4 Tips For Skiing Over 50

This Post Was Originally Published on the Liftopia Blog on March 14, 2016 by Mark Crone; updated March 5, 2020

I started skiing at the age of 6 and I’m now well above 50. My first boots had laces; my skis had screw-in edges and ski straps; my poles had leather strap baskets. A lot has changed since then – and thankfully.

If you are well under 50, you may be thinking, “this has nothing to do with me,” but it will at some point. You will hit the magical age of 50.

If you are indeed over 50, the fork in the road may be “you do ski” or “you would like to ski”. Either way, read on. Here are my 4 tips for skiing over 50:

skiing over 50
Photo by Mati Mango on Pexels.com

1. Get Modern

Above, I described my first set of ski gear. When I’m at the hill, I still see people in purple ski suits (from the 70s), rear-entry boots and 200 cm. skis. Now “Throwback Thursdays” are one thing, but… modern ski clothing provides warmth, durability and weather resistance.

Ski technology makes skiing easier (if you are old enough, think “before parabolic skis”). Get into your local ski equipment shop and talk to an experienced professional. They’ll fit you for boots (literally) and set you up with the best pair of skis for you based on your ability, normal terrain and your budget.

2. Get Fit

Skiing is tough work and you need to be in some kind of “ski fit” condition to really enjoy yourself. I’ve talked about it in another post for Liftopia – “How To Get Ready For The First Day Of The Ski Season”.

As a Ski Patroller, and someone who is over 50, I ski all day. It’s a given that I’ll be tired the next day (as I am today) but you need to have enough stamina during the ski day to enjoy your time on the slopes (be it a half day, full day or ski vacation).

Skiing is great exercise and requires at least some strength and flexibility. As you get older, it gets tougher to get up if you fall. But it’s tougher still to get up if you aren’t in shape.

3. Get Lessons

It’s never too late to learn to ski. Lessons are an absolute necessity if you are learning to ski at any age. A professional ski instructor will make learning to ski fun and help you to master the basics and stay safe. You’ll enjoy yourself and look forward to a good time on the slopes.

Even if you have skied for a while, or are coming back to skiing, a “tune up” lesson, clinic or program is a great way to improve your skills.

4. Get Out There

The “over 50” market is a big one and a growing one for the ski industry. Websites, equipment, clothing, lessons and more are all geared to “north of 50”. There are “over 50” ski clubs and groups (regular clubs, clubs for singles, seniors clubs) to ski in a group and socialize afterwards. There are “over 50” ski holidays offered by some ski clubs and ski tour operators. Liftopia has you covered for great deals on lift tickets when you buy in advance and if you are over 65, they have senior prices too. There are no excuses!

Above all…

Ski at your own pace and on the terrain that you feel most comfortable on. If you skied when you were young, the exhilarating mogul runs and double black diamonds may now be a thing of the past. But you can still have a great day of fresh winter air, physical exercise and great skiing. When you get tired, simply call it a day. Go back to the ski lodge, get a hot drink and sit by the fireplace to warm up. There’s always tomorrow…

How to Avoid Common Mistakes On The Mountain

A great day of skiing
Photo by Melvin Wahlin on Pexels.com

As a ski patroller and veteran skier, I’ve seen more than my share of mistakes on the mountain. And there is a theme with common mistakes – not being prepared and/or not skiing smart. Here are some ways to avoid those common mistakes on the mountain:

1. Be prepared for a Workout

Skiing and snowboarding are great workouts. A day on the slopes requires stamina, a strong core and leg muscles. If you plan on hitting a big mountain with long runs, skiing will be harder still. If you have a decent fitness level, you’ll have a good base for your day on the slopes and adjust easier to the demands of skiing and boarding. A regular fitness routine will help you to ski or snowboard better and longer.

2. Avoid heading straight to the Black Diamonds

Start out easy at the beginning of the day. Experienced skiers always take it easy for, at least, the first few runs before heading off to the diamond runs. Warm up and get your focus on movement, turns and technique before you crank it up on more challenging stuff. Gain confidence with easier runs before moving to diamond runs. Work your way up to the more serious, advanced, narrow, thrill rides.

skiing a black diamond run
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

3. Use common sense

There is something called the Alpine Responsibility Code which many skiers know, and many don’t. It’s typically posted on a yellow sign at the bottom of most lifts. It’s a combination of safety rules and common sense for skiers and snowboarders. For example, always stay in control; do not stop where you obstruct a trail, before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others, etc. Follow these rules (ski smart) and you’ll stay safe and avoid the common mistakes of others.

