SKIING IN YOUR 60S, 70S AND BEYOND
By Sheila Frampton
When I mention that I am spending the winter skiing, those who don’t know me well always have the same reaction – ‘is that wise for someone in their 60s?’
Today, providing you are fit, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ski in your 50s, 60s, 70s and even into your 80s! Today, ski equipment is far more advanced than years ago – skis are wider, so its easier to turn. Many resorts offer reduced-price lift passes for the over 60s and sometimes free passes for the over 75s. Plus more and more insurance companies are providing cover at a reasonable cost for the older skier.
According to the National Ski Areas Association, 5.3% of downhill skiers on the slopes are over 60 and that number is rising. Although some may have been skiing for years, many older skiers take up the sport in retirement when they have more time and can take advantage of the low season – especially with cheaper prices, quieter slopes and fewer queues.
Insurance for mature skiers
If you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, travel insurance with winter sports cover isn’t too expensive. For a three-month trip (January to March) it can be less than £90 for a skier in their early 60s.
Websites like welove2ski.com/best-ski-insurance provide advice but do make sure your insurance quote covers the type of skiing or snowboarding you want to do and any other activities. Are you going to ski off-piste, in the snowpark or terrain park, try snowboarding or heli-skiing? Will your activities include ice-skating, reindeer-sledding, or snowmobiling? You’ll need your insurers to know and to provide appropriate cover. And of course, you’ll need to cover your luggage and your equipment, either your own or rented, for damage or theft. You’ll also want 24-hour emergency cover.
Ski Holidays for the over 50s:
If you’re looking at ski holidays for mature skiers, skiamade.com offers Sixty-Plus packages.
snowtrex.co.uk promotes holidays for pleasure skiers – suggesting ‘seniors’ and leisure skiers may enjoy staying in a smaller ski area with wide pistes, gorgeous views and plenty of peace and quiet.
If you like the idea of being part of a group – perfect if you are a single skier – arp050skiclub.co.uk has been promoting skiing holidays for the over 50s for more than 10 years. The club has a nationwide membership running five or six holidays every season in catered chalets and hotels for those active over 50s who enjoy skiing together.
skiclub.co.uk – the Ski Club Freshtracks provides group holidays matching skiers of a similar ability and offering the services of instructors, mountain guides and Ski Club reps. The Peak Experience holidays are designed for the over 55s.
Choosing ski equipment
- Any good ski hire company will provide you with suitable skis – but why not consider renting a pair of heated ski boots? So nice to be able to keep your feet warm on the pistes. If you’re considering buying, Salomon sells custom heated ski boots with an integrated battery and easy access to the controls for less than £300.
- A good ski helmet is essential. Gone are the days when we used to ski with the wind in our hair! Even experienced skiers have fallen and you want to protect you as much as possible. A second-hand helmet from an unknown source (eBay or similar) isn’t advisable. You need to know that your helmet hasn’t already been subjected to damage.
- Somewhere close to the lift system and ski hire/storage is advisable. You might have been happy to catch ski buses or trek a long distance with your skis when you were younger, but you definitely deserve a more relaxed ski experience.
- Consider a hotel with a spa or wellness centre. Tired muscles of any age appreciate a post-ski massage! Last season, a friend and I found a hotel room in an Italian resort with an in-room sauna which was fabulous post-ski.
Ski lessons for the over 60s:
- If you’re not an experienced skier, it’s advisable to book a few ski lessons when you arrive. Your instructor will be able to show you the best runs and help you perfect your technique. Lessons vary enormously – the more expensive the resort, the more expensive the lesson. In some of the smaller Italian ski resorts, private lessons start from 45 euros an hour but they can go up to three times that amount.
- I have always preferred mature instructors – they are a bit more understanding of the challenges of skiing in later life and if you’re having a lesson of more than two hours, ask for a mid-lesson ‘pit-stop’ to recharge your batteries.
Enjoy your skiing!