How One Man Learned To Ski At 72

When the term “peer pressure,” is used, it’s usually negative.  

You think of a teenager being coerced by friends and getting in trouble!  You certainly wouldn’t expect a 72-year-old to be susceptible to peer pressure, would you?  It can, in fact, happen. It changed one man’s life in a very good way. He learned to ski at Deer Valley Resort.

Bob Garretson, now age 74, moved to Park City two years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Even though he moved to a resort town, he hadn’t planned on learning to ski; he came to Park City to enjoy the summers. He and his wife split their time between Park City and Naples, Florida so they usually spent their winters at the beach.  

Why did he learn to ski at an age in which most people quit the sport?  He told me, “Because my friend wanted me to.”   

Two years ago, at the age of 72, Bob took up skiing to be a ski buddy. Thanks to some prodding and Bob’s willingness to try new things, and with the help of a Max-4 lesson at Deer Valley Resort, he is officially an intermediate skier. He’s ready to take on any blue run at Deer Valley Resort.  

Why would anyone want to learn a new sport after age 70?

Here are a five reasons:

“You only have one go round in this life,” says Bob. “You have to make the most of it.”

1. To Ski with your Grandchildren

It makes a difference if you are out there in the thick of it with them. They don’t notice how well (or not well) you ski, they want you to watch them.

2. To Stay Strong and Healthy

 Skiers get a huge dose of fresh air on a ski day.  Your upper body pushes on your poles across the flats between runs and your lower body gets a workout on the downhill slopes. You get to rest on the chairlift between runs.

3. For the Mental Challenge

 There is a learning curve for new skiers. Skiing is counterintuitive: you lean down the hill to gain control instead of leaning back (our natural tendency.) Skiers of all ages and abilities are always learning: there is new terrain to explore, new skills to hone and ever changing conditions.

4. To Hang Out with your Friends

 Even if the major reason you are skiing is due to peer pressure, so be it!  Just figure you have the best friends anyone can ask for.  

5. To Learn and Master a New Sport

Why climb a mountain? Because it’s there. Maybe you can learn to ski for bragging rights – to say you did it. Take a lesson from an instructor who not only knows the skills you wish to learn, but knows how to teach them in a way that you can “get it” and implement the changes right away.

No matter what your reason for learning to ski, don’t let your chronological age stop you, just ask Bob.  He’ll tell you, “Age is just a number;  if there is something you want to learn, do it!”

Nancy L. Anderson, CFP is a financial planner in Park City, Utah. Visit her blog, and find tips on Transitioning to Retirement on

6 Responses

  1. Ed says:

    Lets have some of his friends comment on this… I have a few friends that I would love to ski with for the social part. Great sport

  2. Libby Smith says:

    Thanks Nancy! Great article!

  3. Jane Garretdon says:

    Love this! Bob has found a great form of exercise that he can engage in with like-minded friends. Learning to ski kept him sane during a difficult time in our lives.

  4. Summer Niskanen says:

    So inspirational!!! I want to be a better skier, now more than ever! Can’t wait to ski at Deer Valley this year! The highlight of our winter for sure!!!!

  5. […] This article first appeared on the Deer Valley Resort Blog under the title, How One Man Learned To Ski At Age 72 […]

  6. Darhl Bova says:

    WOW…I know how to ski and I don’t, but reading Bob’s comments for his reason for learning to ski has reminded me of why I should go for it and get out there again. I loved this article and Nancy does such a great job of coming up with great highlights for Deer Valley. I love reading her articles. Thanks to both Bob and Nancy for a very good reminder. I WILL get out there again!

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