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  1. #1
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    Oct 2003
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    Alta's Wild Old Bunch

    This is a bit of a long read, but it's good stuff. You may see this in your local paper this weekend as it's moving on the AP wires today.

    By JIM GRAHAM
    Associated Press Writer

    ALTA, Utah (AP) -- Dick Arner hopped on his bicycle early one day
    last summer and rode 18 miles to Alta. Uphill. Pedaling high into
    the oxygen-thin air of the Wasatch Mountains, he arrived at the ski
    resort village, 8,500 feet above sea level, and purchased his
    season ski pass.

    Not bad for a guy who's 71.

    But it's par for the course for Arner, who's been picking up his
    annual pass that way for 12 years now. In fact, among his longtime
    skiing buddies -- and growing ranks of senior skiers nationwide --
    Arner is a spring chicken.

    "People think when you get older, you have to slow down,"
    Arner said. "Yeah, maybe that's true. But a lot people my age are
    dead too."

    Here, every day at 11 a.m. through ski season, Arner and other
    members of the Wild Old Bunch meet at Alf's Restaurant, a
    slope-side eatery reachable only by skis. The group bills itself as
    a "a happily disorganized collection of senior Alta regulars
    readily dispensing hospitality, youthful enthusiasm and sage
    advice."

    Rush Spedman, 89, with two practically brand-new artificial
    knees, was the most senior skier on a recent day. Last season, he
    skied 38 days.

    But Spedman scoffs at any special mention. The club includes
    active members into their early 90s. Alta allows anyone 80 or older
    to ski for free. And so far this season, at least 118 octogenarians
    have taken up the offer.

    What's happening at Alta isn't unique. Skiers are getting older.

    According to the National Ski Areas Association, 31 percent of
    downhill skiers in the United States were older than 45 in the
    2004-05 season; the figure was 21 percent seven years earlier. Last
    year, 7.1 percent of skiers were 55 and older. Statistics aren't
    kept on those 65 and older, but anecdotally, industry observers
    report a steady increase.

    Keeping them on the slopes is critical in the sport, where
    nationwide skier days last year were 1.2 percent below the record
    2002-03 season.

    Michael Berry, president of the NSAA, credits the increase in
    older skiers to a general rise nationally in healthier seniors who
    stay fit and active well into retirement. Improved equipment --
    especially a new generation of shorter, shaped skis that make
    turning easier on aging muscles and creaky joints -- also helps keep
    skiers on the slopes longer.

    "Ten, 20 years ago, if you saw someone on the slopes who was
    70, it was a pretty big deal," Berry said. "Now, it's nothing out
    of the ordinary." It's not that senior skiers are taking up the
    sport for the first time, but that longtime skiers are, well, true
    die-hards these days.

    "It helps keep you young," said Bob Murdoch, 81, who began
    skiing at Alta in 1938. "Without sounding corny about it, when
    you're skiing through fresh powder and the trees, there's almost a
    spiritual quality to it. It's something special that keeps us
    coming back year after year. And you never want to lose that."

    Another member of the Wild Old Bunch, George Jedenoff, 88, is an
    anomaly: He started skiing at the tender age of 40. He bought a
    lifetime pass to Alta in 1968, and hasn't stopped skiing since. "I
    drop about 10 years in age when I ski with these guys," said
    Jedenoff, who travels from his home in Orinda, Calif., to spend
    weeks at a time at Alta.

    Mostly men, the two dozen or so Wild Old Bunch members who
    congregate at Alf's every morning sound and look like schoolboys,
    with ruddy, frost-nipped cheeks, sparkling eyes and plenty of
    good-natured, mischievous banter over cups of hot cocoa.

    "We may look mild, but we're wild," said Bruce Sherman, 75.

