Bionic knees, bionic hips, and corizone shots. That’s all they need to hit the slopes. The wave of local seniors skiing at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia is so big that they’ve formed their own club. It’s a group that’s proving that age on the slopes doesn’t matter.
The Sun Peaks Antiques, a loose-knit batch of seniors, meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Bento Lodge below a banner displaying their crest. Amid smiles and laughter, they greet each other, but waste little time dilly-dallying. They are here to ski and serious about getting on the slopes.
The group of more than 100 members is made up of singles, married couples, and divorcees who live in Kamloops, Sun Peaks, and environs. Many are in their sixties and seventies, but a large crop are in their early eighties. The oldest member is 85 years old.
They joke about their knees, their age, and their gear. Then, they click into their skis and rip up the slopes. Skiing in small fluid groups, they mix and mingle on runs during the day. Some race down the slopes so fast that you’d think they were half their age.
Margie Walker, Bea Prehara, and Sigi White often ski together as Antiques at Sun Peaks. Photo by Becky Lomax.
The stories of the Antiques are varied. But they ring of true die-hard skiers.
Nick Maika skied 76 days the year he turned 76. Then he followed that by skiing 80 days the year he turned 80.
Bea Prehara started skiing when she was 50 because her husband-to-be made it a condition of marriage. He’s gone now, but she’s still zipping down on the slopes after just turning 80.
One day, Margie Walker twisted her knee skiing, but her future husband Garth just sent the ski patrol to fetch her. He wasn't going to waste time taking care of her when he had more turns to make before the lifts closed for the day.
Sigi White skis three days each week with the Antiques and then supplements with Nordic or backcountry skiing on the other days.
In big numbers, the Antiques all turn out for the celebration of life when one of their members moves on to that great big ski hill in the sky.
Some of the Sun Peak Antiques have gear that makes statements. Photo by Becky Lomax.
Many of the Antiques started skiing with leather boots and cable bindings. They readily credit the advances in ski gear with their ability to still be on the slopes. Some ride the latest newfangled gear while others are satisfied with decades-old straight-cut skis and rear entry boots.
“I keep thinking about getting new gear,” Garth Walker says with a laugh, “but then I’m not sure if I’ll be around more than a year to use it.”
At noon, the antiques regroup for lunch in Bento Lodge before spreading once again across Sun Peaks’ three mountains for the afternoon. Once a month, they go to a restaurant to celebrate birthdays and then throw a big end of the season party.
The Sun Peaks Antiques also raise money every year for ski patrol equipment at the resort. Garth Walker explains their rationale: “We’re probably the ones who will end up using it.”
The Sun Peaks Antiques meet three days a week in Bento Lodge. Photo courtesy of Sigi White.
Visiting seniors to Sun Peaks are welcome to join in with the antiques. Seniors 65 years and older can purchase lift tickets for $59. Lift tickets for three or more days cost $56 per day.
To meet the Antiques, wear a grin and just show up in Bento Lodge on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday morning before the lifts open. Then just try to keep up on the slopes.