The History of the SST
Our Skier Profile
The Senior Ski Team started with 7 intrepid skiers and one coach in 2004 - 05.
The 2005 - 06 Senior Ski Team Program grew to 7 Teams of 7 Skiers and 7 Coaches and the program was a sellout!
The 2006 - 07 edition grew to 14 Teams and 98 Skiers and the 2006 -07 SST grew to 160 Skiers and 23 Teams and we added a second day, Sunday's and continued to sell out.
The 2007 - 08 SST ended with 27 Teams and 189 happy campers and sold out again.
The 2008 - 09 SST promised to be the largest enrollment yet with the addition of sessions on Tuesdays as well as the traditional Wednesday and the Sunday sessions. We had 33 Teams and 230 folks enrolled.
The 2009 -10 SST season was an anomaly in scheduling because of the Olympics of course and has turned out to be like two mini seasons in one with 6 sessions held before the great event the then 6 sessions held after. As we wind down the season, we have had a terrific Spring for snow and we are happy to report that we had 28 Teams and 192 people enrolled.
For 2011 - 12 and 2012 - 13, the Senior Ski Team program has returned to the 2008 - 09 levels with over 225 enrolled for the season and we added sessions on Monday's for the first time.
In 2013-14 and 2014-15 the SST Program reached the 250 person mark! In 2015-16 and 2016-17, we capped the enrollment at the 250 person mark but have always found spots for a few more in both seasons. In 2017-18 & 19, we continued to operate with the capable assistance of 25+ dedicated, knowledgeable coaches leading the way.
For the 2019-20 season, attendance surpassed the 300 person mark and we now have 32 instructors coaching 43 groups that average 7 people per team spread over Sunday with 6, Monday with 11, Tuesday with 7 and Wednesday with 19 teams or groups of 7 skiers each.
For many seasons now, we have instituted an "Early Bird" signup every Spring with a financial incentive that has been very well received. Over 90% of the available spots are now scooped up on the Early Bird Registration. Naturally, this has led to a "Wait List' and I am proud to say that we have eventually found spots for almost everyone due to natural attrition.
At the average age of our clientele, anything can happen and it usually does. This has led to the institution of a money back guarantee if people signing up on the EB have to drop out and, happy campers for those on the Wait List that get the opportunity to sign on.
The success is due in large measure to the Founding Members; or, simply "The Founders" and their friends and fellow skiers many who are now octogenarians and hold the belief that the concept of skiing as we age is a great one. Many others have now joined their friends on "The Team" of course and the circle continues to widen.
The mandate is to deliver an on-hill experience that appeals to the needs and desires of all Senior Skiers. A good ski school program should meet the needs of all skiers no matter what. The 'what' can mean failing health that results in inadequate ski conditioning. We recognized this a number of seasons ago and started the "MASH Group" on Wednesday's for skiers that are either recovering from injury, surgery or simply from a lack of conditioning to ski with their regular groups. This grouping has been an integral part of the program since inception with new people circulating through it on the road to full skiing capacity.
Whether it's a skier at the "Mash Level" or an active participant at any of our levels, the common thread is that a day with us draws you up on the mountain often when there is no way you'd be up there otherwise. As is often the case, these days turn out to be the best thing you could have done as you discover that even a bad day on the mountain is pretty much better than a good day in the valley.
Like all things that flourish, we started with a modest group, the "Founder's Team", our original group of 7 who, at the time, had an average age of 67 and an average of 37.7 ski seasons under their belts when we started in 2004. There were many reasons why we have now had 16 successful seasons.
At the top of the list and common to the skier profile, is a common desire to ski together, challenging each other, making new friends and cementing relationships.
Then, there is the wish to ski safely within the limitations of slowing muscle response times, diminishing vision and old injuries that have occurred over time and now, really have to be taken to account.
As the seasons unfolded and as registration requests began, it became clear that we needed to lower the age threshold to accommodate younger Spouses and Friends.
As a result we accommodate "Seniors in Training" after bringing the age requirement down from 65+ to 55+. We now have numerous "Young Senior Teams" in the 55 - 64 year age categories.
Over the seasons, the program has branched out to offer specialized 3 day tech camps and specialized alignment sessions that add more levels of skiing refinement for those who need some 'tweaking'; all geared to the needs of the senior skier.
Finally, we are more than happy to report that many of our skiers like to combine travel and skiing and the SST Ski Tours abroad continue to be a success. These adventures near and far, continue to see skiers joining us on trips to Europe, the Orient, South America and New Zealand and closer to home on trips to Interior Resorts and Cat Skiing Trips to the Backcountry of British Colombia in search of powder schnee!.
The Mission Statement of the Senior Ski Team Program
As the year[s] moves along, we hope that your expectations are met and exceeded.
We also hope that you will find a home on the Team and will feel like belonging to it for many seasons to come.
We aspire to be a "kedge" activity that inspires you to maintain a daily active regimen in the off season; all in an effort to improve your physical and mental well being.
We want this to become "THE Place" for you to keep yourself tuned in to your sport and the great outdoors, so you can continue to celebrate your love and passion for skiing.
In future seasons, we hope that our programs will be a natural place for "Seasonal Senior Visitors" and local seniors alike to gravitate to for the ski fellowship and social experience as well as the instant connection to some of the most knowledgeable "Locals" on Whistler/Blackcomb.