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Tips for advanced skiers over 50 planning to ski until 80+

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
In addition to strength, cardio and flexibility, I am a huge fan of balance work in the off season. So much of skiing is about balancing, especially on one leg, and two, while having to move up and down and finding stability while being constantly challenged. The better ski fitness programs in our area have a very strong balance component around week three that gets added to the mix.

Teaching novices, especially older adults, the balance is sorely lacking even out of ski boots, let alone while gliding over a slippery surface.

One local instructor, Bill Briggs, the first person to ski the Grand Teton, was still teaching this winter at the tender young age of 89! All this with a permanently fused hip. I used to watch him doing summer trail work well into his late seventies at the Snowking where he taught.
 

Bowl

Certified Ski Diva
In addition to strength, cardio and flexibility, I am a huge fan of balance work in the off season. So much of skiing is about balancing, especially on one leg, and two, while having to move up and down and finding stability while being constantly challenged. The better ski fitness programs in our area have a very strong balance component around week three that gets added to the mix.

Teaching novices, especially older adults, the balance is sorely lacking even out of ski boots, let alone while gliding over a slippery surface.

One local instructor, Bill Briggs, the first person to ski the Grand Teton, was still teaching this winter at the tender young age of 89! All this with a permanently fused hip. I used to watch him doing summer trail work well into his late seventies at the Snowking where he taught.

That is so true. To recover quickly from the sore muscles from ski, I was motivated to do stretch and strength exercises before and after, so that I can go back to the hill more often. I believe the dry-land exercise is also helpful to increase balance on snow
 

lisaski

Certified Ski Diva
Here are some off the top of my head:
1) Never stop. Once you stop doing something in the advanced years, you usually never go back to it.
2) Take a pass on skiing bad quality snow - icy or slushy snow or at least be very cautious in those conditions.
3) Practice skiing slower in the steeps by keeping your weight up on those front edges. Falling at speed has a lot more risk than falling while going slower.
4) Do something in the off season that maintains body core and leg strength. For me, it is mountain biking.
 

SkiBam

Angel Diva
I may have reported on this earlier, but a couple of weeks ago I did a Women in Skiing day with the CSIA. A great day, with five women and a wonderful level 4 instructor.

We each had to tell her what our goal was from the session and I, who will turn 78 in May, said it's to be able keep skiing as well as possible for as long as possible. She basically reinforced what I've long believed: that we need to be well balanced, and use what she called our "structure" rather than our muscles.

And really, unless I'm skiing in deep snow or heavy spring stuff, or attempting moguls, I feel I use very little energy. As others have said, work on a strong core and balance. I think I ski better now, with less effort and with better balance, than I did 20 years ago. So, don't let "getting older" stop you!

By the way, I'm far from the oldest in our little group. A couple of the guys are mid to late 80s and still skiing extremely well.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
In addition to strength, cardio and flexibility, I am a huge fan of balance work in the off season. So much of skiing is about balancing, especially on one leg, and two, while having to move up and down and finding stability while being constantly challenged. The better ski fitness programs in our area have a very strong balance component around week three that gets added to the mix.

Teaching novices, especially older adults, the balance is sorely lacking even out of ski boots, let alone while gliding over a slippery surface.

One local instructor, Bill Briggs, the first person to ski the Grand Teton, was still teaching this winter at the tender young age of 89! All this with a permanently fused hip. I used to watch him doing summer trail work well into his late seventies at the Snowking where he taught.

Any tips on your favorite balance work?
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
Any tips on your favorite balance work?
Honestly, for me, the goal is to not get hurt getting fit to ski. I now avoid things like weighted jump lunges between bosu balls...

One footed exercises are great, so is standing on a 2 inch thick foam pad. Just enough to challenge balance for squates and such. Catching a ball on one lwg. Doing walking lunges with a partially water filled pipe held in front of me that I have to keep level. I am not a coach, so no great answers, but my trainer has so many different ones. Some use trx straps. He has us rotate to different stations. I lile to do some things with closed eyes, sort of like skiing in a white out where it is all by feeling the balance point. By the end of the 8 weeks every station works strength or cardio or speed with some sort of balance challenge.

