Over the Hill in name only

Group of older skiers hits slopes daily


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For information about meeting times and places for the Over the Hill Gang or to arrange for a group tour, call the Steamboat Ski Area Ski School at 879-6111. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the group should call membership committee members Eph or Ann Holmes at 871-1924. For club news and events, visit www.ssoverthehillgang.org.

When Isty Meyers started guiding Alpine ski tours for the Over the Hill Gang in 1982, the groups primarily were made up of locals.

Participants still are 50 and older, but most now are visitors looking for a convenient way to explore the slopes while skiing with other skiers of like minds and ages.

"There was just a group of locals who liked to ski together, and people were saying, 'Can we ski with you?'" Meyers said.

For more than 20 years, the nonprofit group has provided a free, guided ski program at Steamboat Ski Area.

Although local members still participate in the ski groups, the Over the Hill Gang's focus is giving out-of-town skiers not only the opportunity to ski with others but also the chance to learn about life in Steamboat Springs, said Gordon Jones, former president of the organization.

"It's really fun," Jones said. "It's really nice to show people from other areas how great our mountain is."

The Over the Hill Gang offers group skiing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. The group meets in the morning at the Over the Hill Gang sign at the base of the ski area across from the entrance to the gondola.

Late risers also can join groups for lunch at 11:45 a.m. at Thunderhead. The groups typically have an Over the Hill Gang sign at their table, Meyers said.

Two guides typically ski with the groups, though more are available if a large group calls ahead to let the organization know it is coming.

If there is a large group with diverse skier levels, one guide may take a more advanced group of skiers to advanced runs while the rest of the group sticks to groomed intermediate ski trails, Meyers said.

"We kind of do a little ski-off to see where everybody is at," she said. "You have to be a pretty good intermediate skier."

Sixteen to 18 guides typically volunteer to lead groups, and guide openings fill up fast, Meyers said.

The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. supports the group by training its guides and providing their lift tickets.

Many Over the Hill Gang participants and members make lifelong friends through the group, and several have even met their spouses on ski excursions.

Skiers don't have to be members to participate in the activities, but if they want to contribute financially, they may want to consider being members, which costs $50 a year for a couple or $35 a year for singles, Gilbertson said.

The group has about 400 members.


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