4. Pay attention to lifts

Getting on and off lifts is prime for accidents. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll quickly find that the chairlift is unforgiving. High speed chairs pick you up slowly, but then move fast. Be ready, line up with skis pointed forward and poles in hand. Getting off a chairlift can be a challenge for novice skiers and boarders. At the offloading area, simply stand up and let the chair push you. T-bars or other vintage lifts are completely unknown to new or young skiers, so ask for help from the lift operator or ski patrol if you need it.

a great day of snowboarding
Photo by Visit Almaty on Pexels.com

5. Don’t think you can ski all day (with no break)

If you only ski while on a ski vacation, you’ll need to pace yourself for a full day on the slopes. As a Canadian Ski Patroller, I’m on shift all day and break the day into parts: a few hours of skiing and then take a break. Back out again for a few more hours then take a lunch break. After lunch, I’m back out again with a break in the afternoon. Don’t over do it and your last run will be as good as your first run.

taking a break from skiing
Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

6. Avoid borrowing your Dad’s old equipment

Chances are your Dad’s equipment is old, worn out and/or doesn’t fit. Take a pass. If you don’t have your own equipment, rent from a ski shop where they will provide decent equipment based on your skill level. Boots need to be comfortable. Bindings should be set so that they will release your skis when needed. Tuned up skis make it easier to hold an edge and get down the hill. Helmets are very much in style and should be mandatory for their obvious protection. A helmet can’t prevent a concussion, but it could reduce the severity of one. Use quality equipment that fits you and your level of ability.

7. Not Layering Up

I’ve become a bit of an expert at dressing for winter. Wearing the wrong type of clothes can result in a not-so-happy ski day. For example, don’t wear cotton socks and a cotton shirt as your base layer. You will not be warm. The best way to layer up for skiing is to have three high-quality layers: a thin base layer (long johns); an insulating mid-layer (fleece or ski sweater) and then ski pants/ski jacket. Keep active, take rest breaks and keep nourished (your body stays warmer with fuel intake). If your clothes get wet, change them.

Get ready for a great day on the slopes! If you are going on a ski vacation, check out my TuGo post – What to Pack for a Ski or Snowboard Trip. And don’t forget your travel insurance if you travel outside your home province or Canada. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!

5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

If you are a skier or snowboarder, there are at least 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe. The Alps have a special mix of landscapes, style, glamour and après ski. And when you add the world-class ski terrain in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and France, it can’t be beat!

Olympiaregion Seefeld
Olympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation blends skiing or snowboarding with the culture, history and alpine views only available in Europe. It’s a unique alpine experience – thermal baths for après ski relaxation; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after skiing all day on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation is the perfect blend of travel experience and incredible skiing!

Here’s 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe:

Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – time zone, language, food, and money, electrical outlets too. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; efficient lift systems and super long top of the mountain to bottom of the valley runs.

Skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Switzerland

When To Go?

Generally speaking, most ski areas in Europe open at the end of November and close later in April, with some exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts have fewer visitors and are more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means shorter lift lines! Prices are much higher at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during school holidays around Christmas, Easter, and particularly with the now popular February Reading Week.

If you are going on your ski/snowboard holiday during late March-April (with longer and nicer days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a higher altitude resort. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Cervinia, Italy all come to mind. Zugspitze, near Munich, is a glacier and is skiable from early autumn until late spring. It has the highest elevation (2,100m) and is the most snow guaranteed mountain in Bavaria.

Skiing in Val D'Isere, France
France

Where To Stay?

There’s a wide range of places to stay from traditional Alpine chalets and guest rooms; to charming historic hotels; to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at or near most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great hospitality and value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class trips with transportation, boutique hotels and inclusive experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski areas include Gstaad, Switzerland; Courchevel, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course built specifically for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have more consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in/ski out and true slope side lodging. The list of resorts includes the well known Val D’isère, and many other less known like Peyragudes, France (in the Pyrenees), St Johann, (Tyrol, Austria) and Geilo (Norway).

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience along with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat delicious local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Kitzbühel, Austria; Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer a combination of spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Cities near resorts offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. As an example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse – stay in the city and travel up to the slopes. Munich is the perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy Munich beer and it’s beer halls by night!

Stay in Munich for A Ski Trip To Europe
Munich

Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to literally thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles both France and Italy and let’s you ski and snowboard across actual country borders (and have a French pastry or Italian cappuccino).

A local ski guide is a very worthwhile extra. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain, keep you safe and will have local knowledge on lunch spots and après ski parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 200 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Vienna, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, rich in history and culture. Europe ski vacation anyone?

Is Your Credit Card Travel Insurance Coverage Enough?

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Is Your Credit Card Travel Insurance Coverage Enough?
Photo by Cameron Casey on Pexels.com

Still relying on credit card travel insurance? Not sure if it really fits the bill? Read on to determine if your coverage is enough…

1. Coverage clauses

• Do you have to pay for the whole trip with your credit card to be covered? Is
there a minimum amount?
• What’s the maximum number of days covered for one trip?
• What’s the maximum amount you’re covered for?
• Are you covered for high-risk activities, like scuba diving?
• Are you covered for other professional services like physio, chiro, etc. to relieve
an acute emergency?

