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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Skiing After Fifty | A Weathered Perspective on the Slopes

By Michael Ryan

You may not be there yet, but hopefully you’ll make it. I’ve been skiing after fifty for, well, a few years now and here’s what you have to look forward to.

ski mountain landscape

Stretch Time Gets Stretched

Stretching is important at any age but after fifty, it’s a requirement. If I don’t stretch I get sore and tired early. Okay, I get sore and tired just driving to the hill, that’s why I stretch just to get in the car. Once at the slopes, I use my rear bumper to hike my leg up, slowly, wouldn’t want to hurt anything, then I catch my breath. I have friends who say they never stretch before skiing. I don’t ski with them anymore.

The Gear
I carry more gear than ever. I have headbands and hats, sunglasses and goggles and gators and gloves. At one time gators were worn around your legs and not your face. That’s when we all wore jeans and the gators went between your jeans and your boots to keep the snow out. I have boarder pants now because they have more pockets, but no they don’t sag; not intentionally at least. I wear Gore-tex everything because my circulation isn’t what it used to be and I swear, if they made gore-tex underwear, I’d wear that too.

It’s All About Accessories
Now we have foot warmers you can stick on your socks and hand warmers you throw in your gloves. They’re only good for about 4- 5 hours but so am I. You should only use these as directed, trust me, that’s where my idea for Gore-tex underwear came from.

Why Aren’t We Drinking?
Keystone sign - Copy.jpgYou may think you party now, but just wait. Although our drinking is more for medicinal purposes than party time, we get down. We may not order a pitcher of beer on every break but trust me, that’s not straight coffee or hot chocolate grandpa is sipping; that’s why we all carry flasks. Besides that, my doctor is way more generous with pain pills than yours, so there.

It’s the Riding That Counts
Don’t worry about what I’m saying, you’ll still fly after fifty, you just do it smarter and maybe for a shorter amount of time. I may not be on the first and last chair of the day but I ski runs I didn’t think of doing at thirty. Of course it’s not alway intentional because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be but as you get better, who cares? You’ll also take more breaks but remember, you’ll have a flask.

It’s All Downhill From Here!
At this age, the mind knows exactly what to do, it’s just the body doesn’t always respond. Just because we’re not flying at the speed of sound past beginners on a green run doesn’t mean we can’t catch your sorry, young butt; we just pick our spots.