Season Passes – How Many Places Will You Ski This Winter?

I have heard from more members than ever this season who opted to purchase season passes.  Ski areas continue to make season passes more attractive.  The most noticeable trend has been the “arms race” to offer passes with benefits at multiple resorts, including overseas resorts.  I’ll be very interested to hear from members how many places they were able to use the passes at this winter.

Below are some examples just to show how extensive some of the benefits can be.  (These can be complicated products and may have restrictions or benefits beyond what is listed here. While not intentional, this list may contain incorrect or out of date information.)

Some passes offer unlimited ski days at multiple resorts.  Maybe the best known of these passes, is Vail’s Epic Pass which many members have.  It basically offers unlimited skiing at all of their ski Resorts and some benefits overseas.

Unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher (2017 access) and Arapahoe Basin – Plus 5 days at Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions.  Vail Resorts announced it will add benefits at Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria to the 2016-2017 lineup of the Epic Pass

(Vail does offer other options, including a senior pass good at their Tahoe resorts with some restrictions.)

There has been a lot of interest generated in the new IKON Pass.  Modeled after Vail’s Epic Pass, it offers access at 12 Alterra Company destinations and 15 partner resorts. The destinations include big names like Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley, and Steamboat. Unfortunately, this pass replaces many passes offered last season, including discounted senior passes. My understanding is 80+ will still ski free at Mammoth this winter, but will have to go to ticket window every day instead receiving a pass.

Other passes offer limited ski days at multiple resorts.

The Mountain Collective has been around for several years now and currently includes around 14 destinations in the US and Canada (plus some overseas benefits). The pass provides 2 free days at each destination and then you can buy additional days at 50% off.

For the 2016/17 winter season destinations include: AltaSnowbird (Utah), Aspen Snowmass (Colorado), Ski Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine (Alberta, Canada), Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Mammoth Resorts (Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain in Eastern California; Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit Resort in Southern California), Revelstoke (British Columbia, Canada), Ski Queenstown-Coronet Peak-The Remarkables (New Zealand), Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (California), Stowe (Vermont), Sun Valley (Idaho), Taos (New Mexico), Telluride (Colorado), Thredbo (Australia), and Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia, Canada)  and areas outside the US.

Powder Alliance:  Purchase a season pass to any participating Powder Alliance resort and visit the rest for FREE up to three times.

Angel Fire Resort New Mexico China Peak California Mountain High California Sierra-at-Tahoe California Stevens Pass Washington Arizona Snowbowl Arizona Crested Butte Colorado Mt. Hood Skibowl Oregon SilverStar BC, Canada Timberline Oregon Bridger Bowl Montana Kiroro Japan Schweitzer Idaho Snowbasin Resort Utah Whitewater BC, Canada and Now Including Kiroro Japan!

Freedom Pass:  Pass holders at participating mountains are now able to get three complimentary lift tickets at each partner mountain this season.

Mountains currently include Black Mountain (NH), Bolton Valley (VT), , Dartmouth Skiway (NH), Eaglecrest (AK), Granite Gorge (NH), Lost Valley (ME), Magic (VT), McIntyre (NH), Mount Bohemia (MI), Pajarito (NM), Plattekill (NY), Sipapu (NM), and Ski Cooper (CO). 



Take a hike!


Fred’s race performance earns the adulation of all his fellow racers.

Everyone probably agrees on the importance of staying physically and mentally active, but I think our members also benefit from spending time outdoors enjoying nature. As people spend an increasing amount of time indoors looking at computer screens, there is more and more research promoting both the physiological and psychological benefits of being outdoors. I once asked 93 year old member Fred Dammont what he attributes to his good health and vitality. He told me the strenuous hiking that comes with his nature photography keeps him in good shape. There is a great deal of research that suggests all the nice scenery along the way helps too. An article aptly titled “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning” (December 2012 Outside Magazine) cites a study from Japan that found “leisurely forest walks, compared with urban walks, yield a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a 7 percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate.” Another study showed those walks in the woods could also significantly increase virus fighting white blood cell counts. You may be familiar with one of the classic studies that showed hospital patients recovered from surgery faster when they had a window view of trees versus a wall. Even patients with a picture of trees and water fared better than those with just the wall. There are endless studies that show the benefits of spending time outdoors in nature, but I’m not sure anyone in this club needs any convincing. However, knowing that great feeling you have enjoying the scenery from the top of the mountain might be having some medicinal effect is just another reason to take some more runs this winter!


