Are you too old to Snowboard?

by Hanna

Of course not. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been pondering the question. Both in my job as an instructor and in conversations around the mountain I run into a lot of preconceived notions about being too old to to learn to ride, or what the potential consequences for injury are. Let’s look at some of these misconceptions.
First of all, you’re never too old to learn. I’ve taught plenty of first time riders in their 50’s and 60’s, and ride with some very inspiring intermediates in their 70’s. I’ve even watched a 65 year old woman successfully 50-50 a metal rail in the mini-park for the first time (Marilyn you are my hero.) So I have to laugh inside when I hear people in their 30’s or 40’s say they’d like to try snowboarding but they’re too old.
There is also the occasional antiquated notion that snowboarding is “for young people.” Snowboarding is not a “young people’s” sport any more than skiing is. Have a good look around the mountain or the liftline. Chances are you will see a wide range of ages, abilities, and of course both genders out riding. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t join them.
Finally learning to ride is not necessarily going to be the painful event your coworker/friend/ski house buddy is telling you its going to be. If they had a bad experience its most likely because they either didn’t take a lesson, or they tried to bite off more than they could chew. Check out our post “Great Expectations, Your First Time Snowboarding” for an idea of what your first day on a snowboard should be like.
So if you’re on the fence this message is for you. Make this your year. Try something new and I bet you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of. Snowboarding has no age limits, come see what you’ve been missing.

11 Responses to “Are you too old to Snowboard?”
  1. Pirate Steve says:

    Way back in the day, I was considered on the older side when I learned to ride at the ripe age of 29. Now at 46, I am proud that I have professionally taught hundreds, if not thousands, of people to to ride in the past 17 years.

    I wanted to get off the plateau I had reached skiing for the previous 18 years, so I gave this relatively new sport a try. I was hooked after the second day. Ironically one of the reasons I stayed with it was because sliding sideways was easier on my knee. A knee that was ironically injured while… skiing.

    I’ve taught people of all ages, sizes and shapes, even a 68 year old nun. My 87 year old ski buddy with sciatica keeps telling me that she is tempted and may come out to play. We haven’t gotten her out yet, but I think it is coming soon. I only hope that I am able to embark on the new adventure that is available in another 40 years, hover boards I hope.

    • Hanna says:

      Thanks for chiming in…and showing some of the young guns that age and treachery will overcome youth and skill from time to time. In all seriousness Pirate Steve handles his business JUST FINE on a snowboard. Now if we can get that 87 year old on a deck that would be awesome. p.s. where do i sign up to test the hover boards?

  2. Michael Harrington says:

    Hanna–just look @ Gordon Robbins over @ Okemo–he was in his early-50’s when he was my Level 1 examiner in 1992, and, last I knew, still runs the program over there, which makes him….what? 71? 73? One of my private clients @ Brighton in the mid-90’s was the 63-year-old retired head of the Utah Highway Patrol. At lineups @ my area, I actively seek out adults in the lesson corral–most of my private clients are over 35, and I had several late-40’s/early 50’s clients last year. As a 44-year-old, I love teaching adults, because I get the whole risk-to-reward thing–we want to learn to ride, but we can’t bang into work on Monday because we got hurt in a snowboard lesson. It’s Safety, Fun, and Learning in that order for a reason, right? I love my adult lessons–they make up most of what I do. 65 years old, riding a rail? Wow, Marilyn’s my hero, too. Can she get me ready for my AASI-2?

    NEVER TOO OLD!!!!!!!

    • Hanna says:

      Micheal thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I think that many of us in the industry have similar perspectives, and its good for potential first time adults to be exposed to it and understand that they’re not too old at all! Where do you ride now, and are you going for your AASI II this season?

      • Michael Harrington says:

        I’m the lead trainer @ Blue Hills in Canton, MA. I just took my 2 online last week (passed with an 80) and will most likely ride for it next season. I’m hoping to get a Riding Concepts in this year, but it doesn’t look good. Ask Carlos about my first Level II journey in the 90’s here in NE and in Utah the next time you see him–I think that you’ll agree that it was the most painful Snowboard 2 pin in recorded history…….:-)

  3. Hanna says:

    Oh hey Micheal,
    Carlos has told me about you. I’m hoping to catch up with you and some of the Blue Hills crew sooner than later! I’ll be sure to ask Carlos to share your story of sounds intriguing.

  4. Nick Dell says:

    Never too old! I am the lead snowboard instructor at Seven Oaks Recreation – I have taught kids as young as 2 and seniors as old as 76 years old successfully how to snowboard. I am 30 years old, have been boarding for 20 years, and instructing for about 10 years. Whenever I hear the “too old to snowboard” line I do get a little offended. I will ride ( and hopefully teach ) until I can not longer walk, then I will look into a sit ski 🙂

  5. William Bigelow says:

    I am a 63 year old man, and i have been a telemark skier for 25 years. One of the reasons i like to telemark so much is the feeling of banking my turns in soft snow. I have seen some snowboarders going down the hill at high speeds in long sweeping arcs similar to the way i ski. I think i would really enjoy snowboarding. When i was a kid back in 1963-64 we used to skateboard a lot, that is when skateboarding first started. I always enjoyed it a lot. i think i will try snowboarding this year.

    • Awesome, let us know how it goes. Your tele background should help a lot! On the flip side, I love watching good tele skiers. Tele turns and snowboard turns are the same shape. Every year I say I’m going to try Tele’s. I’m out for the season this year but maybe next year…. -hanna

    • Pirate Steve says:

      Hey William, Give it a try! I think you will find the toe side turn is very familiar and you are half way there. One of the quickest progressing students I had was a long term free heeler. We were riding the chairlift after just 45 minutes. Come ride with us at Sugarbush if you like. We understand Tele and snowboarding. Never too old, just get out and enjoy the snow.

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