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DETAILS: Programs for Seasoned Skiers

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Loads of deals await skiers 45 and older. They include club trips, Elderhostel packages, special pricing for non-group visitors, and clinics. Also, most ski resorts offer discounts on season passes and daily lift tickets for seniors -- ages and prices vary. Here is a sampling.

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* Elderhostel (800-434-5768, http://www.elderhostel.org) ski trips are designed for those 55 and older, and their companions. This year's offerings include downhill skiing at Park City, Utah; Sundance, Utah; Winter Park, Colo.; Aspen, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and more. Among the most intriguing: a January outing to Sunday River Resort in Maine that features both downhill skiing and a Web design workshop for five nights starting at $669 per person double.

* Over the Hill Gang International (719-389-0022, http://www.othgi.com), for those 50 and older, offers one-year memberships for $50 for first-timers, plus a variety of discounts in addition to special club trips. Ski tours this winter include visits to Sun Valley, Idaho; Snowmass, Steamboat and Breckenridge in Colorado; and a sampler of Utah resorts. A four-day trip to Durango for those younger than 70 starts at $799 per person for four nights' lodging, quad occupancy; seven nights at Jackson Hole, with five days of lift tickets, some meals and one guided day as well as other goodies, is $1,795. European trips are in the $4,500 range. Airfare for all is extra.

* The Eastern 50+ Ski Club ( http://www.easternskiers.org/index.html) is made up primarily of New York area people, but anyone can join for $20 per person or $30 per couple. Some of its 2007-08 trips are sold out, but there are still spots for trips in January to Okemo Resort in Vermont (five nights for $357.50 per person double, including lift tickets), and in February to Telluride, Colo. The latter trip is seven nights for $992 per person (older than 65) double, and includes five days of lift tickets.

* Chicagoland Club 50 (847-634-1109, http://www.ski50.com/index.php), as the name makes clear, offers most of its off-slope activities in Chicago. Still, it welcomes everyone. Its trip to Snowmass in February costs $1,189 per person double, which includes many meals. Lift tickets are extra. There are some Chicago-Aspen round-trip air tickets available as well. Another Chicagoland trip heads for Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana in March; it costs $1,724 per person and includes round-trip airfare from Chicago to Bozeman, transfers, lift tickets and breakfasts.

* Individual ski areas may have their own programs. If you spend a lot of time in Colorado, check with the Copper Mountain branch of the Over the Hill Gang (970-968-3059, http://www.copperohg.com), whose membership fee ($619 individual or $1,164 per couple) includes a local Copper Mountain season pass. Also, the group is planning a five- or seven-night group trip to Whistler Mountain in British Columbia in late January for about $2,100 to $2,500 per person, including airfare.

At Aspen, check out the Bumps for Boomers Clinic, run by Joe Nevin (970-989-2529, http://www.bumpsforboomers.com/BFBL3TwoDayClinic.htm). It has two- and three-day clinics that promise to help "terminal intermediates" seeking to escape the corduroy (groomed) runs move on to an advanced level. Three-day sessions are $910 to $1,030, depending on dates. Lodging and airfare are extra.

Also in Colorado: The Arapahoe Basin Legends of Skiing clinic (888-272-7246, http://www.arapahoebasin.com), held many Mondays starting Dec. 10, is a morning program designed for and coached by those 50 and older. All levels are invited to explore the mountain and socialize with peers. Cost: $52 with preregistration, $55 on the day of the clinic. Powderhorn (970-268-5700, http://www.powderhorn.com/content/view/137/160) has guided ski and/or snowboard groups for those 50 and older, with emphasis on fun, camaraderie and ski time, on Thursdays beginning Jan. 10; cost is $25 for a lift ticket and $6 for an apres-ski party.

In Vermont, Smugglers' Notch 55+ Club (802-644-2134, http://www.smuggs.com) meets every Wednesday to ski the alpine slopes or cross-country trails. The club offers four alpine skill level groups. The $25 annual fee entitles members to discounts on lift tickets, rentals, instruction and more.

* Interested in Washington area ski groups? DCSki ( http://www.dcski.com/skiclubs/index.php) has an extensive list of clubs in the region.

-- G.L.


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