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The 70+ Club: Keeping seniors active

By Karen D. Lorentz

Lloyd Lambert (1901-1997) was a successful businessman, eminent ski journalist, and passionate skier who founded the 70+ Ski Club in 1977. 

“This club for seniors, which continues to thrive today, is really a culmination of a life spent promoting a sport my grandfather loved,” Richard Lambert, Jr. told the Mountain Times. 

Today the club sports over 3,500 members from the U.S. and Canada. The oldest two active members are over 100 and there are about 125 members in their 90s and over a thousand in their 80s! 

The 70+ Club 2024 calendar began with a Vermont Ski Fest held in January at Okemo Mountain. 

Passion leads to club founding 

Lloyd Lambert bought his first pair of skis in 1915 at a local hardware store for $1.98. He was among the first to ride the ski trains from Schenectady to North Creek, New York, in the 1930s. Although he had a fulltime job as a display manager for a department store chain in Schenectady, he followed his passion and became president of the local Alpine Ski Club and joined the National Ski Patrol. During World War II he volunteered to conduct search and rescue operations for any downed planes in the area while on ski patrol. 

Lambert also began writing a weekly ski column which ran in the Schenectady Gazette for 27 years. In 1948, he began broadcasting ski reports and did interviews on radio and organized the New York Capital District Ski Council. He served on the board of directors of the U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Association and was a charter member of the Eastern Ski Writers Association. In the 1970s, he produced a half hour ski program for public television. He also developed a ski museum at Hunter Mountain with early ski equipment that included a pair of skis dating to 1750!

“It was his radio audience that inspired him to start the 70+ Ski Club. He was dismayed that fellow seniors were giving up skiing because they could no longer afford it on fixed incomes or simply had no one to ski with. He hated to see folks wasting away in rocking chairs. Like the seniors who join the club today, he knew keeping active was the key to staying healthy,” Lambert, Jr. said.


Submitted
Lloyd Lambert, founder of 70+ Ski Club pictured in 1966 at age 95.

Contacting the ski resort owners he had built relationships with, Lloyd persuaded them to offer free skiing for 70+ members. Membership skyrocketed, earning him and the club national acclaim, Lambert, Jr. recalls, noting his grandfather skied “well into his 90s and was active right up until his death at age 96.

“My father continued his father’s efforts and now I’m the third generation to lead the club. I have tried to follow my father in promoting the social aspects skiing with the club offers. Many people associate the club with free skiing, but that was not the motivation for starting the club. Free skiing was the tool my grandfather used to accomplish his real goal to keep seniors active,” Lambert, Jr. noted.

Today, many resorts that don’t offer free skiing to 70+ members offer them discounted skiing or free skiing to members of a higher age. 

In 1988, Lloyd Lambert was awarded the U.S. Ski Writers Golden Quill for his contributions to skiing. “I think he relished recognition by his peers, but getting his audience out on the slopes was what motivated him,” Lambert Jr. said. 

“I remember he used to tell members how important it was to wear their 70+ jacket patches to show all those 50-year-olds that skiing was a lifetime sport. Today, those 50-years-olds are old enough to join the club. They say before seeing all the 70 and 80-plussers on the slopes they never imagined they would still be skiing now. They ski with three and even four generations of their families but say the most fun is skiing with their peers!”

Today’s fun

That fun includes opportunities to ski all over the world with fellow members. Okemo has hosted the event in January for over 10 years, attracting participants from all over to enjoy slopeside accommodations, good food, skiing/riding, a ski race, and camaraderie. They bring family members and enjoy reviving friendships or making friends with fellow skiers with whom they can ski, Lambert said.

Other January activities included a Mid West Ski Fest and a week at Les Trois Vallées in France. Trips to Big Sky, Blackcomb Whistler, Utah, Aspen Snowmass, Mammoth, and Chile are also offered this year. The Feb. 24 – March 2 “Utah Safari” repeats the club’s most popular trip with skiing at Alta, Snowbasin, Brighton, Solitude, Park City, Snowbird, and Deer Valley. In addition, some day trips are planned.

Membership is $15 for an individual and $18 for a couple. Proof of age is required to join! For more information, visit 70plusskiclub.org/news/ to learn more.

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