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Tips for intermediates over 40 planning to ski until 70+

marzNC

Angel Diva
#1
Recently there was a thread about women racing at age 80 or older. I know there are Divas (and lurkers) who are over 40 and planning to ski as long as possible. Many who don't post may be intermediates who started skiing as adults. What tips or stories do you have for those who discover the fun of sliding down a snowy slope on downhill skis later in life? In particular for those who have so much fun they want to do it more and more as time and money allows. When is buying boots worthwhile? Buying skis? Is going on a ski vacation to a destination resort as a beginner or intermediate worth the time and money?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
To get things going . . .
I'm a mid-50's mother of a 12yo girl who will soon be better than I am. Started her at age 4 and took her to Alta at age 7 so no surprise. I was lucky to start at 13, but only got to ski for a couple seasons before a long hiatus. When I started over in my late 40's, what helped the most going from intermediate to advanced:

1) Time on the snow. Went from 4 days to an average of 12 days locally, plus a couple one week trips out west. For local weekend trips, even an hour at night was worthwhile.
2) Getting boots that fit well from a local boot fitter who could make adjustments when needed.
3) Demoing skis to learn that I could tell the difference.
4) Finding ski buddies for me and/or my daughter.
5) Lessons from very experienced instructors, including a high-level multi-day clinic.

I took my time buying skis, but always had my own boots. Didn't buy good skis until I knew I was going to keep skiing. By then I also had demo'd enough to have an idea what what to buy during spring sales.

Found this set of free videos with ski conditioning exercises for "boomers", meaning those born 1946-1964. Obviously also good for beginners or intermediate adults of any age. I like the fact that all the exercises can be done at home. Bumps for Boomers teaches clinics in Aspen.

http://www.bumpsforboomers.com/ski-fitness-ski-conditioning-programs-get-you-shape
 

gr8outdoors

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I had been skiing as a teenager, but not often. My grandfather worked at a ski resort, but he lived 4 hours from us. If we visited in the winter, sometimes my older sister and I would go skiing. I wasn't very good, but after a couple of days got better. I didn't ski again until I was 35 and my son was 4. We went once that year and my husband put both my son and I in lessons. There was a local "hill" that was much closer that only had a rope tow, so we took our son there, rented skis for him and pushed him back up a small hill - didn't even go to the area where the rope tow was, just trying to stay out of everyone else' way. I am now 44 and here are my tips:

1. Spend as much time on the snow as possible. Once we got season passes and started skiing every chance we got (almost every weekend day), I improved. Practice, practice, practice.

2. When buying boots, check with more than one reputable boot fitter. I am 5 feet tall, weigh less than 100 pounds, and wear a size 5 shoe. Although I fit in a "women's" boot, I'm on my 3rd pair of boots and now use a kids racing boot. My skiing has greatly improved since I purchased them 3 years ago.

3. Demo skis if you can. My first pair was really too heavy for me to flex, but I never knew it until I demo'd before getting a new pair. I felt I could get something besides the beginner ski, but didn't know what to get. This is when my husband found the ski diva website. When I asked what to buy, I was given some ideas and told to demo. I took the advice I received and purchased one of the pairs recommended, but not before demoing.

4. Take a trip if you want to and can afford it. Just make sure their are plenty of beginner or intermediate trails and start on the beginner trails since each area is rated differently than others.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#4
All of these are great tips.

My story is similar to gr8outdoors': started skiing at age 13, went maybe 10 times a year, then gave it up entirely from age 24 to 40. I ski a lot now, which I jokingly refer to as making up for lost time. Last year I skied 52 days (it was a bad year); the year before, 82.

Anyway, I definitely fall into the older skier category. So here are my two cents:

Be sure to exercise in the off season. It's a lot easier to get back into skiing each year if you're in good shape. Older adults lose muscle mass a lot faster than younger people, so this is especially important. Besides, it's good for you.

Also, learn how to avoid injury. For me, that means using my head a bit more than I used to. The days of trying to impress anyone with my skiing are over. If something is too far out of my comfort zone, I just say no. And I do so unashamedly. I'd rather ski another day than risk getting hurt. Recovery gets harder as you get older, and I'd rather ski than be laid up for who knows how long.
 

josiegroper

Certified Ski Diva
#5
I don't really know what to add, I started at age 10 and it varied from year to year how often I went. The last 3 winters I was pretty much just a ski bum :ski: and loved it! This year I work 3 days and am off for 4, so it won't be too bad.

The one thing I was going to say though, is not to use 70 as a goal, but shoot for older! When I went to Powder Mountain 2 years ago on a beautiful day w/14" of fresh snow there was a man there with a patch on his jacket that said "90+ Club" That is the goal I am shooting for!! I saw him skiing later in the day too, and he was a little slow, but he was looking mighty good!
 
