More and more people are taking to skiing later in life, even though some say after 50 it is all downhill. Skiing in your 50s is a wonderful way to stay mentally and physically active, especially for seniors, as the nature of the sport makes it an extremely exhilarating and enjoyable activity.
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Studies have shown that skiing can boost your happiness quotient when participating in the sport with grandkids, apart from the beneficial Vitamin D exposure gained by spending the day on the reflective white slopes.
That said, skiing in your 50s or older requires careful preparation in order to make sure you return from the slopes injury free. The only decisive factor in the process is the skier’s motivation and physical fitness.
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Preparing for the slopes
In order not to come back with sore muscles from your skiing holiday, performing some simple exercises that can be easily done throughout the day, a few days or preferably more prior, to your session on the slopes will definitely help the seniors to ski better.
Avoid alcohol the night before you ski, get a good night’s rest and while skiing remember to drink lots of water in order to stay hydrated on the slopes.
Check yourself out: If you have been off the slopes for some time and are itching to get back, the first thing to do is to have a complete physical check-in and get your doctor’s blessings before skiing in your 50s. With proper strength training, a 50 or 60 year old can be able to increase strength equal to that of a 40 or 50 year old.
Get into shape by attending aerobics classes, walking a lot, starting the day with a regimen that includes balancing exercises and some cardiovascular activities. Low impact exercises like stretches, half-squats, leg curls, lunges are important if you are over the age of 50.
Gear up: Modern Ski technology makes skiing that much easier, and since you are old enough, head to the local ski equipment store and talk to an experienced professional who will literally gear you up, boots and all(ageing skiers need to take good care of their feet), for the best equipment based on normal terrain and your budget.
Benefits of skiing for seniors
If you need another reason to hit the slopes, the numerous benefits of skiing mentioned below will serve as good incentives:
- Strengthens lower body, muscles and bones
- Improves balance and coordination
- Increases cardiovascular endurance
- Helps lose body weight
- Boosts the mood
The best benefit one can get from this activity is the sheer enjoyment it offers.Gliding to the mountains at an exhilarating speed, in a wonderful winterland setting is all part of a fabulous experience.
Choosing the right destination
When adults choose to ski, they will not have the same expectation from a skiing destination as family or advanced skiers. Choose a ski area that has PSIA trained instructors on their roll who are trained to assist skiers 50 and above.
Here are some of the best ski destinations for seniors over fifty, based upon ski criteria like lifts, food offerings, amenities available for older skiers and last but not the least special offers and discounts for seniors, especially those over 70.
Nearest airport: Geneva (2 hours)
Morzine is an immensely popular age-friendly ski resort located in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area which straddles the Swiss-French border. Morzine is home to a lovely village with accommodation for all budgets, with incredibly cheap Saturday and weekend rates.
This family-friendly ski resort is car free so it is especially safe for grandparents as well as grandchildren. The ski schools have English speaking teachers with something for everyone from tiny tots to adults. The all ski-in and ski-out area saves the hassle of lugging around your grandkids kits as well as your own.
Courchevel La Tania
At 1400m, La Tania is the best kept secret in the famous Three Valleys area. This unique and friendly resort is surrounded by a spruce forest and can be easily accessed via the Tania gondola to this arguably the greatest area in the world.
Skiing back to the village is easy using any of the three good pistes available, including an exciting blue run which is extremely friendly for all levels of skiers. Accommodation in La Tania is located close together and is not more than a two minutes walk to the nearest piste.
Beginners and intermediate snowboarders of all ages will enjoy skiing in the lovely wide open tree-lined area of Les Gets. Moreover, the 650 km of pistes are located in one of the finest ski areas in the world and the largest inter-linked resort in Europe.
The apres ski is lively as there are a number of good bars and clubs. Since it is linked with Morzine, it offers a good value for money skiing vacation in pretty chalet type accommodation. Les Gets is especially suitable for seniors and families on ski holidays.
Linked with the neighbouring Val D’Isere resort, Tignes has some of the best glacier skiing in Europe. Noted for its high altitude and snow-sure slopes, it rivals some of the best ski destinations in the world because of the excellent downhill and off piste activity.
The ski lifts are fast, the slopes wide and long lasting, which allow for effortless skiing for all ages. Seniors will enjoy the easily accessible off-piste opportunities around Tignes which border the national park, making skiing here an extraordinarily quiet affair.Top class daily maintenance has kept the slopes in good condition and has a range of jumps for all ages and abilities.
Home to the highest mountain in Europe,Mont Blanc, Chamonix is an extremely diverse and snow-sure alpine village, where over 90% of the slopes are above 2000 m. Older skiers will love the fascinating culture of Chamonix, where there is so much more to do apart from skiing.
The unprecedented level of facilities for skiers and the legendary nightlife has made Chamonix popular with even non-skiers, especially those from the United Kingdom, who can begin their day of skiing just four hours after leaving home.
Short transfers and varied skiing makes Las Clusaz a convenient skiing destination for mature skiers. Las Clusaz may not be as glitzy as its other French counterparts, but the pretty French village with over 200 km of skiing is perfect for those seniors looking for a short break.
Just an hour away from Geneva airport, skiing here is perfect for intermediates and the slopes converge on the centre of the village. Nightlife is not that vibrant, but there are some good bars where you can rest your tired legs at the end of the day.
For more information check out this post: Where to Ski in Europe.