Skiing is a series of linked recoveries, often invisible to the observer. The training makes those happen more successfully. I still am a horrible cardio and strength athlete. Balance is why I think gymnasts and figure skaters and dancers pick up skiing so fast. Thankfully, a skill we can learn and continue to improve upon.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Honestly, for me, the goal is to not get hurt getting fit to ski. I now avoid things like weighted jump lunges between bosu balls...

One footed exercises are great, so is standing on a 2 inch thick foam pad. Just enough to challenge balance for squates and such. Catching a ball on one lwg. Doing walking lunges with a partially water filled pipe held in front of me that I have to keep level. I am not a coach, so no great answers, but my trainer has so many different ones. Some use trx straps. He has us rotate to different stations. I lile to do some things with closed eyes, sort of like skiing in a white out where it is all by feeling the balance point. By the end of the 8 weeks every station works strength or cardio or speed with some sort of balance challenge.

Skiing is a series of linked recoveries, often invisible to the observer. The training makes those happen more successfully. I still am a horrible cardio and strength athlete. Balance is why I think gymnasts and figure skaters and dancers pick up skiing so fast. Thankfully, a skill we can learn and continue to improve upon.

Thank you! It's helpful to get any ideas like this to incorporate myself still! We don't have any get fit for skiing types of classes local to me in MA that I know of, I wish we did as they sound so intriguing and I love the focus of working towards stuff in that way with a purpose for skiing. I wonder with Covid having created so much Zoom usage if any classes like this might be offered in remote fashion as well next pre-season. If anyone hears of anything like that from where you attend these things locally I'd be very interested.
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
We had some available online, prepared by pro skiers turned trainers, but was a bit underwhelmed compared to my regular coach who continued in person group lessons which were not a good option for me. These were go at your own pace with no feedback. Maybe do on online search early September under ski fitness classes or ski fitness series?
 

Bowl

Certified Ski Diva
Wow, I feel like I am a baby again! When I first started working after graduate school, I was surrounded by 50s and 60s. At the time, I felt I was a baby at work, and 50s were SO remote. At the time, I notice there were many of my colleagues were still sharp and enjoyed the work in their 50s/60s. I made a wish that I would stay sharp when I turns 50. Now more than 20 years has passed and my memory was definitely not as good as 20 years ago. But accumulated experience has made up for the lost memory power.
Now, I just joint the Ski Diva forum, I felt the same way again as being a baby here. So many role models!
 

Bowl

Certified Ski Diva
Thank you! It's helpful to get any ideas like this to incorporate myself still! We don't have any get fit for skiing types of classes local to me in MA that I know of, I wish we did as they sound so intriguing and I love the focus of working towards stuff in that way with a purpose for skiing. I wonder with Covid having created so much Zoom usage if any classes like this might be offered in remote fashion as well next pre-season. If anyone hears of anything like that from where you attend these things locally I'd be very interested.

if you search 'ski dryland training' or 'ski conditioning' in YouTube, you will find plenty video.

I have a friend belong to a running club, she and her club friends do Zoom trainings together to the same program during Covid. This give her a team class feeling.
Another friend of mine has zoom team coaching sessions for iron men training, same idea with a coach online.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
if you search 'ski dryland training' or 'ski conditioning' in YouTube, you will find plenty video.

I have a friend belong to a running club, she and her club friends do Zoom trainings together to the same program during Covid. This give her a team class feeling.
Another friend of mine has zoom team coaching sessions for iron men training, same idea with a coach online.

Thanks, I will definitely check that out! I would prefer something live for the interaction aspect, but this is a good alternative if a live program isn’t available.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Well, the pandemic doesn't seem to be slowing down the 70+ Ski Club. They have a full slate of trips planned for 2022. Even have tentative plans for skiing in New Zealand next summer.

