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Ski area with best community for older/mature/pretty good skier

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hello Bears:

 

I apologize in advance that this question is both pretty self-directed and probably impossible to answer--but given range of first hand experience on this site, I thought I'd give it a try.

 

The question is: What is best ski area for an older (late 50's; Level 8/9) semi local resident; by semi local I mean December to April?

I am East Coast based--so lean towards Park City, Summit County or Vermont (Stowe or Mad River Valley).

 

Here is my primary concern/fear--I don't want to spend every day skiing alone. I am concerned that most ski towns are populated by two types of people--genuine, full time locals and vacationers. My sense or fear is that maybe hard to be in the middle. I don't want to spend the winter skiing mostly alone.

 

My career is somewhat portable and I've reached a point in my life where I can begin to think about accomplishing a life-long dream of a 50 or 60 day season. I have adult children back east--so I will still maintain my roots there.--but plan to be a pend the winters skiing.

 

On several recent ski trips out west--where I was with a group of people, we were joined by folks who were just as I described--older/good skiers/semi local or local. And they really seemed grateful to have the camaraderie and company. It was entirely counter-intuitive.

 

Now I realize, like anything else in life, friends/buddies or all a matter of what you put into it. But based on your deep experience...can

do  you have any thoughts on what  areas might be more or less accommodating to that kind of thing. For example, based on no data whatsoever, my perception is that Canyons is entirely oriented towards vacationers--although I realize its part of PC.

 

Also, if I could ask,  Epic or Whiteroom--how would you think about Stowe in these terms? Thank you again; realize this is a hard question, but would love to know your thoughts.

post #2 of 39

Copper's "Over the Hill Gang" might be ideal for you:

http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/ski_and_ride_school/over_the_hill_gang

 

I've heard great things about it, but no personal experience since I'm still, em, under the hill?

post #3 of 39

Aren't most ski clubs these days geared towards folks in early retirement or similar age range?  Anyway, that would help some with the social aspects of the situation.  PNW seems to have a lot of options for people in the waning years of their careers with lots of ski area options and ways to network with others of similar demographics and ability levels.  In other words, I'd recommend picking a place with good skiing and that is convenient then look in to ways to connect with others so you aren't always skiing alone.  It's how you network more than where you choose to network I believe. 

post #4 of 39

you know, when skiing sun valley in february/march 2012, i got the impression that the average age of the local skiier was higher than one might guess.  this appeared especially true on the weekdays and saw several small groups of men, women, and combined groups out enjoying the slopes together.

post #5 of 39
A very legit question. I am just a couple years away from (hopefully) becoming a "skibird" too and I'm concerned about what I'd do for ski buddies in a strange new mountain location. Here are a few ideas I've had on this: bring some friends with you for all or part of your winter stay, if you lodge with or near some sort of group house or ski club housing you may get some built-in buddies there, get into some sort of recurring lesson program, for example the one's offered at Keystone and Breckenridge [ http://www.epicski.com/t/112375/keystone-season-lesson-pass-for-2013 ], join a resort Ambassador, instructor, or patroller program, utilize online communities like Epicski to develop local ski partners, look into joining seniors programs/clubs like Alta's Wild Old Bunch, some are specific to resorts, some are regional or nationwide. I suspect if you pick a location and just go you will also bump into potential ski buddies just by doing normal social things at retail establishments, churches, health clubs, volunteer activities, craigslist, etc. And finally, just ski a bunch on weekdays because that's where you'll find the strongest slant towards an older/retired demographic at just about all ski areas. Anecdotally, three places I've been that seemed especially "old guy" friendly were Alta, Taos, Mad River Glen. Dang good skiing at all three.
post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post


 

I've heard great things about it, but no personal experience since I'm still, em, under the hill?

I prefer the term "top of the hill" as "under the hill" sounds a bit morbid..

post #7 of 39

My dad retired in Aspen when he was in his late 60's.   He was very involved in Rotary, Doctors without Boarder and the Elks Club.   He ended up meeting a lot of people through these and a bunch of volunteer organizations.

He was only a fair skier, but ended up skiing with a bunch of legends out at Buttermilk. 

post #8 of 39
Heck if you're in the front of the lift line on powder days youll soon know all the core riders on the Mtn, and they'll recognize you. Friends or enemies for the season and you're skiing the good stuff.
On another note when a friend found out how many days I skied he lamented "I can't find people to ride with that often", I replied that's your mistake looking for daily ski buddies, they'll be on the Mtn. I will know 95% of the riders on any given powder morning barring weekend warriors.
post #9 of 39

Sun Valley has a reputation for older, maturing, pretty good skiers. I like to think I am one of them ( at least the pretty good part, not much doubt on the other part).

