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Too old to ski - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
Mike I even may make it out to Colorado sometime to ski with you and Bob Barnes and Rusty Guy again, what fun.

....Ott
i'll buy:
post #32 of 50

Too old to ski

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESki View Post
Ott,

I know that someday, God willing, I will be there myself. I like to think that I will ski 'til I'm 100, but life, like love, is a fickle thing.

I don't know, maybe I'm muttering incoherently, but your post strikes a chord. But just to be out there with skis on the hill and the wind in the face is something I want to have forever. I want this for all who love the sport as you and I do.
Ott, I think the reason so many people have responded to your post so empathetically is that we know we will all face what you're facing sooner or later. I hope you will continue to ski this next season and beyond even if it's "just to be out there with skis on the hill and the wind in the face...". I hope you will continue to ski, even if it's a scaled down version, for as long as there are any choices left. I wish that for myself also and all of us!
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
Ghost, I assure you, I am no Jack Rabbit Johannsen...

....Ott
maybe not, but you are a fine senior skiing role model for a lot of people here.
And you can take GREAT consolation in the fact that you still have your best friend with you for the other 95% of your life not spent on a ski hill.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
...you are a fine senior skiing role model for a lot of people here.
And you can take GREAT consolation in the fact that you still have your best friend with you for the other 95% of your life not spent on a ski hill.
I'll bet when you kiss you both feel about 20 years old.
post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
I'll bet when you kiss you both feel about 20 years old.
Well, nolo, some things NEVER get old

....Ott
post #36 of 50
Hey Ott I have heard of you from the other Bears, whatever you decide Godspeed...we can only hope to ski as long as you and your peers.
post #37 of 50

You're never to old to ski - a couple more stories

Ott,

I remember meeting this 84 year old guy tottering around at the base of Keystone on one of my trips. He stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd at the base with people kind of flowing around him. He had the old guy gait where you could tell each step was a struggle. But he also had this ear to ear grin that said life was good. He told me that he skied an hour a day, every day! He said he had started skiing as a kid on wooden skis before lifts were invented. It was really cool to chat with him for a while.

I had a lady well into her 60s for a private one time. When I asked her what she wanted, she said she just wanted someone to ski with for an hour. She was pretty good, but our intermediate trail off the top was mogul-ed up pretty good that day so we were taking our time getting down it. While we were stopped on the side half way down she told me that her doctor had told her she could not ski any more. He said that if she fell, she would break her hip and die right there on the spot. She said she wasn't going to stop enjoying life. I just about ended mine right there. Before we started up again another lady took a good fall right in front of us. I went out to help her when this guy in his 20's, out of control, pulls an unintentional Wayne Wong and totally creams the lady trying to get up. She's a tough bird and gets up with only a couple of bruises. But you can guess what I was thinking (OMG - 10 feet to the right and goodbye lady). He'd split his boot in half down the back -> goodbye ACL. 20 minutes later he's packed up on a sled and I have to finish "the lesson" with visions of another train wreck haunting me.

It was the end of a busy day at ski school. Everybody had worked their ass off all day and in the cramped double wide that served as our ski school office/locker room everybody looked like crap when they were packing up to go home. I remember chatting with the guy in front of my elbows. I'd seen him maybe 3 times before. Enough to say hi and make small talk. "Do I look as bad you do?" "Yup". He said he'd had some chest pains earlier in the day, but he was fine now. I gave him the dirty look and he explained he was in his mid 50's and there was no family history to worry about. Five minutes later I was standing over his body holding a flashlight while patrol did CPR. He had been walking to his car. He was flat on his back with his bags at his feet. They said he was dead before he hit the ground. Massive heart attack. No chance even if I had hog tied him and taken him to first aid.

I hope I never have to see another body at a resort, but I guess it's only fair because I hope I'll be just like that lady and the guy at Keystone and I wouldn't mind going out after a full day of sharing the love. Note to the peanut gallery -> tell your coach about your serious ailments BEFORE the lesson starts. "Now you tell me"s take years off of our own skiing careers.
post #38 of 50
Ott, you can't stop, we haven't skiied together yet. (I'll even bring some Whiskey, if you ask nicely)
post #39 of 50
Hi Ott!

I ski with a couple of 90 year olds (one's a patroller and the other a p.s.i.a. Level III). I also ski with several folks in their 80's and many in their 70's. These are the people, like you, that inspire me to get out of bed and quit complaining every day. The seniors at our area help me appreciate the beauty of the outdoors and also help take the fear of aging away every time I see one of them comming down the hill. I hope that you stick with it if it's something that you really enjoy, because people like me sure enjoy seeing you out there!!!

Keep on Truckin!
post #40 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody, I am not contemplating to quit skiing now or ever, I was just lamenting about my ski buddies drifting away. I realize that all of you are my virtual ski buddies and I appreciate every one of you.

I made reservation at the Holiday Valley Lodge for three nights to ski with a bunch of bears at Holimont and HV end of January. If they can stay behind my slow round turns I'll leave them in the dust .

WTFH, I'll start training drinking the hard stuff so I'll be able to hold my own when we meet.