Wow, that’s ambitious. I’m not really surprised though. It’s honestly been the retirees, not to generalize, in my life that were hardest to get to stay home and follow more safety measures during Covid. We have felt like the parent way too often the last year+, explaining why our own parents shouldn’t be doing this or that or should be doing x,y,z.. :doh: It’s been frustrating and recently we’ve just kind of given up as it seems they are just going to do whatever regardless of the age and conditions they have putting them at greater risk.
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
been frustrating and recently we’ve just kind of given up as it seems they are just going to do whatever regardless of the age and conditions they have putting them at greater risk.
Everyone has their own sense of risk/reward, with or without a pandemic. That changes with age in my observation of my parents, who both lived to 95. My mother was very deliberate is how she changed between her 70s, 80s, and 90s. She stopped driving at night years before my father did.

Quality of life matters at any age, but certainly a factor in decision making after age 50, 60, and even more at 70+. I'm sure there are people who think anyone who skis off-piste after age 50 is taking an unnecessary risk. The reason for this thread is that I didn't start skiing off-piste more than a run or two a day until after age 55.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
The reason for this thread is that I didn't start skiing off-piste more than a run or two a day until after age 55.
And now you do a whole lot more of it! :clap: What would you say is the percentage of time you spend between on and off piste when on your trips West now that you are more experienced at it?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
And now you do a whole lot more of it! :clap: What would you say is the percentage of time you spend between on and off piste when on your trips West now that you are more experienced at it?
When my friends and I get lucky and the snow conditions are good off-piste, we are probably skiing 80% off the groomed trails. Meaning we are only taking groomed trails to get between other terrain after a warm up run first thing in the morning.

After working on ski conditioning off-season for 8+ years, I'm just as ready to ski off-piste at the end of the day as first thing in the morning. When I started skiing more regularly out west about ten years ago, I stuck to groomers by 2:00 or so.

What's really changed in the last few seasons is my ability to ski deep powder, untracked or tracked, without stopping on a reasonably long run. That was always the goal for taking lessons. Getting enough powder experienced required starting to ski 20+ days at big mountains out west so that catching a powder storm was more likely. Also helped that I was spending at least a week at Alta in April starting in 2010. There is usually one decent snowstorm while I'm there. Even though the powder may only last one morning, it was enough to get some experience. I learned about lots of short powder shots from friends who know Alta well, as well as during lessons.

A powder run story . . .

In April 2019 I happened to reach the top of the Collins lift just as ski patrol was about to open Ballroom. I was skiing solo because I was on my way to look for friends over on Supreme. I got in line while I decided what to do. I had a couple minutes to think before reaching the gate. I ended up deciding to go for it. After a bit I was following a father with two kids, probably 8/9 and 10/11. They were obviously locals. When he stopped to have them drop in, I stopped too.

I watched the kids go, as at the father took video. His daughter (in pink) was younger and went first. Made a few turns, fell, popped up immediately, waved, and carried on. After the boy went, I knew I couldn't wait much longer if I wanted first tracks. I took a deep breath, counted to 3, and dropped in. I'd never skied deep powder non-stop that far and that fast before. What was unusual that day was that the groomer below Ballroom hadn't been groomed at all since the storm. Since I knew the terrain well, I kept right on going on top of the groomer. I made sure to stay in tracks on the flat section in order to have enough speed to get to the high point (second picture). What a rush!

Can you see the girl in pink (center)? She is at what is usually the edge of the groomed trail.
Alta Ballroom first tracks start 2019.jpg

Didn't stop until I got here. The people in the picture skiing down went much farther out on the Ballroom traverse. It's get steeper as you go farther out. Where I dropped in is "blue" on the trail map because there is less pitch. Obviously snow conditions makes a big difference in times of how hard, or fun, it is to ski that section of Ballroom after a powder storm.
Alta Ballroom first tracks 2019.jpg
 

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