Courtesy of SeniorsSkiing.com – Free skiing is available to people 65 and older this ski season at 111 resorts across 26 states. The list of resorts is available at SeniorsSkiing.com, the free online magazine for older skiers.
The number of resorts reporting free skiing privileges for seniors increased slightly from last season. Most resorts provide free skiing at age 70. The annual SeniorsSkiing.com report was first issued for the 2015-16 season.
According to recent National Ski Areas Association statistics, 20% of the nation’s total skiing/boarding population is 52 and older (1,843,000). Those 52-62 total 1,220,000 participants; 62-71 total 510,000, and 72+ total 113,000.
Each resort establishes its own age threshold for free skiing. People in their 60s ski free at nine resorts in six states. Those 70-79 have a choice of 62 resorts in 22 states, and those 80 and older ski free in 40 resorts in 15 states.
The three states with the most areas offering free skiing are New Hampshire with 11 and California and Michigan, each with 10. New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania each have 8 resorts with free skiing. Maine has 7, Vermont has 6, and Washington has 5.
Three resorts, Alta Sierra (California), Welch Village (Minnesota), and Sugarbush (Vermont), have a minimum age of 90 to ski free.
Many resorts have a range of discounts for older skiers purchasing lift tickets and other products and services. The editors of SeniorsSkiing.com advise looking online or asking before making purchases.
The free list is available to SeniorsSkiing.com subscribers. Existing subscribers have immediate access to the list. New visitors to the site must enter their email address to have access. Subscribing to SeniorsSkiing.com is free. In addition to weekly news and reports covering topics of interest to older snow sports enthusiasts, the site lists the best choices of skis and boots for older skiers.
White Book and Seniorssking.com contributor Roger Lohr compiled some data from the seniorsskiing.com survey. It revealed that the average age of the respondents was 66 but they perceived themselves as 46 years old! The respondents were equally split between male and female.
The survey respondents were 91% alpine skiers with 48.5% of them expecting to ski 20 or more days and 20% expecting they’d ski 50 or more days! The secondary snow sports activity showed that 31% were into snowshoeing and 29% were also cross country skiers.
The seniors annually visit an average of 6 ski areas on day trips per season and they visit 2 resorts per season on weekend or vacation trips. Are ski area marketers reaching out to the senior market in their region? It is a great idea because 35% of the older skiers go with friends and 25% ski with their spouse while 18% bring their children or grandchildren. Only 15% indicated that they ski alone.
Some of the older skiers said they take lessons (29%) at the beginning of the season to adapt to their changing physical needs or to improve while 69% stated that they do not need to take lessons. Of the respondents, 73% were married.
With regard to planned purchases, 57% of the respondents to the SeniorsSkiing.com survey said that they expected to purchase base layers (underwear) and about one-third would buy skis, 29% new goggles, and 25% boots, gloves, ski jackets, or ski pants.
The point is while these seniors are skiing free they’re also spending money and frankly most ski during the midweek so the slopes are less inhabited as they fear crashing into or getting mowed down by younger riders.