Skiers over the age of 50 who enjoy skiing with others their age should explore the trips offered by Over The Hill Gang, International (OTHG). This 6,000-member organization has been around since 1977 and offers 26 fully escorted ski trips for the 2000-2001 season and ten summertime adventure trips in 2001. And skiers don’t have to be experts to enjoy the trips. OTHG’s average member is age 63 and an intermediate skier.
Skiers find the years dropping away as they ski the slopes with OTHG friends. This season, OTHG members will come from all over the world to ski together at Lake Tahoe, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley and other destinations. This active group will also travel to Italy and Switzerland, British Columbia in Canada, Utah, and to the major resorts in Colorado including Vail, Summit County, and Aspen. Several trips run back-to-back with van shuttles in between. A backcountry powder-skiing trip to Irwin Lodge near Crested Butte, Colorado, will challenge powder skiers.
Several trips focus on improving skier techniques. “All of us would like to ski easier, safer, longer, and in more challenging situations,” says OTHG Executive Director Dennis Beasley. Many senior skiers want to improve their technique, to return to the sport or learn how to make the most of new ski technology and OTHG’s ski clinics are the place to do that. There are separate ski clinics for men and women as well as a learn-to-ski-better week at Taos. All clinics are tailored to the needs of the mature skier.
OTHG ski trips range in price from less than $1,000 to more than $4,000 for a two-week ski trip to Switzerland. Early-season trips to Steamboat, Winter Park, Beaver Creek, Vail and Aspen take advantage of lower rates. prices include lift tickets, first-class hotel accommodations, social activities, some meals, mountain guides and OTHG hosts. The hosts are specially trained by OTHG to provide a friendly, worry-free experience for trip-goers. Skiers are divided into groups of similar ability so that no one is left out. All the ski trips include mountain guides for each group of OTHG skiers. And if someone is traveling alone, OTHG can match them with a roommate.
In addition to the ski trips, other outdoor adventures scheduled for 2001 include bicycling tours of Alsace, Holland, and Nova Scotia; hiking in Arizona; two weeks in South America; and rafting in British Columbia and through the Grand Canyon. The Over The Hill Gang will also be adventuring the San Juan Islands of Washington and from Charleston to Savannah. There’s also a golf trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
OTHG’s trips and other activities are open to members only but anyone can join this physically active, young-at-heart group if they are at least 50 years old. Spouses can be younger and still be members. Membership fees start at $40 a year and decrease with membership renewal.
Membership inquiries should be directed to: Over The Hill Gang, International, 1820 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Their Web site includes a membership application at www.skiersover50.com or call 719-389-0022 for information.
“What a Colorado Rocky Mountain high! We had a wonderful day skiing the fast blues on 51 inches of fresh powder!” says one member of the Over The Hill Gang, International( (OTHG) after an “OTHG Ski Day” at Breckenridge. Members of this group get together every week to ski the powder at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Steamboat and Winter Park ski resorts in Colorado. Their motto is “When you’re over the hill you pick up speed” and they prove it every week of the ski season.
Using their Over The Hill Gang cards, members of OTHG purchase daily lift tickets at a discount at the ticket window. Then they meet, separate into groups of similar ability and ski with mountain guides arranged by the club. These young-at-heart skiers get together at Vail on Mondays, Breckenridge on Tuesdays, Winter Park on Wednesdays, Keystone on Thursdays, and each day Sunday through Friday at Steamboat starting in December and continuing into April. At the end of the day, it isn’t unusual to hear someone say, “I think OTHG offers the best ski experience I ever had!”
If you like to ski at reduced rates, older skiers are finding that major ski resorts are willing to extend discounts as high as 30% to members of an organization called the Over The Hill Gang, International( (OTHG). Savings on everything you need for skiing are available through OTHG — lift tickets, ski lessons, ski equipment sales, rentals and services, lodging of all sorts and ski area transportation. As long as lift ticket prices continue to climb, this is welcome news to skiers. With around 6,000 members across the U.S. and Canada, OTHG is the largest group of Baby boomer (and older) skiers.
By showing their Over The Hill Gang membership cards and photo IDs at the lift ticket window or ski school, skiers can save over 20% on daily lift tickets at Aspen and Snowmass, and Vail and more during the early season at Vail. At Breckenridge and Keystone, the savings are even greater on daily lift tickets. Ski equipment and rental shops offer 25% or more savings on equipment tune-ups and rentals when OTHG members use their cards and IDs. Lodging can be another high-price item, so discounts in the neighborhood of 20% or more on hotel rooms (some with ski-in, ski-out access), condos and bed-and-breakfasts can save a lot of money. Reservations need to be made direct with the hotel and members need to ask for their OTHG discounts but otherwise there are few restrictions.
Over The Hill Gang, International’s directory of member benefits, published annually gives details of discounts and special offers from about 350 ski-related services across North America. That number includes about 100 ski areas, 75 ski equipment services, and more than 100 offers for travel and lodging discounts. Members of OTHG pay a modest fee for membership but can recoup the cost very quickly by using the discounts.
The do-it-yourself approach is not for everyone so OTHG also offers fully planned and escorted ski trips to resorts in the western U.S. and Canada, and to Europe. More information about membership and benefits is available by calling Over The Hill Gang, International( at 719-389-0022
Anyone over the age of 50 skiing at the intermediate level or above is welcome to join the weekly skiing at Vail by meeting at the Trail’s End Café near Lionshead Gondola at 8:45 every Monday except Christmas and New Year’s Day. At Breckenridge, they meet on Tuesdays (except Christmas, New Year’s, and Presidents weeks) at 8:45 at the Bergenhof Restaurant at Peak 8. At Winter Park, they meet every Wednesday (except December 27) inside the Balcony House at the Info Desk at 8:45. Expect to see a large group of OTHG skiers at Keystone every Thursday except December 21 and 28 at 8:30 to leave for skiing at 9:00. The Steamboat group meets every day Sunday through Friday at 9:00 near the gondola outside the Ski School.
About one-fourth of Over The Hill Gang, International’s 6,000 members choose to join local chapters of OTHG. Local chapters offer members more opportunities to get together, whether for social events or more active adventures. Chapters offer day, weekend or longer skiing trips, hikes, bicycle rides, and other activities.
Chapter membership is available with the following groups:
- Chesapeake Chapter in the District of Columbia, Maryland and northern Virginia area. Contact president John Storm in Alexandria, VA, at 703-924-2394.
- Eastern Chapter for members in the New York City and New Jersey area. Contact Eva Freiberger in Demarest, NJ, at 201-784-5429.
- Connecticut Chapter. Contact Marc Marcus in Westport at 203-227-2251.
- Chicagoland Chapter. Contact Barb Fredrickson at 847-831-2965.
- Dallas Chapter. Contact Shirley Stinebaugh in Richardson at 972-783-1465.
- Pikes Peak Chapter for members in southern Colorado. Contact Frank Piccinni in Colorado Springs at 719-635-8435.
- Rocky Mountain Chapter for members in the Denver area. Contact Mardie Morrison at 303-674-3802.
- Golden Gate 49ers for members in the San Francisco area. Contact Henry Lew at 650-322-3760.
- Los Angeles Chapter. Contact Dick Knudsen in Glendale at 818-243-9102.
- Orange County (California) Chapter. Contact Ruth Wolfarth in LaHabra Heights at 562-691-0137.
- Ventura (California) Chapter. Contact Camille Van Ast in Newbury Park at 805-498-7421