#6
As an older skier, my advice? Take it ALL in - all that skiing involves - the anticipation, the actual skiing, and the after-skiing glow. While you're out there, ski with as much abandon as you feel comfortable. But also - STOP. Drink in the scenery. Explore something new - about the place where you are, or about yourself or your skiing. Enjoy the sun on your face or the snowflakes on your cheeks. When the slopes are crowded and others are pushing on, wait until YOU feel like you have that perfect space to make your run. What's the rush? Afterwards, enjoy re-hashing it all with friends in front of a fire with a hot toddy - or just remembering the day, if you've skied alone. Enjoy all the sights, smells and sensations of our blue and white world. Make every ski day a fuller and richer and more complete experience than you might have had at . . say . . age 22. :smile:
 

Stowski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
As an older skier, my advice? Take it ALL in - all that skiing involves - the anticipation, the actual skiing, and the after-skiing glow. While you're out there, ski with as much abandon as you feel comfortable. But also - STOP. Drink in the scenery. Explore something new - about the place where you are, or about yourself or your skiing. Enjoy the sun on your face or the snowflakes on your cheeks. When the slopes are crowded and others are pushing on, wait until YOU feel like you have that perfect space to make your run. What's the rush? Afterwards, enjoy re-hashing it all with friends in front of a fire with a hot toddy - or just remembering the day, if you've skied alone. Enjoy all the sights, smells and sensations of our blue and white world. Make every ski day a fuller and richer and more complete experience than you might have had at . . say . . age 22. :smile:
Beautifully written!:thumbsup:
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
This is a great thread, as I've often thought how I'm going to be able to keep myself skiing as long as possible. I started at 18, and stopped after having two children and money got tight. At about age 49 I started up again, and now at 57 I've definitely noticed changes in my physical abilities.

1. Keep yourself as healthy as possible. Exercise in the off season to try to maintain your strength and flexibility. You DO lose these things much quicker as you age, so don't take your physical strength for granted.

2. Avoid injury. If this means slowing down, not taking those last couple of runs, not going down a trail with sketchy conditions or giant moguls then so be it. We're going for longevity here! :smile: You can push yourself to some extent, but don't overdo it. You want to be able to ski tomorrow (or next week, next month, next year) also. #1 is very important for avoiding injury. Recovery seems to take longer when you're older. Stop and rest when you need to, and stay hydrated.

3. Ski as many days as possible. Your skiing will improve, as will your conditioning.

4. Take care of your feet! Things that hurt can cause permanent problems. Don't try to make your boots last if they hurt because you think that you may only be skiing a season or two more. Visit more than one reputable boot fitter, as Gr8outdoors says, if you are looking for new boots.

5. If you are an intermediate, don't be afraid to take group lessons, or even private lessons, because you're older. You'll often find others in our age bracket taking lessons. The better you can ski, the more likely you'll be to avoid getting injured. AND the more fun you'll have!

6. Watch for osteoporosis. Catch bone loss early to start treatment early. This could be one reason why women don't tend to ski into older ages as frequently as men seem to. :frown:

7. Demo skis whenever you have the chance. You may accidentally find your ski soulmate, one that gives you joy and makes skiing sooo much easier. Our skiing style changes as our physical abilities change. I've met older women ski instructers who are high level skiers who've gone to softer boots and/or skis because they just feel better and make skiing easier.

8. Have fun! Plan new places to ski, buy that funky jacket, stand on top of the mountain and drink in the beauty of your surroundings. Go down that slope singing and do what makes you happy!
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
My story is similar to those above - started young then came broke college years, starting a career, baby, etc. All the advice above is great. The only thing I would add is on multi-day trips early in the season, plan a day of rest in the middle. Wander the town, shop, have a leisurely lunch, enjoy the ski atmosphere and give early season muscles a much needed day of recuperation. We always buys 4 of 5 (or 5 of 6) etc. lift tickets. That way we can plan our day of rest based on the weather report. I don't want to be resting on a powder day! :bounce:
 
#10
Agree with most points noted above, including its value. But will take issue with Skisailor’s statement “As an OLDER skier” >>> HA :pound: > right. Ever ski with her?? Bravo, ss. You ski like a kid! :becky:

Stay in shape, keep moving - and remember the mantra - “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” This, of course, doesn’t imply disregarding caution and safety!

As to the OP-posted questions of equipment and trips:

Boots - the day you are committed to the sport, get started. They will be the first of many, and it’s equipment that can be sold (if at a loss) if it’s not a hit (and most first boots are not). But a properly shell-fitted pair of boots are miles beyond any rental for performance and comfort.

Skis - Again, as soon as you are fully committed to continuing. Even more so than boots, skis have resale value. Do some reading, get to know the terminology, ask questions on forums. I really like to see learning skiers on skis that they can flex, in order to facilitate skill acquisition. Have seen too many several-years-at-it skiers (or fewer than several!) on (nonetheless wonderful) high-end stuff – and they can’t flex it. Sure, they learn to carve; that’s what most high-end skis do best. But they can’t skate, can’t uphill herringbone, can’t swivel or skid. Forget the brand/model status business!!

Trips - Abso freakin lutely! Beginner, intermediate > GO for it. I took 6 group lessons in my mid-20's and got a plane to CO for a week. Came back with LOTS of mileage under my belt.

