It was the baby boomers who brought the biggest boost to ski resorts when they first took to the pistes some 30 or more years ago – and now many American resorts are keen to woo them back.
But senior skiers tend to prefer less crowded resorts, fewer queues and they certainly don’t like to be bombarded by a noisy apres-ski nightlife. (We’re talking in generalisations here because there are, of course, some senior skiers who like nothing better than getting down with the young dudes.)
So, in a bid to attract the average over-50 skier, some resorts are rolling out ski programmes aimed at over-50s.
And it would appear that these programmes are pulling in the over-50s skiers. The National Ski Areas Association reports an 11% rise in skiing and snowboarding for people 45 and older, while there has been a drop in skiers aged 35 and younger.
Guided skiing: Keystone Resort in Colorado offers a guided ski programme for over-50s. This guided skiing is complimentary if you have a lift ticket or season pass. This is a great way to explore the resort with an expert leader – and also a fantastic way to meet like-minded people of your own age.
Love of corduroy: Many resorts are focusing on beginner and intermediate pistes that are smoothed out to remove bumps runs while leaving behind areas with distinctive grooves called “corduroy”. In general, boomers prefer corduroy because it allows them to ski steeper mountains without putting as much strain on their bodies.
Sessions for seniors: At the Windham Mountain Ski Resort in New York a Senior Programme offers four-hour sessions every Tuesday from January, including yoga and guest speakers.
Give us a lift: Many resorts offer cheaper season lift passes for over-65s and free season passes for over-75s.
Food, wine and skiing: Beaver Creek Mountain Resort, also in Colorado, has themed weekends such as the Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend aimed at over-50s.
Bumps for Boomers: A fun session aimed at the over-50s skier takes place in Aspen and teaches skiers how to tackle moguls with ease. Skiers use modern short and shaped skis so they can relearn how to balance their weight while skiing the bumps.