There are certain words that are at best—annoying. “Still” is one of them. Not kind to say to a mother, “So your daughter is still single?”. To the very pregnant woman, “You still haven’t had that baby?” Or to the frugal guy, “I can’t believe you still wear that parka”. OUCH was my reaction to a recent email from a young guy, who I thought viewed me as an inveterate skier. He asked, “Still getting out there?”. By return mail, he now knows he is in semantic trouble. I am on a personal mission to educate people, one at a time, to just drop the “still”. Never let the ask, “Do you still ski?” come from your lips.
This campaign is not about my daughter, expectancy or my wardrobe. It is all about my age and ageism. It seems there is a commonly-held belief that skiers reach an age and, presto—they no longer ski. So not true. Last winter I joined a ski club where all the members are seventy plus. I did two outings with the club including a week in Utah skiing six mountains with 140 hearty skiers and boarders. I was on the younger end of the spectrum but, thankfully, held my own. It was a 103 year old man who stole my heart and gave me hope and incentive to hang in there for many years to come. At Alta, where he is a celebrity, we skied a great run. When he glanced to the left and spotted a strip of powder, he was off! His 72-year old son was quick to reprlmand him and I was fast to make a note to remember to leave my kids at home.
At Sugarbush there is designated parking for 80+ year olds. Bravo to the resort for the recognition and provision to make it a bit easier. I love seeing Bob Stevens in his emerald green helmet and red jacket each morning as he graces the mountain with his beautiful racing form. Bob is 91 and enjoying the second year of his free skiing. Don’t use the still word with my friend Bob either—he deserves better. The fact that most resorts have upped their ages for reduced price or free skiing is evidence to the demographic of skiers/boarders staying with their sports longer and longer. Win Smith, then in his 60”s, instituted “The Boomer Pass” allowing weekday skiing at a great price. Maybe you have to ski in the boots to recognize we are ageless if we love the sport and stay fit. While we may need some considerations realizing we are tough and determined. We feel fortified when we are perceived as just another constantly-working-on -our-technique person out for fun, companions and exercise. And if you still don’t get it, count on my campaign coming to a location near you.