Not your average ski bum |

Not your average ski bum

Tonya Bina
Granby Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

WINTER PARK, Colorado ” Ski bums ” 20-something powder pigs bunking five in a two-bedroom, holding down two or more jobs.

So goes the stereotype, but the term could also apply to Jeanette Springer, 71, who for three winters has left her “flat on the prairie” life in southern Texas to ski four to five times a week in the mountains.

With three seasons at ski resorts near Taos under her belt, in early December the grandmother packed up her Honda Accord and headed for the Colorado Rockies.

She settled outside Granby ready for a taste of both SolVista Basin and Winter Park Resort.

“I’ve been hooked for a long time,” said Springer, who started skiing when she was 40.

“I just like to go up to the top, look around and see how gorgeous it is. And I like the feel of going down the mountain. It makes me feel good.

“There’s a lot of things I like to do, but nothing gives me the high like skiing does.”

Springer signed a short-term lease for a scarcely furnished two-bedroom apartment. She plans to stay there until late February.

“I’ll be tired by then,” she said.

Her downhill experiences have engendered a certain snobbery about snow conditions familiar to any devoted skier.

She now prefers the lighter Colorado white stuff to New Mexico’s “ice-ridden” slopes.

She has passes at both Grand County resorts, enjoying the luxury of a free pass at SolVista for age 70-plus.

“I get up, have a leisurely breakfast, then ski for an hour or two. Have lunch, ski for an hour or two, then go home,” Springer said.

A widow since 1972, Springer retired from elementary school teaching six years ago.

At the time, a friend asked her, “What is there in your life that you want to do that you haven’t done yet?”

“And I hadn’t thought of it,” Springer said.

“I said, ‘Well, one thing I want to do is spend a winter at a ski resort and ski until I get my feel of it.'”

They went to Red River Ski Area near Taos.

After that season and a two-year stint back at teaching, Springer was again ready to hit the slopes.

Asked what her children say about her seasonal ski excursions on her own, Springer said, “They say, ‘Oh mom, she’s a little bit crazy.'”

Thinking about it some more, she added, “Well, they like it that I always rent a place where they can come and ski.”

Springer plans to enlist in a woman’s ski clinic soon at Winter Park Resort. She avoided the world-class mountain over the holidays, saying she’d wait for the tourist “hot-shotters” to leave the mountain before she’d take her turn.

“I miss my Angel Fire friends,” she said. “I’ll be glad when I meet some friends here to ski with.”

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