Skiing is one of those true lifetime sports. You can enjoy it at any age, and there’s always room for improvement. Even as you get a little longer in the tooth and your physical skills begin to wane, you can continue to tweak your technique to stay on top of your game. Perhaps even more importantly, skiing is a sport that, with the right attitude, you can pick up at almost any age.
“It’s a fraternity/sorority that loves to welcome new members,” said John “Johnny Mac” Macdonald of King Pine Ski Area. “It’s a great family activity, and it’s a lifelong activity that gets better as you keep ‘figuring the next thing out.’ “
The same holds for snowboarding, though I can say with relative certainty that those early falls (and there will be falls) are going to have a bigger impact if you’re north of 40. But snowboarding training has improved dramatically in the past two decades, to a point where it now equals professional ski instruction. Long gone are the days — as an old friend likes to tell me — when you ask your fuzzy-faced instructor about the particulars of the sport and he looks at you quizzically before saying, “Dude, you just do it.”
“When I first learned (in 1988) out in the Pacific Northwest, there weren’t any instructors for snowboarding,” said David Binford, assistant director of the Snow Sports School at Ragged Mountain Resort. “A group of us hiked up past Paradise in Mount Rainier and listened to another buddy give a quick demo of how to go straight, turn left and right and stop. He then said, ‘See ya at the bottom,’ and left us sitting there looking at each other while saying to ourselves, ‘What?’