Rusty, two years ago one of our 45-year-old instructors who had been instructing since he was 16 and in the last number of years taught kids/adults with retardation problems, special people program cheered on one of his racers in the slalom, hugged him and fell over dead, Spooney was a special person.

....Ott
post #41 of 50
Ott, I'm thinking you probably knew the guy (I can't be sure of his name, I want to say Werner) that was the ski school director at Snow Trails for many years. I had a friend that instructed at Snow Trails back in the late 70's early 80's that introduced me to him. Anyway, I believe he skied well into his 80's. I ran into him out at Keystone a number of years back now and he had a number of pricate lesson clients from Ohio that skied with him.

I believe this same gentleman suffered serious injuries when an out of control skier slammed into him out in Colorado. Wishing you another great season ahead and hope to say hello at the gathering at HV.
post #42 of 50
Quote:
some things NEVER get old
I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief, Ott. I'm also glad to hear you're still turning on your skis too.

I know quite a few older skiers who rip (not R.I.P., haha) -- in particular Junior Bounous comes to mind. I challenge anyone on this forum to follow in his tracks without a hitch.
post #43 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
There are so many age related maladies that have nothing to do with skiing that often discourage old skiers, one of my friends cannot make more than two runs without running to the bathroom, another is nearly blind and can only see shapes but not anything on the snow, another asked me three time within a few minutes how old I am and couldn’t remember the answer, the nearly blind guy and another can no longer drive, they have to be brought to the slope by someone, etc.
Not to make light of this comment, but there's a major non-age related malady that keeps a lot of people way younger than you from skiing -- laziness.

If I had a five dollar bill for every person I know who "wants" to ski this year, but won't...I'd have...a really great night at a strip club

Ott - I'd be willing to bet that you're a better skier than I am, and I'm "only" 41. I didn't really start until 10 or 12 years ago, and I'm getting better every year still.

There are a lot of activities I do now that I will have to change as I grow older -- whitewater kayaking will probably be the first to change. It won't be long until I can't stand a cramped playboat...and I don't mind. I'll paddle a bigger volume downriver boat, then as that gets too difficult or confining, I'll paddle an inflatable.

Point is, it's all about the fun you can have right now. Was in JH two years ago...saw an older gentleman there, cruising the green runs over and over, waering rear entry boots and sliding on straight skis. Seemed to be having a pretty darn good time.

Skiing may not satisfy the same desires and needs as we age...but at the core, if it makes you happy, provides some fun physical activity, keep it up. If someone can't enjoy it anymore...they should find an activity they can enjoy. If I didn't have fun doing something, I have a list of other things I'd love to try -- some physically challenging, some mentally, some both.

Giving up one thing might open doors you forgot were there.

Funny, but I think my dad, who is about your age and has never downhill skied (has x-c, but not in years), might try downhill this year.
post #44 of 50
Thread Starter 
That was Walter (Valta) Neuron, a good friend and he had the only independent ski school in Ohio. Snow Trails was owned by a bunch of business men who asked only that Walter made sure there were enough instructors handy for everyone who wanted a lesson so they wouldn't have to concern themselves with the nuisance of a ski school.

After he retired he first had a condo in Vail and then moved to Keystone where indeed he was knocked unconscious by and out of control skier/boarder, I forgot which.

The funny story that goes with that is that he was in the hospital unconscious for a number of days and he had no identifications on him and nobody knew who he was, then he came to just as he overheard the doctor saying that he is an old guy and to just make him comfortable until he croaks and he said hell no, I need to ski next week, and so he did. He and several old timers met every day at ten o'clock for breakfast at a mountain restaurant.We skied with him after that a few times and he wore a bicycle helmet and skied top to bottom non-stop.

He never married and died a few years ago.

.....Ott
post #45 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
Pierre, who is old enough to be my son is an excellent skier, at least he was the last time I skied with him.

As I sit here sipping my manhatten and trying to get the courage to post this somewhat sad note I spin this off the “Brag about yourself” thread. First, after four gel shots in Ann’s knee she sees no improvement the doctor says surgery wont help so it may be she wont ski anymore, possibly ever.

The other thing is that after our 70+ club meeting (official and unofficial members) at a luncheon yesterday almost half of our group of 14 said they couldn’t ski any more because of one thing or another.

Of the ones that planned to ski this season most are discouraged because they look wistfully up a slope that they didn’t think twice to dive down and now are afraid to ski. One drawback of fear when they/we are old is that we don’t have the strength anymore to handle difficult situations, one of us who goes to the to work out for a couple of hours daily has a hard time walking down steps taking one step at a time with both feet, but he will try to ski this season because he believes that skiing is easier than walking, he could be right.

All of us are accomplished skiers, most retired instructors or racers who have skied most of our lives, we never thought that this time would come. I’ll be 76 at the end of ski season and the others are around this age give or take a couple of years.

There are so many age related maladies that have nothing to do with skiing that often discourage old skiers, one of my friends cannot make more than two runs without running to the bathroom, another is nearly blind and can only see shapes but not anything on the snow, another asked me three time within a few minutes how old I am and couldn’t remember the answer, the nearly blind guy and another can no longer drive, they have to be brought to the slope by someone, etc.