 

I don't know of any orgamized groups. I mostly ski alone.

 

See the Sun Valley resort page for more information, plusses and minuses, etc.

post #10 of 39

All you need is an active ski club, a bbq, booze and an Aussie.

*

 

 

 

post #11 of 39

I had a Vail Resorts 7 day pass a few years ago and joined up with a 55 year + organized group who meet at Loveland, A-basin, Keystone, Breckenridge on a different day each week. They divide into smaller groups according to ability, each with a "guide".

 

They also meet for a pot luck dinner once a week at the Seniors Center in Dillon.

 

Some of the group were year round residents, some seasonal, and some tourists like me.

post #12 of 39
Most of the people in the top of the vertical list here are over 50. If you're here every winter, the fact that you're not here in the summer won't mean much. The mix at this resort between pass holders/locals and "destination skiers" is weighted towards the former, although the trend is shifting.

If you just show up every day, eventually you will know people. If you want to jumpstart it, join a season long lesson group. This will probably work at most resorts, but faster at resorts your golfing buddy never heard of.
post #13 of 39

As said before I will second the Sun Valley choice. The average age of the seasonal skier is lets just say in the mature range. The mountain has a very strong master race program. Even if the racing thing is not for you there are plenty of skiers looking for friendly face to take some laps with. The town is filled with good food, art and music to keep anybody happy on the down days. I have personally known several people that have decided to come out for the season and enjoyed it so much ended up fully retiring once the time was right. Season rentals are always available and some of the best spring skiing there is. 

post #14 of 39
Check out Mt Bachelor.
post #15 of 39

Santa Fe has a strong solid community of gray-haired regulars.  I see them every day, and it's a cool and inspirational group, men and women.  For that matter the town of Santa Fe is good for the grayhairs in many ways, 'cause there seems to be a ton of them proportionally.  You can PM me for details if you like.  

post #16 of 39

Los Alamos has Pajarito.  Nice place to cruise, but not a huge GNAR factor.  I could see myself enjoying a ski house there in a few years.

post #17 of 39

I'm already retired.  Have had several conversations on the lift at Alta with "snowbirds" who spend the winter in SLC, usually in a house or condo just below the canyon entrance.  There is an informal gathering of older skiers midweek at the lodge near the base of Sugarloaf around lunch time.  These are long time skiers who lament when conditions are too sketchy to go off-piste.  True even for those who are pushing 80 or even 90.

 

 

A friend retired to Big Sky because of the sense of community they found there.

 

Did you notice this discussion of lift ticket rates for older skiers?  Might give you food for thought.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/117721/senior-walk-up-lift-ticket-rates

 

Have you attended an EpicSki Gathering?  Great way to make connections with folks who might be good ski buddies for future ski adventures.  The Utah Gathering is the first week of Feb and Mammoth is in March.  There is usually one in the northeast as well.

post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Los Alamos has Pajarito.  Nice place to cruise, but not a huge GNAR factor.  I could see myself enjoying a ski house there in a few years.

 

Pajarito is generally only open Fri-Sun, so that kind of negates the daily skiing thing.  And Los Alamos, the best thing about it is that it's only a couple of minutes to New Mexico from there.  wink.gif

post #19 of 39

To add on to the Sun Valley discussion, it's seemed, of all the places I've skied, to be the most populated by retired skiers. I've lost count of the number of folks I've met who are from Seattle and retired to SV, or who have still homes in both places. We've been told by locals that we should move there because we're "young" and they need more young people, which is funny because we aren't young anymore. Unless you compare us to the over 60 crowd I guess.

post #20 of 39

I will toss out Tahoe North Shore  

 

Northstar / Squaw / Alpine / Homewood / Sugar Bowl / Mt. Rose

 

Mid week there are a lot of older individuals hitting everything

 

You will find tons of people to hang out with 

 

Especially with Phil/Trekchik/Veteran plus a cast of other Epic Regulars on the prowl

 

Friends in no time fast biggrin.gif

 

And cheap passes to lots of resorts

 

Might not be where you were initially targeting  but ....

