Going downhill as you age isn’t such a bad thing after all, especially when it comes to skiing.
Provided you are fit, age should present no problem. Technological advances in ski equipment have greatly improved over the years. Skis are twice as wide, making it so much easier to turn. Even the ski lifts have improved and many now are covered to take pedestrians.
According to the National Ski Areas Association 5.3 percent of skiers visiting the slopes are over 60. That number increases quite a bit if you account for cross–country skiing and is continuing to grow. Many started when they were younger, but a surprising number did not begin until they retired.
No matter how experienced you are, a winter holiday in the snow takes some beating. It is invigorating taking in the fresh mountain air under a turquoise sky, the glistening snow, and of course the smell of coffee and spiced hot wine, to welcome you in the mountain cafes.
The bonus is that most ski resorts in Europe are offering great lift pass deals for mature skiers over 65 with some inviting those aged over 75 to ski for free.
For example, in France, Flaine (Grand Massif ski area), those aged 75 and over ski for free and in Val Cenis.
The ski area of Grandvalira in Andorra, which offers 210km of slopes to explore, is offering free lift passes for over 70s to ski all season long.
Italian resorts offering reduced lift passes to anyone over 65 include La Thuile, a friendly, unspoilt resort with a large ski area linked to La Rosière in France;
One of the passionate senior skiers who and the lucky owner of the free ski pass is Yvonne, who took up skiing in in her 50s. It was sport all her family could enjoy holidays together in France
Yvonne regularly skis now with her grandson and to keep fit through the year she plays golf and does Pilates once a week.
“The key to a successful ski holiday is choosing the right resort”: says Marion from Crystal Holidays. “There are lots of factors to consider: your level of skiing, your budget, who you are travelling with, time of year, whether you want a resort with charm that’s a bus ride from the slopes or one offering the convenience of ski-in/ski-out accommodation”
Personally I look for the smaller friendly ski villages, such as St Martin de Belleville in France rather than the larger more popular resorts. It is a traditional Savoyard village with a pretty church, small square and some delightful restaurants. A quiet inexpensive base from which to explore the Three Valleys ski area. It is a joy after a gentle day skiing to return to the log fire and bonhomie of the après ski at the lodge.
Are you someone who has got the passion for the piste or have you recently discovered the joy of the mountains in winter? We would love to hear your tales.
by Rowena Cooper, Mature Times travel writer