Trying a new sport in retirement has mental, physical and social benefits, reducing depression and helping prevent disease. The benefits of skiing in retirement include:
You don’t have to ski downhill if the idea makes you nervous – cross-country skiing is great exercise. Many over 60s take up cross country skiing and gain confidence, agility and endurance. Several years ago researchers in Sweden collaborated with researchers at a University in Indiana to find out if exercise could improve the quality of life for ageing Americans. All participants were healthy, independent men over the age of 80 – the American group had no experience of exercise whilst the Swedish group had a consistent history of cardio and endurance exercise gained from cross country skiing. All took an endurance test on exercise bikes and the lifelong skiers had the aerobic capacity of men 40 to 50 years younger.
If you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, travel insurance with winter sports cover isn’t too expensive. For a three-month trip (January to March) it can be less than £90 for a skier in their early 60s.
Websites like WeLove2Ski provide advice, but do make sure your insurance quote covers the type of skiing or snowboarding you want to do and any other activities. Are you going to ski off-piste, in the snow or park or terrain park, or perhaps try snowboarding or heli-skiing? Will your activities include ice-skating, reindeer-sledding or snow-mobiling? You’ll need your insurers to know and to provide appropriate cover. And of course you’ll need to cover your luggage and your equipment, either your own or rented, for damage or theft. You’ll also want 24-hour emergency cover.
If you have stable and well-controlled conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes, skicover.com will normally cover you as standard, provided you haven’t had your medicine changed in the last three months and don’t require more than two routine medical check ups or reviews each year. You may not be able to get a quote online but you can call the company on 0330 880 5099 and quote ‘bespoke’ for your quote.
Another company that provides winter sports insurance for mature participants is skiinsurance.com. At Saga ski insurance is available with no upper age limit for holidays up to 120 days long. The policy holder must be over 50 but you can add friends and family of any age to the same policy. You’ll need to select winter sports add-on when you take out your policy and you’ll have the winter sports cover for the whole duration of your insurance policy.
If you’re planning to spend most of the winter season – or all the season – at a ski resort, then you’ll need to look at seasonaire ski insurance. One insurer that offers this is Big Cat Travel Insurance.
If you’re looking at ski holidays for mature skiers, Ski Amade offers Sixty-Plus packages. There’s a whole range of special but skiers must be aged over 60 to take advantage of these. Just type in over 60s in their search box.
Snowtrex promotes holidays for pleasure skiers – suggesting ‘seniors’ and leisure skiers may enjoy staying in a smaller ski area with wide pistes, gorgeous views and plenty of peace and quiet.
If you like the idea of being part of a group – perfect if you are a single skier – ARP 050 Ski Club has been promoting skiing holidays for the over 50s for more than 10 years. The club has a nationwide membership running five or six holidays every season in catered chalets and hotels for active over 50s who enjoy skiing together.
The Ski Club Freshtracks provides group holidays matching skiers of a similar ability and offering the services of instructors, mountain guides and Ski Club reps. The Peak Experience holidays are designed for the over 55s.
Somewhere close to the lift system and ski hire/storage is advisable.
You might have been happy to catch ski buses or trek a long distance with your skis when you were younger, but you definitely deserve a more relaxed ski experience.
Consider a hotel with a spa or wellness centre.
Tired muscles of any age appreciate a post-ski massage! Last season, a friend and I found a hotel room in an Italian resort with an in-room sauna which was fabulous.
If you’re not an experienced skier, it’s advisable to book a few ski lessons when you arrive. Your instructor will be able to show you the best runs and help you perfect your technique. Lessons vary enormously – the more expensive the resort, the more expensive the lesson. In some of the smaller Italian ski resorts, private lessons start from 45 euros an hour but they can go up to three times that amount.
I have always preferred mature instructors – they are a bit more understanding of the challenges of skiing in later life and if you’re having a lesson of more than two hours, ask for a mid lesson ‘pit-stop’ to recharge your batteries.
Enjoy your skiing!
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