Super Senior: The Smuggs 55+ Club

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 4:38 PM EST
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s a windy Wednesday at Smugglers’ Notch ski area in Jeffersonville. where kids brave the elements and some more “seasoned skiers” head to the Meeting House for their weekly get-together over coffee.

“You can see we meet and socialize, it’s a social session for the first half-hour or so,” said Liam Kearney, president of Smuggs 55+ Club.

But don’t call it a senior center on the slopes. These folks are ready to hit the lifts. “The club motto is getting out of these four walls and doing something during the wintertime,” Kearney said.

That includes longtime club members Ruth and Charlie Magill. “How can you live in Vermont in the winter if you don’t go outside?” Charlier said. Although the club is for 55 and up, most of the members are a tad older, Ruth and Charlie are both 85. “How can you ask for anything nicer than being out here.”

The couple has been married for 62 years after first meeting in a church choir. In harmony in life, but on the slopes, they go their separate ways. “No, we never ski together. No, he’s a hotshot,” Ruth said.

Keeping up with Charlie is Margaret Mcintosh. “I may be 80 but I tell you I’m still moving and I’m damn good,” she said.

It’s a tight group with a need for speed. “You know, there’s a thrill in speed. There’s a thrill in meeting challenges,” Charlie said.

“They couldn’t keep up. The younger kids couldn’t keep up with us,” Kearney said. “We may be getting old... do try keeping up.”

And with that, this reporter takes up the challenge.

Reporter Joe Carroll: I might ski with him if you don’t mind.

Ruth Magill: Ski with Charlie? Oh, go for it!

I haven’t skied in years but with Charlie as my instructor, carefully watching my form from a distance, the trail is one of the easiest on the mountain. The Olympics aren’t in my future but it felt good to be back on the boards.

Reporter Joe Carroll: I could be part of your group.

Charlie Magill: Are you old enough?

Reporter Joe Carroll: I’m 59.

Charlie Magill: Oh wow, every Wednesday.

Back inside, the group celebrates an anniversary -- it’s their 30th year as a club. “You don’t stop skiing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop skiing,” Kearney said.

It’s a mantra that the Magills live by no matter which way the winds will blow. “This is what we got, we got to love it,” Charlie said.

Click here for more on the Smuggs 55+ Club

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