2. Family coverage

• Is coverage only for you, the cardholder?
• Will your travel companions get the same coverage as you, or do they need to
buy additional insurance?
• Would coverage be available to return your travelling companion,
children/grandchildren or accompanying pet home, in a medical emergency?

3. Pre-existing medical conditions

• Does your age affect coverage?
• Are you covered for pre-existing medical conditions?

4. Trip cancellations or interruptions

• Does the plan offer trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance?
• Do you have to pay for the whole trip with your credit card to be covered? Is
there a minimum amount?
• What’s the maximum amount you’re covered for?

5. Emergency and claim assistance

• Are you covered for ambulance or emergency air transportation?
• Will you be penalized if you don’t call the claims company after the emergency or
before visiting the hospital?

So remember, while you may have travel coverage through your credit card, it might not cover you completely in a medical emergency situation. Make sure to contact your credit card provider to know what your policy really covers. If it’s not enough, check out how TuGo can help meet your travel insurance needs.

Is Your Credit Card Travel Insurance Coverage Enough?
Photo by Julius Silver on Pexels.com

Visiting 4 of British Columbia’s Most Stunning Natural Wonders

According to Destination British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province includes six tourism regions: Vancouver Island, Vancouver Coast and Mountains, Northern British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and the Kootenay Rockies. There are so many natural wonders among them, it would be difficult to experience them all in one trip, but RV travel can make it easier, while making it more affordable too.

You may want to start by researching RV rental in Vancouver. B.C.’s largest city is an ideal spot for kicking off your adventure exploring its many stunning natural wonders, perfectly situated along the west coast of the province.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Whistler

You might be familiar with Whistler as the spot that co-hosted the Winter Olympics with Vancouver back in 2010. Just 90 minutes from the city, the area is home to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains which are linked by one of the town’s most popular attractions: the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. As you ride the glass-bottomed gondola which soars a mile over Fitzsimmons Creek you may spot bears roaming the breathtaking landscape below.

British Columbia

Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island can be reached via a scenic drive- or walk-on ferry ride from Vancouver. Once there, you can experience one of B.C.’s true natural wonders. Pacific Rim National Park is made up of three units: Long Beach, the West Coast Trail and the Broken Group Islands. It includes everything from unspoiled beaches and rocky shoreline to old-growth coastal rainforest and abundant wildlife, including bald eagles, bears, harbor seals, a variety of whale species and more. Surf, hike, kayak, soak in hot springs, embark on boat excursions or just enjoy quiet contemplation among some of the world’s most impressive and lush scenery.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, or Gwaii Haanas as it’s often called, is a remote collection of nearly 140 islands that offer the ultimate wilderness experience that includes rare animals that can’t be spotted anywhere else, including the Haidi Gawaii black bear. The surrounding waters are filled with marine life like whales, dolphins, seals and sea lion, while tufted and horned puffins, peregrine falcons and bald eagles soar through the skies. Join a guided kayak excursion and you can paddle around sea coves, tiny islands and hidden coves while watching the wildlife.

British Columbia

Yoho National Park

This park is rather aptly named for a Cree expression of “awe and wonder.” Nestled in the western slopes of the Rockies, it’s the ultimate outdoor adventurers’ paradise, with everything from magnificent waterfalls like the 100-foot-high and 500-foot-wide Wapta Falls to sparkling lakes, massive glaciers and jagged mountain peaks. The Burgess Shale fossil beds can be found here as well – these incredibly detailed fossils of prehistoric marine life are a half-billion years old providing a fascinating look at the Earth’s ancient past.

 

5 Benefits of Adventure Travel for Your Physical and Mental Health

There are many ways one can improve their lifestyle. From different approach to life to engaging in different hobbies, it’s important that you find something personal that will fulfill and make you happy. For starters, spending time in nature is known to be a great way to relieve stress and boost mindfulness. This is precisely why adventure travel may as well be the perfect option for those of you that are still seeking for that much-needed lifestyle betterment. If this sounds interesting, check out the following adventure travel benefits that can completely transform your life.

1. A stronger immune system

There have been plenty of studies in regards to the benefits of getting dirty outdoors for kids. However, the truth is that getting dirty a bit is also beneficial for the adults. Of course, it’s only natural that you want to keep yourself clean. But, allowing your body to experience a bit of dirt from nature on occasion can boost your immune system and reduce the risk of allergies and asthma.

