Should you go skiing in your 60s, 70s and beyond?

When I mention that I am spending the winter skiing, those who don’t know me well have the same reaction – ‘is that wise for someone in their 60s?’

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Today, providing you are fit, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ski in your 50s, 60s, 70s and even into your 80s.

Modern ski equipment is far more advanced than years ago – skis are wider, so its easier to turn.  Many resorts offer reduced price lift passes for the over 60s or the over 65s - and sometimes free passes for the over 75s and more insurance companies are providing cover at a reasonable cost for the older skier.

According to the National Ski Areas Association, 5.3% of downhill skiers on the slopes are over 60 and the number is rising.  Although some may have been skiing for years, many older skiers take up the sport in retirement when they have more time and can take advantage of the low season – with cheaper prices, quieter slopes and fewer queues. 

Skiing in retirement 

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:

  • Enjoying intergenerational holidays. Being able to ski with your grandchildren is a wonderful experience.   They don’t worry about how well or badly you ski, but they love it when you watch them.
  • Skiing is great exercise and you get plenty of fresh air. It’s a full body workout and you get to rest on the chairlifts between runs.
  • Skiing exercises your brain – improving memory and brain health. Skiing is a counterintuitive exercise:  you lean downhill to gain control instead of leaning back so your brain is constantly working.  Skiing means constant learning – no two days are the same, the terrain and conditions change and you have to adapt.
  • Skiing is a very sociable sport – join a group lesson and you’ll make new friends. You will probably end up chatting to people in the bar about the day’s skiing.

Top tip: Try cross-country skiing 

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.

Can older-skiers still get insurance?

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, 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  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.

Ski Holidays for the over 50s

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.

How to choose suitable ski equipment

  • Any good ski hire company will provide you with suitable skis – but why not consider renting a pair of heated ski boots? So nice to be able to keep your feet warm on the pistes.  If you’re considering buying, Salomon sell custom heated ski boots with an integrated battery and easy access to the controls for less than £350.  You can buy heated soles to put into your own ski boots with a control that clips onto the back of the boot.
  • A good ski helmet is an essential. Gone are the days when we used to ski with the wind in our hair – and an accident waiting to happen!   Even experienced skiers have falls and you want to protect you as much as possible.   A second hand helmet from an unknown source (ebay or similar) isn’t advisable.  You need to know that your helmet hasn’t already been subjected to damage.

How to choose the best skiing accomodation


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.

Can you book skiing lessons if you're over the age of 60?

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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