Skiing togetherTo some, the thought of hurtling down perilous mountains on skis, always on the edge of danger, may be the reason for taking up the sport. To others, living on the edge of danger through skiing may be a fascinating concept, but in reality it’s the very reason they don’t head for the slopes.

Even a casual discussion with your nonskiing friends or mine about why they don’t take up the sport

evokes protests that it’s too dangerous. Ask them. You know what they’ll say: “Oh, no. I could get hurt.” “I’m too old.” “Hey, I’m not about to ski off a damn cliff at my age and break a leg.” “Oh, God, I wonder if I could even get up, falling down all the time.” After more than 25 years of skiing I’ve known personally only a few skiers who suffered injuries from falls. One was me! Mine occurred when I stumbled over a rope while edging backward toward a chairlift and seriously sprained my wrist.

 

Then there are those who turn away from skiing because of the erroneous assumption “real” skiers must always be 20-year-olds in superb physical condition - or they couldn’t go racing down the mountains like that, could they? We’ve all heard such expressions as: “Ah, come on. I’m not built like an Olympic athlete.” “I’ve seen the pictures.” “Yeah. Skiing down those long mountains, up to their noses in snow. You’ve gotta be in great shape to do that.”

These comments underline the turnoff that an incessant parade of out-of-this-world dramatic stories and sensational pictures by the entire ski industry in magazine articles, ads, brochures, and television features
arouses in most nonskiers - or even mature once-upon-a-long-time-ago skiers - and may help explain why the growth of skiing has been flat for the past half-dozen years.

In truth, 90 percent of the over-25 skiers on any mountain or at any resort at any time don’t remotely approach the dynamic level of such skiing or possess the physical strength to do it.

The ski resorts themselves are also excessively concerned with catering to young skiers - especially the under-18 crowd - on the theory that “these are the skiers of tomorrow.” Of course they are. Most adult skiers today started when they were in their teens. But the eager young teenagers who go skiing today are on the slopes because Mom and Dad take them. The resorts only imperil the sport’s growth by their undue infatuation with tomorrow. The need today is to focus on what adults - who pay the bills - want and enjoy and can afford, from the slopes to the cafeterias.

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