I only know LarryC of Seven Springs who is older than I am and who had partial knee replacement and is on this board that still skis and teaches. There are still many exceptions and I’m sure many of you know someone, but remember, they are the exception and they don’t have a group of age related skiers around. The 70+ ski club brings skiers together from all over to enjoy skiing, even if they stick to easier stuff.

When I was fifty or even sixty there were hundreds of my age, where are they now? I do think that having the training we had and the new shaped skis have given us a few more years but the end is near.

I better refill my manhatten.

….Ott
Ott, when I read the above tears came to my eyes.
Me too, I am thinking about those lines "where have my friends gone" even if I'm "only" 42...
Don't give up.
My mother (born 1939 so, do you math) has both hands and feet ruined by arthritis, has breast cancer more or less 8 years ago, last winter fell on a slippery ice patch while climbing out of a taxi (she took a tumble, got scared and took a taxi back to the hotel from where she was, for those who have skied the dolomites this will not seem strange) and hurt badly a knee. That was in January, my father was pushing hard for her to stop skiing once and for all. She's not giving up. Her brother, my uncle, is suffering from diabetes and as a consequences has had serious eyes problems...he's not giving up.
Whenever we meet, my mom my uncle and me, ski, even for a quick "what about going up there and making some quick turns..." line, comes out.
It's my second winter after surgery, and as I said to my GF, "If I don't put on skis this winter, I'm going to bite someone"
I plan to ski, and I plan to have my uncle and mom with me.
Even if we are to ski only one day in the whole winter, we're going to ski.

Don't give it totally up. Take it easy,take it more easily, but ski. I had to come to accept the fact that I wasn't 23 anymore a longtime ago. but this doesn't mean I can't do the things I love to. As the old bull says to the young one..."let's go down the hill slowly, so we'll have enough energy for them all".
With respect. Matteo.
post #46 of 50

Getting there

Thanks folks for some great reading. I don't know any of you but have enjoyed the discussion as I can relate and empathize being 65yrs young.::
post #47 of 50
Sorry but I gotta chime in with my story.

I started skiing in 2001-02 when I was 21 at Badger Pass in Yosemite. I briefly dated one of the ski instructors there. The ski school ambassador at Badger Pass (BP) was Nic Fiore. He was about 80 years old at the time. He'd been instructing at BP since I think 1948.

The following year I became an instructor and I got to know Nic a bit better. The man was incredible. The first year when I went to orientation there was no snow on the ground just a few days before the ski area was to open. All of the instructors were pretty down about the situation. Nic got up to give a little speech and ended up by singing us a song about winter and how much fun we would have (sung to the tune of Fara Jaqua [sp?]). Just as he finished the last bars, we all looked outside to see the first snow flakes falling (gives me the shivers every time I think about it). That night it dumped and the ski area ended up opening on time. When we asked about the words to the song, Nic told us that he'd just made it up on the spot.

Once I was standing out at the ski school meeting sign splitting classes. A woman in her 40's walked up to Nic and introduced herself saying he probably didn't remember her but that he'd taught her to ski. He replied that of course he did but that the last time he'd seen her, she was only 3ft tall. And, by the way, was her family still in the wine business? After all those years, Nic could still recall the details of the people whose lives he'd touched.

My friend, Joel, said he was out skiing once in near white out conditions at BP. He fell and had a bit of a yardsale. As he was picking himself up. He heard yodeling coming from the blizzard. Just then Nic Fiore came schussing by exclaiming, "Don't worry boys! You'll get it someday!"

Then there was the time that Joel was late for his class of never-evers. I was in the vicinity teaching another class and watched as Nic (by this time he must have been 82-83) took his class of 15 or so (mostly East Indians) through a direct parallel progression. By time Joel showed up, he had the whole group turning to a stop in both directions....

I think it was about a week after that that Nic had heart surgery. He tried to return to Yosemite but his health wouldn't allow it.

My point to all these stories, is that Nic made a huge impression on me. I can only hope to be skiing and teaching at that age. And I hope to be doing what I love up until the point that it is no longer possible. Every time I think, "Oh God, not another class of never-evers!" I think back to Nic cheerfully teaching never-evers up until the end.

I think that every ski area needs it's resident "codger" to show the young "kids" what's possible and to give them something to aspire to.
post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Ott,

I remember meeting this 84 year old guy tottering around at the base of Keystone on one of my trips. He stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd at the base with people kind of flowing around him. He had the old guy gait where you could tell each step was a struggle. But he also had this ear to ear grin that said life was good.

Yesterday after coming off the course I saw the oldest living member of the PGA-95 years young. He had played a few holes and had that same grin Rusty talks about. The love of our sports never fades. Wish I would have had time to visit and talk about his lifetime in golf.
post #49 of 50
I skied yesterday with some guys in their 70s. They made nicer turns than me. I guess I better keep after it.
post #50 of 50
I can't imagine having to quit skiing. But I know it is going to happen sooner or later...And it is going to be real tough to do it also. My hope is to be healthy enough to be able to ski up to the last years of my life. I do occasionally see 80+ year olds skiing, some still doing the blacks and it is very inspiring.
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