 

You could even pick a different area in the country every year to see what its like 

post #21 of 39
Quote:
You could even pick a different area in the country every year to see what its like 

But then he'd be "that new guy" every year.
post #22 of 39
It seems like Vail and Beaver Creek have a bunch of the crowd you are looking for, but I really liked the idea of becoming an Ambassador or volunteer at any of the Vail Resorts or Copper Mountain and that will give you the opportunity to reall mix it up at the other areas with your pass. Sounds like you are in a great spot no matter what you decide. None of the decisions have to be permanent.
post #23 of 39

I do know that Steamboat has a very active and large Over The Hill Gang. They ski every day (not that you have to) there are several skill levels to choose from, and they have many off the hill activities. It is of course harder to get to and more expensive than getting to the Front Range or SLC.

post #24 of 39

I'd go with Park City. Why? Three ski areas within minutes of each other and publicranspo that will get you  to them. Park City is less expensive than many ski towns as well with many amenities and has a nice laid back vibe. Usually reliable snow too.

post #25 of 39
If you are interested in something in the Northeast, Stratton has a large organized group of 50+ skiers. Can't remember the name of the group, but know a few participants.
post #26 of 39

I would think that a serious skier planning on spending an entire season in Utah skiing 50-60 days would want to be doing that skiing at Alta/Snowbird, not Park City.  Yes, I'm biased as these are my favorite areas and I own a timeshare week at Iron Blosam.  Nonetheless if you want to be a "regular," skiing the same place for a whole season, it stands to reason that you want someplace big, challenging and with a long season.

 

Sun Valley is big and challenging but a bit one (or two)-dimensional for my tastes.  It has world class groomer and mogul skiing, but with its modest snowfall powder days are rare (you'll get many more at Stowe) and after some sustained dry spells any ungroomed skiing can be unpleasant.

Quote:

I'm already retired.  Have had several conversations on the lift at Alta with "snowbirds" who spend the winter in SLC, usually in a house or condo just below the canyon entrance.  There is an informal gathering of older skiers midweek at the lodge near the base of Sugarloaf around lunch time.  These are long time skiers who lament when conditions are too sketchy to go off-piste.  True even for those who are pushing 80 or even 90.

+1 Over the years I've also noticed there is a subculture of people in their 50's/60's who live in Salt Lake for the skiing 4-5 months and then go back to their long time homes on the East or West Coast the rest of the year.  Another factor that makes this lifestyle viable is that the second home in the Salt Lake Valley is not as expensive as it would be in most resort towns.

Quote:
A friend retired to Big Sky because of the sense of community they found there.

I think this is a different question.  If you're moving to a place full time, it matters a lot what's happening the other 7-8 months of the year.  For the OP's premise of being somewhere just for the ski season, focus on the quantity/quality of the skiing.

Quote:
just ski a bunch on weekdays because that's where you'll find the strongest slant towards an older/retired demographic at just about all ski areas.

Yes, I've run into some of these people at AltaBird just skiing 10-12 days a season.

post #27 of 39

+1 for Santa Fe and winter is off season, so a seasonal rental will be less in ski season. There is plenty to do in the town off the hill. And, there are many part time locals there. Finally, Taos and Wolf Creek and other San Juan mountains are nearby for the occasional variety adventure.

 

Santa Fe has a terrific adaptive ski program www.AdaptiveSki.org which is a one day a week commitment for 6 weeks plus training. There is a good mix of ages in the volunteer cadre and it's a great way to meet good people who love to ski.

post #28 of 39

Yellowstone Club. Definitely the Yellowstone Club.

http://www.yellowstoneclub.com/

post #29 of 39
I think he wants friends, not emptiness and empty trophy homes.
post #30 of 39

The Masters Program is a good ice breaker to meet people.

 

Some hills have things like Mt Rose had, or has, Silver(haired) Ski - which is a bunch of 'old' people in a lesson for $10 each.

 

Start your own group - we have some, one is The League of Gentleman and there's a ladies group, both informally run by older ski instructors. It can be as informal as meeting at 11am at a mountain-top cafe, or grow into amateur racing for tots to octagenerians sponsored by car companies etc. Just get involved.

 

http://wp.me/p3KzU3-7 is a blog on club culture down under. I'm sure there's plenty of really active clubs at many hills, one I know has at least 2 events a week such a theatre outings, bands, bbqs, and ski trips.

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