And then, since I'm an instructor now, that structure provides a friendly home base where my interests align with everyone in the room.
What do your non-skiing family members do while you’re skiing?
 

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