Thursday, December 31, 2009

Geezer Skier Legacies

Many tough old geezer skiers have built a dynasty of children and grandchildren as passionate
skiers. My six Vermont grandkids have all been on skis about as soon as they could walk. Daughter Tange and son Colin are both PSIA certified and son-in-law Terry has been on the PSIA demo team. Terry now is the ski school director at Mad River Glenn too. Daughter Victoria is also a competent skier and her fiance can only be welcomed in the family by learning to ski too. As a former hockey player he is taking to the sport with a natural ability that we all admire.

Today was a special day a Greek Peak since I had a chance to ski with the Bushnell dynasty. Tough Old Geezer Allen(Bottom picture), the patriarch, Paul(Top right) the son, and granddaughter Virginia(Top left). Allen's ski history goes back to the 1940's with bear trap bindings, wooden skis, and rope tows. Model A powered rope tows and ten cents in the can to get a ride up the slope. Paul is a first class racer at his home ski area in Michigan and I certainly admired his prowess today as he ripped up the slopes. Virginia was close on his heels with Allen and I bringing up the rear.

Happy New Year everyone. And may 2010 bring us many enjoyable days on the slopes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Geezer Remembered - Marty Stiles

Marty Stiles was in our geezer group at Greek Peak for many years after he retired. I first knew Marty at Cornell where he was a writer for the Cornell Chronicle and also as an avid basketball player with our group at Teagle Hall until they moved us to Barton Hall. Marty always stayed in shape and was a formidable opponent in the pickup basketball games at noon. He had a hard nose father that sent him to military school and he was also a football player. Marty had a sharp and sardonic wit. He had a way of bringing down the pompous person that we all enjoyed. As Allen B. reminded me today once Marty was working with someone who would say proudly "I went to Harvard". Marty's reply was succinct. "You'll eventually get over it".

Marty took up skiing in his sixties and progressed to being a very competent skier and was a fixture at Greek Peak until his death in his early seventies a few years ago. He was a great friend and we had many enjoyable rides on the lifts discussing life and mostly skiing. He was always experimenting with equipment and technique. He would go from straight downhill to telemark and free heel skiing all in one day. Marty was generous in many ways and chose to support adaptive skiing as a part of his giving back to society. Those of us who enjoyed his time with us truly miss hie wit and commentary at our morning coffee breaks. I would nominate him posthumously for membership in the "Tough Old Geezer Skier" group.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Redefining Geezerhood amd Networking

Today's coffee with the Tough Old Geezer group got me to thinking about the definition of a geezer skier. I originally thought one had to be over 70 to gain entrance. But hearing that Pat R. was just about to reach that milestone makes me think I better lower the qualifying age. So if one is willing to think they are eccentric enough and are willing to be identified as a geezer bring'em on.
The great thing about geezer skiers and perhaps all skiers is networking. Wherever skiers assemble there are stories to be shared and experiences to be relived. And often useful advice happens unexpectedly. I was using a new set of boot heaters this morning and wondered why they wouldn't turn on. Allen B. with the same heaters straightened me out. You have to hold down the on button for a significant period of time to activate. Probably reading the instructions would have been a good idea too.

So today's skiing with an ambient temperature of 7 to 9 F and a wind chill for way below 0 F made for a longer than normal coffee break. But as some of us say "It is good to be this side of the snow".
Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

No Day to Be Tentative

Woke up to about 5 inches of new snow this morning. Eastern powder. First tracks were great but later in the morning conditions changed to a hodgepodge of snow and underlying firm and fast.
Nice to have a wake of snow behind.
Geezer friend Allen B. cut out early. One had to be aggressive to blast through the relatively heavy snow. For older legs it sometimes is a challenge.
I had a great day and knew enough to quit before I lost my touch.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Geezer Vision

Did some late day skiing today with poor light and icy conditions. It reminded me that my night vision is not as good as it used to be. Very hard to discern the terrain in the fading afternoon light.
Most geezers enjoy the sunlit slopes but likely avoid night skiing. Many of my geezer friends have had cataract operations and fortunately have had sight restored to near 20-20 sharpness. I have skied with prescription goggles to avoid the hassle of ski goggles over glasses. Recently my distance vision has improved enough to eliminate vision correction on the slopes!! Good news.

It was good to get out today for a brief time even if the conditions were less than perfect. I can check it off as an official day by the rules of the Tough Old Geezer Skier group. Six runs an official day! Day 13 on the slopes for the season. Hope to make 17 before the New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rainy Day - To Ski or Not to Ski

Over night we lost a lot of snow and right now it is raining. Local ski area is open but the idea of poor cover and a rain is not appealing. Most of us geezer skiers are tough enough to navigate the rainy day but I find that often I have been the only one of my group on the slope at Greek Peak. I guess there is a limit to toughness when the intellect cuts in.

I am reminded that most of us have reached the point where we don't have to prove anything. Ski the bumps only on the most optimum days. Avoid the steeps and gnarly runs unless there are ideal conditions.

Daughter Victoria and fiance Matt are home briefly for the holidays. We had planned to ski today, so we are disappointed with the lousy weather. Living in Long Island provides them with few skiing opportunities so it is a double disappointment.
However both Viki and Matt are tennis players and along with mother Nancy and myself we will enjoy an hour and a half of doubles at the Cornell Reis Tennis Center this afternoon.

Most of us tough old geezer skiers have alternative workouts when we are not skiing. Among my geezer friends it includes weight training, aerobics, tennis, golf, biking, hiking and the like. So even though we mostly measure the rhythms of the year by the ski season we do have alternate activities.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Geezer Day at the Zoo

Toady was free day at Greek Peak Ski Resort. Bring a can of food for the local food pantry and get a pass for the day. A great give back to the community and it brings in thousands if skiers for the day. For us geezer season pass holders it seems like a zoo with all types of animals roving free. You see every kind of ski, a whole range of ski ability and huge lines as the day develops.

I get there early, drop off my food contribution and get in a few good runs before the huge crowd arrives. Snow was good and the grooming great. By ten o'clock the place was swarming and it was time for me to head home to help my wife get ready for Christmas Eve and our family get together tomorrow.

I saw a few tough old geezer skiers on the slopes, but most of use know enough to stay away on "Zoo" day. One of my geezer friends was coming in when I left - He decided to leave too! As a geezer you learn to avoid the potential of a crash on a day like today.

And Al it was good to see you on the slopes and share a couple of rides up the lift. Hope that your day ended as well as mine.
The blessings of Christmas to all that share this faith journey and to all people peace on earth.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Tough Old Geezer Skier

Senior skiers are proliferating as the baby boomer group matures. However, tough old geezer skiers are in a class by themselves. The dictionary definition for a geezer is briefly "an eccentric old man". I prefer to think of tough old geezer skiers as men over 70 with individual characteristic eccentricities and idiosyncrasies that set them apart in a special way. A group of us skiing at Greek Peak Resort have chosen to identifies ourselves with name tags that state we are a "Tough Old Geezer Skier". Our friend Pat Ryan initiated us a few years ago with this recognition by awarding us our own individual pins. So Pat this start of a blog is dedicated to your inspiration to give us geezers identity.

As I have observed our group in action, I am inspired to blog about the life stories of tough old geezer skiers. For what its worth perhaps some people might be interested in the profiles of geezers really enjoying downhill skiing in their dotage. And perhaps this will be an inspiration for geezers everywhere to keep on hitting the slopes.