Liftlines: January 2002


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Senior Debate
There is an irritating smugness in the attitude of a number of ski areas. They seem to say: “Hey, you’re old, you’re rich. Come ski. And pay. You don’t think we run this place so you can ski free, do you?” (“Should Seniors Ski Free?” Forum, November 2001).

Look at some facts. The 70-plus Ski Club has about 12,000 members-4,000 are in their 80s-throughout the U.S. Consider this: The average senior brings three other full-fare skiers. And all four of them pay full price for housing and food.

I started skiing when I was 50. Next month I’ll turn 85-I trust. And come January, I’ll be back on a mountain-not Vail, of course-skiing for free. And-yes, I’ll have three paying adults with me-my wife and two daughters. I’m glad you published the article. It might encourage older skiers to enjoy glorious winter play on the snow.
Herb Gordon
New York, N.Y.

I think your article on senior skiers is one of the best I have seen in a long time. When I started skiing, we had to find a woodworker to put the metal edges on our skis. A groomed slope was only found after 1 p.m., when everybody had churned up the powder. Ropetows were the norm. I remember the 50-cent hamburgers and Coke for a dime.

Yes, senior skiers are a significant force. When I go skiing, I usually drop anywhere from $50 to $75 per day on a day trip. Sure I want to ski free butconsider what resorts get in return: someone who has a respect for the mountain and the people who maintain it; someone who will ski in control and is happy to cruise and take it easy; someone who probably has some children, and in some cases grandchildren-at which point the sky’s the limit on spending.
Larry McGivney
Whitehall, Mich.

I never finished reading “Should Seniors Ski Free?” because the first thing I saw was so off-the-wall, I could read no further: “Smart move: Give skiing away to the one group that can afford it.” This has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. How many 70-year-olds do you know who can afford $40-$60 for a day of skiing? We’re talking about people on fixed incomes.

How many 70-year-olds are physically able to spend a full day skiing, anyway? This is one of the few policies resort owners can follow that falls under “community service.” And you seriously think resorts should stop doing it because “old folks” can supposedly afford the sport more than any other age group? Earth to Greg Trinker…
Leo Carlin
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Egg On Your Face
I loved November’s Warren’s World (“The Governor & The Egg”). It gave me a connection to Warren, because it would be just like me to show up at such an elegant occasion in grossly inappropriate attire. Warren is more than a ski-industry icon to me now. He’s a hero. Thanks for sharing, Warren.
Luke Galvan
San Francisco, Calif.

All Hail Schlopy
Kudos for the excellent story by Stu Campbell on Erik Schlopy. Schlopy is one of the true work-horses in our sport, and he doesn’t need colored hair to prove it. Everything is done behind the scenes. Underpaid, under-recognized and not honored nearly to the level they should be, Schlopy and other athletes on the U.S. Ski Team need this support. Good luck, Schlopy.
Chris Anthony
Vail, Colo.

Mountain Chronicler
I want to thank Peter Shelton for his contributions to SKI Magazine. Peter, I find your work consistently conveys so much of the spirit of skiing. What has moved me to write is your most recent reflection on Mt. Baldy, here in the San Gabriels (“When Time Stands Still,” Mountain Chronicle, November 2001). Though I got a relatively late start in skiing-I’m 40 in a week, and this will be my fourth year on skis-Baldy is my mountain, and it was nice to see you drop her name.

I grew up with vviews of Mt. San Antonio from the “coastal hills around Newport Beach,” and I had no inkling then that my love of water would increase so dramatically once it was frozen and I had skis under me.

I’ve made ski stops now at Tahoe, in British Columbia, Utah, Colorado and at Mammoth. I consider myself blessed to be able to sneak in 20-day seasons. Still, Baldy remains a classic “home” mountain to which I love to return. She deserves a good word; thanks for providing that in your most recent Mountain Chronicle.
Bob Ryan
Los Angeles, Calif.

As a friend and I were flipping through the November issue of SKI, we were pleasantly surprised to stumble across your column about Mt. Baldy. My friend is a longtime Mt. Baldy resident and was a patroller there for many years. She has a copy of an old Warren Miller movie filmed in part at Mt. Baldy. The movie has great footage of a time when people like your family friend Hans Lorenz skied the area. My friend insists that they should still run the ropetow to serve the beginner area. Anyway, thanks for the surprise.
Patrick Caraher
Altadena, Calif.

Travel Tip
The mountains and skiing are two of my greatest loves, as they are to countless others. After the recent events, travel has changed, perhaps forever. As an airline employee, I can say that flying is never going to be the same again.

While reading SKI, I noticed one hint to the air traveler that perhaps should now be reversed (“Win The Air War,” Savvy Traveler, October 2001). With new security directives, in which all baggage is opened and hand-checked, putting a lock on any type of luggage will only delay the process of checking in.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we should all continue to love the things that make us feel free. For me, that’s hitting the slopes and enjoying the freedom of skiing.
Jeff Haugen
St. Paul, Minn.
Editor’s Note: See Warren Miller’s “Ski Freedom” on page 54.

My father probably also hates you, Warren. (“My Father Hates You,” Warren’s World, December 2001). But, I thank you! It was your awesome films that got me revved up for our winter vacation out to Vail each December. I graduated from college four years ago and guess where I’ve been living ever since? You guessed it…. And I love it!
Jim Hicks
Vail, Colo.

Finally I have someone to blame other than my sons (and myself). I’m a single mother and I put both of my sons through Cornell. Guess what? They’re both living in Tahoe now, teaching skiing (a.k.a. “ski bumming”). Every day, I’m aghast.I guess I’m part to blame. Each Christmas, I used to take them to Stratton for a week. And I would stuff their stockings with your new movie-which I believe was the start of the downfall. I don’t think they’re ever coming back East. And forget about a career. At least I have a nice place to visit.
Abigail Stanton
Newport, R.I.