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At What Age Does Skier Ability Decline? - Page 2

post #31 of 79
Well, let's see ...

I'm 53 ('40-13'?). Been skiing since I was 12. I think I'm now skiing better than ever in many ways. Why?
1. Lack of self-conciousness;
2. Economy/smoothness of effort/motion;
3. Modern equipment.

I also think I'm doing better athletically in general than I was 10 years ago. I believe the reason is that when I turned 40 or so and began to perceive a decline in physical capabilities and quickness, I sort of fought it and tried to continue doing things the way I'd done in my 20's. By now, I think I've adapted my technique in various sports to my only slightly diminished physical capabilities by concentrating again on proper fundamentals, smoothness and economy of effort/motion.

Case in point: I pretty much stopped playing Softball over 10 years ago. A few times when I did throw a ball around after that, I suspected that my arm was shot. But my son, at 14, has developed a delayed love for baseball. We've been playing catch regularly for the past year or so. Concentrating on proper throwing motion and warming up slowly, my arm has regained most if not all of the 'zing' it had over 20 years ago - with better accuracy. And I'm talking about playing 'hard' catch for as much as an hour almost every day. Cool!

A few caveats though:
1. Definitely increased recovery time.
2. Gotta listen to the body's signals - no more 'playing through the pain'.
3. Play 'smarter', not harder.

As far as skiing specifics are concerned, I guess I'm not as good in bumps or crud, but I never was that good in those anyway! In agressive tight GS turns on groomed steeps, I'm sure I'm better. And then there's jumping: the takeoffs are still no problem, but the landings are getting a bit rougher!

I played Golf with a spry 80-year-old guy in Florida a couple years back. He said, "Hey, I figure the grass looks better from this side than it does from underneath!"

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then!"
post #32 of 79
My dad's 75 and he still rips. He raced into his 50's. He probably gets in more days per year than I do now that he's semi retired. He doesn't go 8am-5pm any more, but he's out there every day.
post #33 of 79

I'm guess I'm going to be the voice of dissent (again). I'm reading a lot of comments saying "i just get better every year". But I'm not totally buying that. Some pieces of the equation do improve, but I think there are some phisical components that start declining around the late 30's no matter how much we might want to kid ourselves.

As I've entered my 50's, I've stayed in pretty good condition, I think I still ski pretty well, and I've certainly learned more every year. My technique, from a pure ability standpoint, has probably improved in the last several years, although not so dramatically that I'm praising the heavens.

I've certainly learned how to be a more efficient skier, using the new equipment and to some degree technique to ski in ways that are less hard on my body.


The following items are definitely not what they were fifteen years ago:

* Reflexes - I'm simply not as quick as I was.

* Balance - say what you will, I don't really believe someone who says their balance at 50 is what it was at 30.

* Vision (for lack of a better word) - I've spent a lot of years skiing in snowstorms and whiteouts and never used to feel any sense of hesitation when I couldn't see. I can feel a little bit of that now.

The differences may be subtle, but in my own case none of these have improved in the last decade. All have declined somewhat.

But back to the original question, you can improve as a skier for a long, long time. There's plenty of evidence of skiers ripping things up in their seventies and beyond.

post #34 of 79
I'm sixty and have been skiing about ten years. By the time I'm seventy, I hope to improve to the point where I can ski maybe half as well as Ott Gangl.
post #35 of 79
oboe, I have no doubt that you will get to the Ott/2 level within ten years!

Bob.Peters, I understand your points, but the key is to use wisdom and experiential learning to overcome the points of slowed reflexes, to use stretching and continued exercise to overcome physical limitations, and to keep your optic perscription current to overcome the visibility issue.

I am totally honest when I describe my current condition. I'm no self-deluder.
post #36 of 79
post #37 of 79
I tend to agree with Bob. Couple of other things I've noticed are that (1) I'm more cautious than I
used to be -- I don't ski within inches of the trees to get that last little bit of powder anymore, and (2) The ski bunnies think I'm harmless (big mistake).
post #38 of 79
@ 50 w/ over 30 years of skiing I have noticed my staying power to ski all day is not as strong as when I was younger. However, I feel that I am a more technical skier that when I was younger. I think I'd trade the tech. for the youth.
post #39 of 79
Oboe, for all I know you are a better skier than I am. Or not. Who cares? As long as we are having fun skiing the slopes we like safely we ski as well as the next guy.

It ain't no competiton. ..Ott
post #40 of 79
Ott, right you are! I just figure it would be more fun to ski at your level than at mine. I'm looking forward to showing you what mean by that.
post #41 of 79
I think age does affect your skiing ability, but HEATH is the major factor in skiing to the ripe age of Ott, Oboe, and the other over age 50 Bear's.