The one thing I have noticed, having - ahem - a few years even on some of you “older” skiers, is that I run colder than I used to - and have to be careful about and mindful of this. I wear glove liners until mid-March, sometimes beyond. I use hand warmers more frequently. And my face is covered more often.

And - no matter what your age - don’t forget your sun screen, ESPECIALLY for your lips!! Lips don’t have the melanin that facial skin does. Dermatone is great in the super-cold, but on non-frigid days, be sure to have lip balm with a good SPF in it! (Most are clearly marked as such.)

My stats: started mid-20's. Never stopped. Haven't missed a season yet. Only one doing better in the numbers department in that regard is DH. Has not missed a season since 1966. Wow.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
I've been reading this thread with interest since marz first posted it. I didn't really feel qualified to add to it because of age/experience, but my initial reaction was maggie's number 1 tip: stay healthy and keep in shape *year round*.

I understand the sentiment behind saying one wants to get in shape for ski season, but in teaching yoga to baby boomers and also just seeing how my physicality has changed in the last decade, I cannot emphasize how important it is to maintain fitness throughout the year because it takes longer to build up to your definition of "in shape" and also to recover as we age.

I also note that maybe as we age, if one is currently an intermediate skier, one shouldn't settle for being a perpetual intermediate skier. Maybe it's the type A personality in me, but getting time on snow like some have recommended, inherently leads to improved skiing, IMHO.
 

SkiBam

Angel Diva
#13
Great comments here. I certainly belong in the "older" skier category. Started as a kid, but never really skied consistently until my late 20s. Then during babies/little kid years, didn't get out much at all. I got my level 1 CSIA when I was over 60 and my level 2 the next year, and I think I can honestly say my skiing has continued to improve since then (largely because of the excellent sessions we get from CSIA). So just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to give up skiing; as others have said, listen to your body so you don't overdo it, but continue to try and improve with lessons and lots of mileage.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#15
The one thing I was going to say though, is not to use 70 as a goal, but shoot for older! When I went to Powder Mountain 2 years ago on a beautiful day w/14" of fresh snow there was a man there with a patch on his jacket that said "90+ Club" That is the goal I am shooting for!! I saw him skiing later in the day too, and he was a little slow, but he was looking mighty good!
For sure! That's why the thread title has "70 +", not just "70." These days, need to be 70 or 75 to get a free or very low cost lift ticket. So that's just a new starting point. :bounce:

I love listening to the seniors who ski mid-week at Alta. Most are clearly over 60, if not 70 or even 80. I remember two women who were probably in their late 60's or older lamenting that it was a groomer day because there was too much of a crust off-piste.

Here's a member of the 90+ club who is not only skiing, she is still teaching!

This here was the thread about an 82 year old woman still racing.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#16
. . .
I also note that maybe as we age, if one is currently an intermediate skier, one shouldn't settle for being a perpetual intermediate skier. Maybe it's the type A personality in me, but getting time on snow like some have recommended, inherently leads to improved skiing, IMHO.
Certainly no reason to settle for whatever level when there are opportunities to improve. At the same time, if cruising groomers is fun and pushing past an ability plateau requires more time or money than is available, then cruise on!

I never expected to improve as much as I have in the last five years. Probably would not have without online ski forums that made it much easier to learn more about equipment and find new friends to ski with. Definitely makes it that much more fun when skiing with a group of like-minded "ski nuts" of any age or ability level. :thumbsup:
 

gr8outdoors

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Although he wasn't a "ski diva", the man who owns the company I work at skied until at least his mid-80s. He is 92 now, but he is certainly someone to look up to. He didn't start skiing until his 40's (when his kids decided they wanted to ski), but was very active in exercising almost every day until this past summer. He is such an inspiration! I hope to be alive and still skiing when I turn 80.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#19
Maybe less difference in senior men and women than when they are in their prime? I'm thinking that maybe men over 55 or so who aren't already advanced skiers have perhaps learned to be more cautious in general and will pay more attention to what an instructor is telling them to do. Check out this 66 year old taking his first lesson at Snowshoe.

 

Lilgeorg

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
What a great thread. I started skiing at age 45 and will apply to the 70+ski club in just a couple of months.

My advice is to get equipment as soon as possible, boots first. I think having your own equipment is a reason to ski and gives you the added confidence that comes with a consistent set up. Rental skis and boots are different every time and require getting used to how they work. Nothing improves your skiing faster than good boots. Skis look pretty but almost any ski these days will be a good ski until you become a much better skier.

Invest in a trip. You deserve it. It's fun. It expands your horizons. It will make you exhausted and very happy.

As Maine Ski Lady says, age is a state of mind. Don't worry about getting hurt. Be smart about where you ski and how long your day may be. Ski as long as you are having fun. That's what skiing is for. FUN!

Take lessons. I still take a lesson and attend Women's clinics. I personally find I learn better from another woman. We speak the same language and share the positive approach about what is going right. You will find that as in life, it's all about balance. When you are balanced it all works and both skiing and life are easier.

As for me...I have a good 20+ years left to ski. See you on the hill!
 

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