70+ Ski Club Meets the Brain Nerd

dscf8193Some of the fun that comes with skiing is the people you meet on the chairlift. On our club trip to Big Sky, Montana one member shared a lift ride and some runs with a lovely women named Janet, who was invited back to one of our evening get-togethers. Janet, known professionally as the “Brain Nerd”, is a very accomplished health professional who is a seasoned senior advisor, good brain health advocate and speaker on dementia. She was eager at the chance to meet our group. As someone who goes around speaking to groups of seniors offering advice on how to prevent dementia, she seemed amazed to meet a group of people who were actually doing all the things she talks about. She believes the most important activity to add years to life with no pain or dementia is consistent continual, every day, aerobic exercise. She could not help but be impressed as she heard how everyone stays physically fit with everything from daily trips to the gym to maintain strength and flexibility to vigorous games of pickle ball. After exercise, she says being socially and mentally active are the keys to adding years. She talked to many widows who told her everything they do to stay active and make new friendships. Knowing how loneliness and depression are precedents to dementia, she was also impressed to hear people say skiing is a great way to shake off the winter blues. One member may have best summed up everyone’s healthy lifestyle when she said “when you retire your new career is staying active and traveling”. You can read the Brain Nerd’s blog entry on her website and learn more about the members she talked to and what she does.


New Product Coming Soon

karvtrakThis spring I learned about a new product expected to be released sometime in the future, KARVTRAK. These sophisticated braces help transfer weight away from your knee and act as shock absorbers. A resistance dial allows you to vary the resistance and an adjustable shaft helps with fit. It even has technology that syncs with an app on your phone or tablet to track your performance data. In the past, I have only heard of limited success with this type of equipment, but welcome any product that could help postpone knee replacement. I’ll be interested to see how KARVTRAK performs when it hits the market.


Eat Your Water

drink-your-water I’m always concerned about getting dehydrated when I ski, especially in high elevations and low temperatures. I appreciate water is the most essential ingredient to life after oxygen, but stopping for frequent bathroom breaks is not very practical when you are skiing (even less so for women). I recently read a book named The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger by Howard Murad, MD. My big takeaway from the book is that not all water is created equal. The book states the water contained in raw fruits and vegetables is structured, meaning it’s surrounded by molecules that help it get into cells easily and quickly. This is important because it’s not how much you drink, but how much your cells can utilize it. Aging cells lose the ability to retain water. The author’s advice is to “eat your water” for both the hydration and nutrients. I’m often skeptical about the latest self-help trends, but a 2003 Nobel Prize paper on how water molecules pass through cells made me think this might be good advice.  Over the summer I made an effort to follow this advice and ate a lot of water laden fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers and melon. I did notice a difference. When I played tennis, I seemed to need fewer drink breaks than my partners. After “hot” yoga or a long bike ride my water bottle was sometimes still half full, which was not typical. I hope to see similar benefits this winter.

Below is the best information I’ve ever read on why and how to stay hydrated when you ski. This information is courtesy of Bridger Bowl Ski Area (Bozeman, MT)

Most skiers are inadequately hydrating while “just” riding the lifts. Did you know that …

  • On cold days you lose most of your fluids through respiration?
  • Altitude is a thirst suppressant as well as an appetite suppressant?
  • Elevations above 6,000 feet you exhale and perspire twice as much moisture as you do at sea level?
  • You can lose between a half to one quart of fluid per hour of skiing on lift-served terrain?
  • After just 2.5 hours of skiing/riding without taking in fluids, you will likely be irrecoverably dehydrated for the remainder of the day? No, not even with 32 ounces of fluids consumed at lunch.
  • After 2 hours of not replenishing lost fluids while skiing, your energy output will begin to significantly decrease, even if you started your day adequately hydrated?
  • Beverages containing alcohol and caffeine actually rob the body of water?
  • Cold weather causes diuresis – increased need to urinate?
  • Sport drinks help you absorb and retain more water than drinking plain water alone … and you will need to urinate less?

If you’re dehydrated …

  • You can not drink a lot of water and become re-hydrated in a short amount of time!
  • Your metabolism will slow down up to 3%
  • You will get colder easier and you’ll be more susceptible to frost bite
  • Water can act like a diuretic if you wait to re-hyrdrate during lunch on a ski day
  • You will experience increased fatigue … and you are more susceptible to injury
  • You will have significantly more muscle stress compared to your skiing partner who has been hydrating with a sport drink

Recommendations for proper hydration:

  • Avoid hydrating with just diuretics in the morning. Drink at least 20 oz. of fluids before coffee and limit your coffee or tea on ski day mornings.
  • Sport drinks provide the best source of hydration while on the slopes. A sport drink will replace electrolytes, sodium (salt) and some have carbohydrates and proteins for more energy. Sport drinks help you absorb more water and you will need to urinate less than when drinking water.
  • Try to consume at least 24 ounces of water or sport drink (a few sips at a time) for every 3 hours of skiing/riding.
  • Refrain from consuming caffeine and alcohol during your ski day … wait for the end of the day and after you have properly hydrated with non-diuretics.
  • Don’t ski without a water bottle
  • Re-hydrate a few ounces during each lift ride
  • Intake 24 fl. ounces every 3 hours of skiing
  • Never wait until you feel thirsty
  • Know and avoid diuretics

Visit Lifescript for more information of hydration.