I started skiing when I was 3 and I am now 31yrs old. My mother started skiing in her twenties and would still be if she had not become sick with cancer,and still be the gracefull skier I admired.

Every time I spend the day with her(3-4days a week)I feel down because I still remember her in peak days of heath. Its been 6yrs since she was healthy, now days she is just a shadow of her former self.

I am sorry to be a downer on this subject, but just writing about this is making me cry. Don't let cancer or anything else get the best of any of you and your health.

Listen to LM and others like her.. Keep up your health.

post #42 of 79
Yeah, you heard her, LISTEN TO LM!!!!
And as for you 18% who NEVER read the fitness forum, well.....

Seriously speaking, as Ott has pointed out, many of the age related issues with skiing has to do with being able to carry your gear from the parking lot to the slopes. Keeping at least a minimal amount of endurance year round, as well as balance training is important. When you are younger, the improved balance you get from skiing may have a carry over to the rest of the year.
Once you are past 40, you should do at least 3 mintutes of balance training EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Particularly if you are female, don't wait till you are in your 30s to start thinking about osteoporosis. Yes, skiing is great prevention, but most people cannot do it year round. As you lose bone mass, you will be more prone to injury. Weight train, weight train , weight train, weight train!!!
post #43 of 79
OK- I may not be the oldest skier on the hill, but at 44, with over 4700 days on skis, I can say with great honesty- I ski better now than I ever have. ( But will I ever match up against the great SCSA?)

If your skill foundation is solid, then maintaining good technique is easy. And you can go on forever. If that skill foundation is suspect, then it requires more and more effort to sustain performance.

As somebody earlier in this thread mentioned- skiing smarter. Using better tatics, better technique. Challenge yourself to keep the edge sharp- racing, bumps, crud, coral reef, etc, but enjoy the powder and the corduroy.

Ironic, but here in the Vail Ski School, 7 of the top 10 fastest skiers are all over 40. And we are not numbers 4-10!

I guess it goes to show that maturity and treachery will overcome youthfulness everytime!!!

post #44 of 79
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
Well, kids, lemme tell you something. As you know I'm 70 now and my lovely wife Ann is 69, though I've been skiing since I was a kid myself, Ann didn't start until the ripe old age of 23.

My secret is that I keep refining my technique and smoothness in skiing, almost automatically, I just ski with whatever takes less effort, no superflous movements. In skiing very smooth you fight nothing on the mountain, rather you look at what conditions and terrain can do for you.

Steep stuff is easier to ski because gravity helps you, ice is solid underfoot and won't give, so the edges hold well, crud and slush allow you to take a straighter line downhill, etc.

Ott, I often feel that you express my thought
much better than myself.
I particularly like the sentence above!
post #45 of 79
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
[QB]... About 5 years ago, I started noticing rapid fitness declines during periods of inactivity. I resolved to remedy that with more activity. ...QB]
I read somewhere that after age 30, you lose half your fitness with only 12 days of inactivity! Yikes. I am 34, and I've noticed this. If I take a week off, I definitely feel it.

[ May 04, 2002, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: segbrown ]
post #46 of 79

There's no disgrace in coming in second to the great SCSA. (Boy am I in trouble, next year at Vail).

Harald is 53 - he rips.

Craig Hubbel is 53 - probably the best bump skier I've ever seen.

I'm 43 and my skiing gets better every year. But then again, I only started 3 years ago. I have a few more aches and pains though.

I think we all get better technically, as we get older. So, in answer to your question, I expect to keep on keeping on till at least 60.
post #47 of 79
Oh my, this question is so complex that it is either unanswerable or any answer is correct. But here are my thoughts, and worth exactly what you paid for them:

Strength begins to decline somewhere in the 30’s for most people. By age 60 most men have about ½ the strength they had in there 20’s (sorry I don’t know what happens when to women). But since skiing is not a pure strength sport, the skier’s advance in technique can compensate for the strength loss. This trade off cannot continue indefinitely but probably lasts into the late 60’s. After that the skier must see some diminishment in ability, whether due to strength or technique or both.

However, the loss may not be noticeable to those not familiar to the individual. By that I mean that the skier may still be able to ski the pants off most skiers 20 or 30 thirty years of age. For example, during my 20’s I never ascertained my maximum bench press capability. I extrapolated from my ability to bench 350 lbs that I had a max of about 400 lbs. In my early 40’s however, I was able to bench more than 400 lbs. and did so every Monday afternoon during my weight workout. I do not believe my potential ability to lift increased. To the contrary, it must have declined. So what happened? I was stronger than I thought during my 20’s.

My point? No one can know their max capabilities in a sport unless they have performed to that level. Since few of us perform at our max level, we likely believe that our future performance is better than that of our younger self, when if fact it is an uncharted diminution, although it is better (through experience, technique improvement and equipment imprivement) than our earlier self.

