Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Geezer Skier's Culture

    I have been pondering the nature of the culture of geezer skiers.   What is it that creates a particular culture or cultural behavior for a group of senior skiers?  Without consciously creating a  culture our group of skiers has become unique culture in the past several years.    
   A bit of internet research generated this list of features of a culture from the website  In an abbreviated form they are Artifacts, Stories, Rituals, Heroes, Symbols, Beliefs, Attitudes and Rules.  Our Greek Peak geezer skier group certainly exhibits elements of a particular culture in each of the categories.
  At least one artifact is the Tough Old Geezer Skier name tag with our first name.   These tags are sported on jackets, helmets and the like.   Not everyone participates in this way but still these tags are a part of the culture.   Stories do abound about geezer skies of past and present.   I particularly remember Marty Stiles who started skiing in his mid sixties and continued to be a fixture at the slope until his untimely death.   He was always learning new things about skiing and forever tinkering with his gear.   At every gathering of the geezers either in a large group or in pairs on the chairs, stories of ski experiences past are frequently exchanged.   And many of those stories get repeated maybe too often.
    As to rituals each of us has some kind of ritual idiosyncrasy.   Some of us keep written logs of our ski days with varying level of detail.  The morning coffee break is a ritual of rest and relaxation after a prescribed number of runs on the slope.   Each morning there are the ritual arrival time for the various skiers, followed by appropriate greetings, a check of the posted ski conditions and exchange of the gossip of the moment.  Everyone has some kind of pattern of preparation for the morning ski.   As one might expect almost everyone at our age will make a preparatory bathroom break before exiting to the slopes.   In the bigger scheme we now have the Annual Geezer Skier's Luncheon established as a ritual after three years of the event thanks to the leadership of Larry Monheim.
    We do have our heroes too.   Pat Ryan is our founding father for the Tough Old Geezer Skier designation.   We salute his development of this appellation that we wear proudly wherever we go.   Of course we honor our most senior geezer hero Pret Goslee who at 93 sets the standard for all of us younger folk to emulate.  
    The most evident symbols of our culture are the 70+, 80+, or 90+  decals on our helmets and out name tags.
      In the areas of beliefs, attitudes and rules we have wide variety of views.   Our common belief is that skiing is good for the body and soul.   Mostly our attitude is one of optimism looking forward to another satisfying day on the ski slope.   There are no written rules but concern for the care and well being of our fellow skiers is tantamount.   Of course there is the unwritten rule that six runs constitutes an official day.  However, that rule can be broken if the conditions are horrible.  Then as little as two runs can count as an official day.
     In summary it is difficult to describe the complexity of the geezer skier culture.  We come from a wide range of life experiences but share a common bond of both survival and the love of skiing.  As I reflect on our culture I am sure that I will be editing this blog.

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