MATT DANA TREDWAY
past president of the Steamboat Winter Sports Club
Steamboat Springs, CO
LIFETIME in the MOUNTAINS
The phrase “ and Beyond” generally evokes mystery, like something behind the curtain. Beyond the beaten path; the backcountry, the wilderness, deep oceans, or space. It’s something off the map, mysterious and exciting. As it pertains to age, the ”65 and Beyond”…bracket, that lots of us now find ourselves staring down, is maybe a little less glamorous.
Despite how we may feel individually, this category casts us all in the same dubious mold. Its definition does not bear much upside. Rather, it’s peppered with images like not driving, lots of meds, and becoming bobbers in the ebb and flow of life… with limited ability to influence.
The world seems to be saying “You are old… What do you care about? No one expects anything. No one ever says “65?, oh that’s so young” unless it’s in relation to death.
And the messages keep coming… like the spam calls that remind us our car has ostensibly outlived its extended warranty. Are you kidding me? I may be old, but l still have ideals… l have goals and ambitions and hold myself to a certain standard. I hope to never grow out of those and to continue to fight. We are not challenging Father Time for the win, more like just a few more rounds… He is, after all, undefeated. We are just fighting to extend our mental and physically viable time
In the past, any athletic achievement within the Beyond group is reported like a crazy anomaly… like a UFO or sasquatch sighting. I’m happy to say that wonderment has begun to shift as people carry their athletic skills well into the Beyond category. Though, admittedly, we’re not necessarily training to get better, but rather training to get worse slower.
Personally, climbing and skiing are sports that can deliver adrenaline. There are routes that push ability at any age. The scale slips… the appreciation of the mountains does not. It’s the same awe as it has always been. Enjoy every minute, though it may be inevitable that we maneuver through injuries like the gates of a slalom course, hitting a few along the way.