THIRTYSOMETHINGS HIT THE SLOPES Now, as they learn to ski, they're taking kids along


The baby boomers are doing it again. This time, though, they're hitting the slopes in full force.

"It's very strange. A lot of couples 30 and over are discovering this is something fun to do," said Toni Coccagna, assistant manager of Princeton Sports.

"Skiing is a very social sport. You can do it alone or with friends," said Wendy Rosenmiller, marketing manager at Roundtop Ski Resort in Lewisberry, Pa. "Skiing is a family activity. It's only natural that parents learn, too."

"A lot of it is that the kids are starting, and the parents go and like it," said Mr. Brown, owner of the Ski Shoppe in Reisterstown.

Or it can work the other way around.

Patricia Klein, 32, says she is a "very big beginner" and is learning to ski "for the fun of it." Her two children, 3 and 7, will be starting lessons soon.

"They want to learn because Mommy and Daddy do it," she said.

Mr. Brown also stressed, "The sport has gotten a little safer. The old image of the guy sitting in front of the fireplace with a cast on his leg is somewhat diminished."

But learning to ski doesn't always mean tackling the snow-covered outdoor slopes.

Bare Hills Athletic Club off Falls Road has attracted many adults with its indoor ski ramps and lessons.

Audrey Anderson, who works at the club, said Bare Hills has had the ramps for six years, and they "have been popular from the start."

"We get a lot of couples who bring their kids in. It's a fun form of recreation," she said.

Orientation lessons cost $8 each, and a package of four lessons is $59. Students can also buy combination lesson/practice session packages.

Mr. Brown said the deck is "an easy way to get into the sport. [Beginners] learn the skills to have a good time," he said.

John Stark, 39, who recently completed lessons and practice sessions at Bare Hills, had skiied years ago and said he "fell all the time."

But when he went to Roundtop Ski Resort with a friend a few weeks ago to try out his new skills, he said he only fell once.

"My friend was amazed at how much difference there was. She didn't think I was the same person," he said.

Ski resorts such as Roundtop and Liberty in Fairfield, Pa., offer packages for beginners.

At Roundtop, the beginner package, which costs $28, includes a half-day ski rental, introductory ski lesson and a half-day lift ticket, re

stricted to J-bars and pony lifts. At Liberty, a starter package is $28. The half-day package includes a half-day lift ticket to the beginner slopes, an hour lesson and a half-day ski rental.

Nancy Charvat, 43, who learned to ski at Liberty four years ago, said she went with a group of friends the first time and took a lesson.

"Going with a group made it a lot easier. We gave each other moral support," she said.

Ms. Charvat, who lives in Harford County, took up the sport because she said she wanted something exciting to do during the winter.

"Each winter, my husband and I find excuses to go to different ski resorts," she said. "I love it."

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