Skiing also has the quirky problem of being a sport where equipment can make great changes in a skier’s ability.

Did I confuse you? I know I confused me!!!
post #48 of 79
Mad Woofer

I was under the impression that weight lifters "matured" older than 30's More like mid 40's. This would be "strength". Now, All around ability may suffer after the 30's.

I had also been advised that males "peak" at 28 years of age.

It is interesting to me that those who started late, express enjoyment of the progress and continuing improvement, and many who have skied "all thier life" notice a decline. There are some infernal optimists amoung us to prove the generalization (Ott step forward).

"To become old and wise, one must have first been young and foolish."

post #49 of 79

You could bench press over 400lbs in your early 40s? Wow! Only serious powerlifters talk about such numbers. How heavy are you? Are you talking about free weights or machine? In any case, I am very impressed.
post #50 of 79
CalG: I have heard similar numbers, but most commonly that male strength declines between the late 20’s and mid 30’s. Based on this I have always maintained that it is a 30’s phenomena, just my bias. As for power lifters, I would agree they peak after 40. But this is because power lifting is as much mental/psychological as strength. The old fox may be minimally less strong than the young guy, but he can out play him, for the most part, in the mind game aspect. Which leads me to the question, why can Tiger Woods play the golf mind game so well?

TomB: Yeah, two years ago I was lifting 400 lbs. on a Hammer Strength leverage machine. I found that I did not have the time to spend lifting with 2 spotters (or even 1 spotter for that matter). I had 1 ½ hours 4 days per week to work out. I spent ¾ to 1 hour each day on the Stairmaster and lifted about ½ hour as well. Speed was of the essence. I started each bench press workout with 270 lbs. (6 plates) then immediately went to 360 for a full set of 8 reps followed by as many on a second set as I could do, about 3 or 4. After a few months of this, I went to 410 lbs. (I added 25 lbs. to each side). I could handle about 3 reps at this weight. I followed this routine for about 2 years with few injuries or problems. I left the firm, bought a Tetrix stair machine and quit the club. I miss the weight workouts.

Bio: 6’ +, 240 lbs., I should be 220 lbs.

Please don’t take this as bragging, I am a natural at this, and I never worked hard enough at it to brag about it. It is all genes, not effort.
post #51 of 79
So people are now hiding insults about me in the middle of their discourses...

Originally posted by Maddog1959:
The old fox may be minimally less strong than the young guy,...
I would be furious with you right now if it wasn't for your follow up comment about my intelligence

Originally posted by Maddog1959:
...but he can out play him, for the most part, in the mind game aspect.
Although, I must take you to task over your failure to mention my better stamina or experience than the young cubs. And anyway, is 32 that old?

post #52 of 79

If you were to lay under a bar, how much could you bench?


[ May 06, 2002, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: SCSA ]
post #53 of 79
Originally posted by SCSA:

If you were to lay under a bar, how much could you bench?


post #54 of 79

If I were to lie under a bar, I doubt that lifting would be on my mind. More likely would be how the world could spin in two different directions at the same time.

If you mean weight lifting bar, I don’t know, I haven’t lifted in 2+ years and without a spotter I never lifted more than 200ish lbs., just too dangerous. The last time I lifted with a spotter was probably in the early 1980’s, and no I don’t recall the weights I was lifting at the time, but less than 400 lbs. I have been a curmudgeon since birth, I prefer working out alone.

And you SCSA?


If you ever take youth and strength over age and cunning, I take back everything nice I ever said about you.
post #55 of 79
Why don't we whip out the rulers and get it over with. :
post #56 of 79

Can you stick any inverts on the wakeboard?

Do you use a high bar or rack?
post #57 of 79
No, I suck at it. It's still fun, though.
post #58 of 79
Originally posted by SCSA:

Harald is 53 - he rips.

Leave Harald's digestive system out of this.

But then again, I only started 3 years ago.

Hmmmm...wasn't there already a controversy over this?????

I think we all get better technically, as we get older. So, in answer to your question, I expect to keep on keeping on till at least 60.

At which point you will undoubtedly be better than 98.2% of the population.

[ May 06, 2002, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: irul&ublo ]
post #59 of 79
Originally posted by milesb:
Why don't we whip out the rulers and get it over with. :
Hey everybody, milesb is really George Michael.
post #60 of 79
Pure power does peak in the late 20's early 30's.
Acceleration is power. We've all heard the "he's lost a step comment" when referring to the aging NFL back when he can't accelerate like he did as a younger player. As far as power lifters peaking later, there is a lot of technique and balance involved in powerlifting.

I believe your maximum possible ability peaks at 30. But in reality, most of us are nowhere near our maximum possible ability, so we can improve until we meet our maximum ability.

There is a reason few professional athletes make it past 35.
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