If you don’t know, I love to snow ski. Looking back, I took my first run on skis over six decades ago and gosh, that sounds/reads like a long time ago. It is and much has changed in the sport.

So why the sudden interest? My brother sent me to a link to an on-line magazine called Senior Skiing and its target audience is dedicated to those of us over fifty-five who like to ski. It’s got articles on areas, equipment, getting in shape, etc.

Well, writers write. So, after reading a few issues, I contacted the magazine and offered to write an article or two or maybe three. To my pleasant surprise, the first one appeared in the February 2nd, 2017 edition titled From Level 30-Level 71: A Skier’s Journey Through Time. Hopefully, it won’t be my last.

            It is a bit of a spoof on how my grandkids view things. Rather than curl up with a good book, they bury their nose in video games on their iPads. Dinner table conversations sometimes focus on getting to Level 5 versus what is needed to get to Level 7 and in that game. Their standing amongst their peers is enhanced by the level they reached. The higher one gets, the more kudos and “status.”

So, I looked back at my skiing career so to speak which, among other things, includes being a pretty good racer and becoming a certified ski instructor in two different countries, as a series of levels equated to age. I started with how and what I skied at Level 30, i.e. thirty years old and went decade by decade documenting how, when and where I ski has changed now that I am Level 71.

Is Level 71 better than Level 30? It depends on one’s perspective. I think it is because I still ski between twenty-seven and thirty thousand vertical feet a day. For you non-skiers, that’s a lot and converts to about thirty miles depending on the length and number of runs. BTW, my brother documents it all on an app on his iPhone that tracks our movements via GPS.

Back to perspective…. Do I ski as fast as I did when I was thirty? Hell no.

Do I ski the same number of bump runs? No, my knees protest way too much.

Do I ski icy slopes that look more like ice-skating rinks than ski trails? No, at my age, if I take a bad fall, my bones don’t break, they shatter.

Do I go out when it is minus twenty? Well, it depends on the conditions…

Ahhhh, there’s where wisdom that theoretically comes with age shows up. So, the issue is not so much as, for example, “will I ski bumps, but can I?” And, I hate to say (write?) it, occasionally I do just to prove that I still can.

You do what you can, when you can and the pressure is not brought upon by peers, but by one’s inner self. And, you can always rationalize by saying I’ve done it well before and walk away! And, that, ladies and gentleman is the advantage of being Level 71.

Marc Liebman

February 2017