2. Nature as a remedy

Obviously, you don’t always have to engage in activities that will result in you getting dirty. Walking and light jogging as a part of spending time outdoors are also great activities and a big part of adventure travel for beginners as well. What’s more, these nature-based activities are often recommended to people that have health issues such as heart disease, obesity, attention deficit disorder, and so on.

3. Sharp mentality and better memory

You may be wondering what do outdoor activities have to do with brain and memory boost. Well, hiking, walking, jogging and/or cycling while surrounded by nature can actually boost the hippocampus growth, which is directly linked to the sharper senses and improved memory. Luckily, there’s no age limit to your personal kind of adventure travel, so don’t waste any opportunity to discover the joy and benefits of it all.

4. Become more resourceful

It’s true that adventure travels are usually filled with uncertainty. However, that uncertainty doesn’t have to be bad. Focusing too much on making everything work according to plan is only going to drain you, and make you more stressed and angry when it doesn’t. And, let’s face it, things don’t usually go according to plan, and especially not when the plan is overly strict or when nature is concerned. This is a great opportunity to let go of the plan-making habit for every little thing in life, and enjoy the flow. Not to mention that these situations are perfect for letting your imaginative and quick-witted side shine through. Allow that resourcefulness to become a part of your daily life as well.

5. Dream and succeed

Spending time in nature on your adventure may seem like a big step now, but once you experience it yourself, it will quickly grow on you. It’s the healthiest addiction you can possibly have. If you’ve been enjoying a bike ride to the park so far, you may even find that a cycling tour is what you need for your next travel. Of course, just make sure that you have a good bicycle, enhanced with Rockshox high-performance products. One of the biggest benefits of making adventure travel a part of your life like this is the ability to visualize your dream, as well as the steps you need to take in order to achieve it. Natural scenery can seriously help you reflect upon your own wishes, powers, and personal goals.

Your adventure travel is not limited by the amount of true wilderness in your immediate surroundings or your stamina to hike or ride a bike. The will to explore your own self is more than enough of a motivator when it comes to embarking on your perfectly personal adventure travel. Therefore, go outdoors to come back with more confidence, fresh knowledge and discoveries, stronger dreams and a happier self.

Try Something Unusual For Your Winter Holiday: Greece

When thinking about a winter holiday, Greece will probably not be among your first choice destinations.  For you as for many people, Greece means heat, golden beaches, turquoise waters and a glass of ouzo on a terrace by the sea. Right, but… this is a thought you might reconsider if you like programs off the beaten tracks!

Greece has a lot more to offer than a summer cliché. Winter time is ideal to discover that it is also the perfect winter holiday destination.

If your motto is “no winter break without my skis”, here is a good tip for you: there are more than 25 ski resorts in Greece. They include famous Mount Parnassos, Kalavrita (in the Peloponese mountains) and Karpenisi (in the Pindus Mountains), also called the Switzerland of Greece, provide a total of 198 km of ski slopes. There are runs for all levels and a great after-ski life for prices far cheaper than French or Italian ski resorts.

Where else can you ski in the morning, have lunch along the shore, visit an archaeological site in the afternoon, party in a trendy bar in the evening and sleep in a boutique hotel in a picturesque village all in the same day? The answer is Mount Parnassos…

The Parnassos Ski Center, located on the peaks of Kelaria (1750m), Fterolakkia (1950m) and Gerondovrachos, operates from December until the beginning of May. It is probably the biggest and best organised ski resort in the country.  Nineteen runs, named after Greek Gods like Hermes or Aphrodite, with a total of 36km, seven ski routes, ten trails and three mini beginner runs. 2 cafe-chalets, a restaurant, ski and snowboard schools, ski and snowboard stores, equipment rental and a playground for children are part of the resort. Who could ask for more to enjoy a ski holiday in the country of Gods?

Mount Parnassos has many attractive points. It is located near Athens (about 2 hour-drive) and ranks among the highest mountains in Greece with an altitude of 2260 meters. Its stunning views look over the Gulf of Corinth and Gulf of Euboea and it is very close to Delphi, the mythical archaeological site dedicated to Apollo.

In my opinion, Mount Parnassos has another great asset. It is only 24km from Arachova, a picturesque cosmopolitan village nestled in the mountain.  Its steep narrow cobblestone streets, grey stone houses with red tile roofs, trendy bars, traditional restaurants and boutique hotels make it the place to be for an exciting after-ski or even non-ski life! Other popular snow centers are in Pelion in the region of Thessaly, Tymfristos in the Karpenissi area, Helmos in the town of Kalavrita, Mainalos in Vytina, Peloponnese, Vasilitsa in Grevena and Kaimaktsalan in Edessa.

Author: This article is written by Muriel Rammos-Vignol, who is manager of holiday villas in Greece. She also owns a villa in Skiathos-Greece and is an active blogger for holiday vacations in Greece.