    Later, they prove it on the slopes, forgoing easier runs for
    expert terrain and deep powder. An ideal day, Sherman says, is
    filled with top-to-bottom runs through untracked powder. Several
    times during the season, more hardy members will pass up chairlifts
    altogether and hike high into the mountains to find virgin snow
    away from groomed trails. At the top of one such peak last winter,
    Sherman delighted in surprising some young skiers, no older than
    40.

    "You can just tell from the look in their eyes," Sherman said,
    laughing. "They're looking at us and thinking, 'What the hell are
    you old guys doing up here?!' "

    Savvy resorts are picking up on the trend. Seniors, they say,
    have even more spending money than 20- and 30-somethings, and
    resort developers recognize they are critical to supporting
    slope-side amenities such as vacation homes, posh restaurants and
    resort shopping centers. Many resorts also nurture active
    year-round retirement communities, offering skiing in winter and
    golf, hiking and boating in summer.

    "Any time you see a base village go up at a mountain in
    response to the aging baby boomer generation, it's generally
    something that's catering to the older, more affluent skier,"
    Berry said. The increase in older skiers is so sharp that some
    resorts are scaling back on discounts for seniors. This year, Park
    City Mountain Resort in Utah stopped handing out free tickets to
    those 70 and over, and offered them season passes for $249, still a
    75 percent discount.

    One benefit of attracting seniors skiers, resort representatives
    say, is that they also tend to bring their children and
    grandchildren along, not just to the slopes, but to second homes,
    restaurants and other attractions.

    "They are a viable, vibrant market and we definitely are paying
    attention to them," said Katie Eldridge, spokeswoman at The
    Canyons in Park City.

    ------
    On the Net:
    http://www.nsaa.org

    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    APTV-01-04-06 1942MST

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Fast forward to the year 2056:

    -Special senior citizen TGR forum
    -Trackhead asks if he can drop in Pipeline from White Pine
    -Xover leading the octogenarian Pain Train
    -Dexter Rutecki railing against George Bush V's political ascent
    -DanTheMan hucks a footer
    -Truth finally moves to Utah
    -Roo test's the latest Rascal for "Senior Scooter's"
    -Senior celebrity tag-team deathmatch with Drugged Monkey and Mr. Poundkey vs. Ogre and Obernhard
    -Trackhead secures spancership from Metamucil
    -Not to be outdone, Xover secures spancership from Depends, saving himself thousands of dollars in the process
    Last edited by str8line; 01-04-2006 at 10:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2003
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    Stuck in perpetual Meh
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    I love those guys. Greatest Lunch chats ever. They're so stoked they talk to anybody, and they seem to have shiteating grins all the time as well. I wanna be a WOB member when I'm old enough to qualify.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
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    11,349
    Quote Originally Posted by str8line
    Fast forward to the year 2056:

    -Special senior citizen TGR forum
    -Trackhead asks if he can drop in Pipeline from White Pine
    -X-over leading the octogenarian Pain Train
    -Dexter Rutecki railing against George Bush V's political ascent
    -DanTheMan hucks a footer
    -Truth finally moves to Utah
    -Roo test's the latest Rascal for "Senior Scooter's"
    -Senior celebrity tag-team deathmatch with Drugged Monkey and Mr. Poundkey vs. Ogre and Obernard
    -Trackhead secures spancership from Metamucil
    -Not to be outdone, X-over secures spancership from Depends, saving himself thousands of dollars in the process

    POTD! BWAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5
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    Sep 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by truth
    POTD! BWAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!
    Yeah, well done.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2001
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    Babylon
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    my dad skis more than YOUR dad.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah.
    Posts
    1,667
    Hey what's the story with the leopard dude? I haven't seen him this season.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Sandy UT
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    dont forget I'm already older than you Pussies


    except for BobMc and ICE!


    what ever! nice post RB!
    Points on their own sitting way up high

  9. #9
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    Nov 2003
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    My armchair
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    RB, you are a slower reporter than skier
    there has been a link to them on the Alta website for as long as i can remember; still cool stuff though - thanks
    "... she'll never need a doctor; 'cause I check her out all day"

