“Being” an Older Adult Skier: The Phenomenology of Masters Alpine Ski Racers

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Carly Litchfield
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Denise M. Connelly
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Melissa E. Hay
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Elizabeth Anne Kinsella
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This research examined the lived experience of older adult Alpine skiers in their continued participation in competitive ski racing. The aim was to gain an understanding of the meaning of the experiences for older adults as they continued to compete in Alpine ski racing. Masters skiers between the ages of 69 and 82 years participated in individual interviews. Data collection and analysis were iterative processes informed by phenomenological methods and visual mind mapping. The overarching theme identified in participants’ accounts was the significance of the identity of “Beinga Ski Racer. Supporting subthemes were Enjoying the Feeling of Ski Racing, Adapting in the Sport, and Skiing as a Lifestyle. These insights offer the opportunity to encourage and support the holistic experiences of older adults who maintain their athletic identity as they age. This research highlights how inclusion of older adults’ stories may foster critical reflexivity and challenge assumptions about aging.

Litchfield is with the Muskoka MVMT Physiotherapy and Sport Injury Clinic, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada. Litchfield, Connelly, Hay, and Kinsella are with the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Connelly and Hay are also with the School of Physical Therapy, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Hay is also with the Absolute Rehab Centre, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Hay is also with Livewell Health & Physiotherapy, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Kinsella is also with the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.

Connelly (dconnell@uwo.ca) is corresponding author.
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