Many people are not aware that Baby Boomers really elevated skiing to a cultural event and made it the “chic” sport back in the 60’s-70’s. Ski resorts in Aspen, Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Park City, Utah, and European ski resorts became hot spots where you could run into just about any celebrity out on the slopes. Even popular James Bond movies featured the beautiful skiing haunts of the jet set like that in Gstaad, Switzerland or the French or Italian sides of the Alps.
Yes, when they were in their 20’s-30’s, the Baby Boomer generation put the spotlight on downhill skiing. But then something happened – they started getting older and a little more nervous about maybe breaking a leg skiing or aggravating arthritic joint conditions. They stopped being so excited about the first snowfall so they could hurry out to their favorite ski resort. As a result, ski resorts started to experience their own “downhill” course in consumer popularity. But recently, ski resorts, like many other businesses, have started recognizing that Gen-X and Milleniums don’t have the financial resources, or desire, to spend much of their money. And that their viability as a business likely lies in catering to an older population.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, many ski resorts are now focusing on marketing to Baby Boomers. It’s both an effort to re-focus the spotlight on the great social outlet that ski resorts can be and as a thank you to Baby Boomers who made them popular in the first place. They’re revamping their resorts, adding older-adult-interest wellness and other theme events, social activities, re-doing slopes to be more older-adult-friendly, and bringing in great entertainment on weekends. They’re even adding 60’s popular rock music to slopes, hoping to lure the adventuresome, fun-loving, and money-spending Baby Boomers out on the slopes.
Sound like your kind of fun? Want to give skiing a try again? Here are 3 Boomer-friendly U.S. ski resorts that you might want to take a weekend trip to in 2014. If you loved skiing when you were younger, you might want to make 2014 the year you re-visited it. It’s a great way to meet new people, put more agility, balance and coordination exercise into your life, and just have some old-fashioned fun in the sun and snow.
1. Keystone Resort, Colorado. Offers a special ski program aimed at over-50 adults that’s complimentary with your ski lift ticket or season pass. They also have perfectly groomed ski runs that are easier for over-50 people to navigate while keeping the “corduroy” runs (grooved runs) that allow greater stability and less strain on your body.
2. Windham Mountain Ski Resort, New York. This resort really caters to the BB generation. They have had a Seniors Program for the last several years that begins every January, running for 8 Tuesdays, including 4 hours of lessons each session. The sessions include yoga (great for limbering up before skiing), lectures, free live music, dancing and drink specials on weekends at their Legends Lounge. The annual “Woodstock” weekend is a Baby Boomer favorite occurring every February.
3. Beaver Creek Mountain Resort, Colorado. This resort lures Boomers back to their slopes with a variety of theme-based event weekends like their Food and Wine weekend that occurs every January; Wellness Weekends that focus on personal health and feature fitness speakers, classes, nutrition seminars and ski instruction.
After you’ve gotten back into it, maybe you’ll want to expand your winter vacation to a European ski resort like those run by Club Med that offer inclusive packages, or take a trip to Salzburg, Austria where some of the world’s most beautiful ski resorts are.
Many of the older-adult geared ski programs teach the benefit of using the new short-skis. They help older people who may have not skied in a long time get back into it and re-learn their balance. They’re shorter and wider versus the longer, thinner style of traditional skis that older-adults likely remember. They help keep the tips above the snow so the wearer can re-learn how to stand and glide properly with greater coordination.
As a result of all the marketing aimed at Baby Boomers, ski resort business has picked up significantly with an 11% increase in older people coming back to skiing and even learning snowboarding. So what will you be doing this winter? Sitting inside watching the snow fall or getting out there and playing in it with old or new friends?