  10. #10
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    Nov 2003
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    My armchair
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    Quote Originally Posted by str8line
    Fast forward to the year 2056:

    -Special senior citizen TGR forum
    -Trackhead asks if he can drop in Pipeline from White Pine
    -Xover leading the octogenarian Pain Train
    -Dexter Rutecki railing against George Bush V's political ascent
    -DanTheMan hucks a footer
    -Truth finally moves to Utah
    -Roo test's the latest Rascal for "Senior Scooter's"
    -Senior celebrity tag-team deathmatch with Drugged Monkey and Mr. Poundkey vs. Ogre and Obernhard
    -Trackhead secures spancership from Metamucil
    -Not to be outdone, Xover secures spancership from Depends, saving himself thousands of dollars in the process
    lest you forget Str8 starts filming again. BWA!!!
    "... she'll never need a doctor; 'cause I check her out all day"

  11. #11
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    Oct 2003
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    Utah, for now
    Posts
    1,821
    Quote Originally Posted by MacDaddy
    dont forget I'm already older than you Pussies


    except for BobMc and ICE!


    what ever! nice post RB!
    I think you would be suprised how many of us are older than you are.......








    Pussy! (Although, I think you can out-party folks half your age)

    Cool bunch of guys that Wild Bunch.
    "People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the
    water mains didn't break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then?
    WOULD IT!?!"
    - M. Barry,
    Mayor of Washington, DC

  12. #12
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    Sep 2005
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    Wasatch Back: 7000'
    Posts
    9,865
    It's a really good thing. It reminds me a lot od skiing in Austria. During the 3 years that I spent in St. Anton, I would frequently ride the lift with guys (and woman) in their 70s and 80s who were skiing either Head 360s or Atomic Bionics. I swear, they looked like Hannes Schneider.
    A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.
    ― Milton Friedman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    The Cone of Uncertainty
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    49,550
    Do I have to sign up or is there a secret handshake or somethng? Or do I just show up?



    but if I have to do all that acting jolly and smiling and talking to people shit, I'm out

    .
    .
    .
    Last edited by iceman; 01-05-2006 at 09:01 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Le Lavancher pour le weekend
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    3,340

    Thumbs up

    hells yes! my neighbor from back home is now 75, still skis hard and now skis for free at tons of places. got his knees swapped out a couple of years ago and now he's back charging harder than ever!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    11,349
    Quote Originally Posted by iceman



    but if I have to do all that acting jolly and smiling and talking to people shit, I'm out


    My old eyes couldn't read that.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Babylon
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    I think you have to be invited by current members.
    You have a few years to go, my dad is one of the young ones @ 63.
    I think they only invited him in because of his stroke and having friends in the group.

    He keeps trying to get a charity race between the FOG's (last 2 letters are for old guys) at Solitude and the wild old bunch @ Alta, but neither will leave their resort.....

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    11,349
    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsy

    He keeps trying to get a charity race between the FOG's (last 2 letters are for old guys) at Solitude and the wild old bunch @ Alta, but neither will leave their resort.....
    Why not meet halfway?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Babylon
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    Cardiac Ridge...

    HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAA
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA.

    wait thats not that funy

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    2,925
    A rerun, but still great.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    utah
    Posts
    4,661
    Quote Originally Posted by Shepherd Wong
    Hey what's the story with the leopard dude? I haven't seen him this season.
    We saw a guy in a hideous yellow and every other color you can imagine jacket and yellow pants and the guy on the lift with us said he's the leopard dude - new outfit this year.
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a Ride!"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    amidst 5 mountains
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    "Without sounding corny about it, when
    you're skiing through fresh powder and the trees, there's almost a
    spiritual quality to it. It's something special that keeps us
    coming back year after year. And you never want to lose that."
    Yep

    45678
    "In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair." -Emerson

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