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Old Man Winter 

The woes of the aging skier and snowboarder

  • Allen Duffy illustration

It's inevitable. If you're a skier or snowboarder, you enter this lifestyle like many of us do — with passion and the longing to eventually be one of those mountain riders sporting the 80+ patch, announcing to everyone that you're 80 or older, and most likely getting more days in per year than they are. Here are some of the signs that you're an aging skier or snowboarder.


On a ski trip with the ex, I literally saw him crawl out of bed in the morning, holding onto the wall and making his way to the bathroom. Two hours later? He's flying down a cat track, sitting on the tail of his skis, tucking through our friends' legs. And totally forgetting that this behavior makes his mornings so painful.

Realizing we're not 20 anymore

Most of us remember being in our 20s, on a ski vacation or just arriving to live the mountain-town dream. As the years pass, we feel a little like Peter Pan — we never get old. Until we meet the new 20-something, a new East Coast transplant here to live that mountain-town lifestyle. Intrigued and overly competitive, we decide to out-ski and/or out-drink them. We've have been drinking at this elevation a lot longer than they have, so we might win that battle — until the morning. We might win both of them, as we've known the mountain longer as well. But there's one guarantee: Everything will hurt in the morning. The 20-somethings will pop right up and be ready for the next day's challenge.

Mystery injuries

As the aging skier or boarder gets older, when they wake up there's too often a mystery pain plaguing some random location. Once one ache goes away, it's replaced with a new mystery injury; you'll find Tylenol or Advil PM on many a nightstand.

Giving in

One way to tell an aging backcountry skier is the purchase of a snowmobile. As they get older, they're often more able to afford these types of toys. But maybe they've just fully realized that the easy way is now the best way.

As a self-proclaimed ski bum in my 20-somethings, it seemed like it would be forever before that dreaded day would come where I'd say, "This is a common injury among aging athletes." Knock on wood, I've been fortunate enough to not have any serious injuries, specifically anything related to age. Except maybe for a hangover. ♦

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