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Grand County, the best kept secret for active retirement, and hoodies

John Ridell
A Zoomer’s Unique View of Grand County
John Ridell writes a business column and a fun, Zoomer-Boomer outdoor column for the Sky-Hi News.
Staff Photo |

The author Thomas Wolfe is generally credited with coining the term “The Me” generation. More recently, if your birthdate falls between 1936 and 1959, you are referred to as a proud member of the Baby Boomer generation. Ours was the generation that coined the phrase “never trust anyone over thirty” and gave rise and success to Seinfeld, ostensibly a television show about nothing. But now we are a bit wary of anyone under thirty and reality TV is the mind-numbing norm. From legends in our own minds to bodies held together by leftover pieces from a junk yard, we are redefining our golden years. Nowhere is this redefinition more obvious than right here in Grand County.

We live in probably one of the best kept secrets of the active retirement world. From winter sports to summer sports, winter activities to summer pastimes, all are pursued with an attitude of intensity and enjoyment that redefines the traditional aging norms. This column will be an ongoing and seasonal highlight of various sports, activities, and pastimes all presented with a different and hopefully humorous connection to life’s unpredictable comedy of errors. Age qualified individuals engaged in these sports, activities, and pastimes will, heretofore, be referred to as Zoomers, hence Zoomer Boomers.

To initiate this first foray into this world of distorted personal observation, I would like to call your attention to a most important topic that has been virtually ignored by every book or manual on retirement, exercise, and nutrition for seniors. I am, of course, referring to proper Zoomer attire.

Following extensive research that included cost, utility, flexibility, simplicity, ease of entry and exit, all with a nod to a lack of color coordination, I am pleased to report that the recommended garment of choice for all Zoomer Boomers is undeniably the Hoodie. While clearly an icon of the slacker generation, for significantly different reasons it has become the leisure/active uniform of choice for many Boomers.

Please consider the following. Not having completely made the transition to smart phones, many Zoomers find themselves needing a place to put their flip phone, their keys, their wallet, and maybe for those retired engineers and accountants, their calculators. While shirts and trousers are certainly still manufactured with built in storage spaces called pockets, traditional T-shirts and sweat pants simply do not have enough of this said storage. Enter the Hoodie. Not only is there one gigantic pocket that will hold just about everything, the fact that it is the only pocket significantly decreases the chances of putting anything into the wrong pocket. At a certain stage of life, this is a very important function.

Then there is the hood part itself. While many may see this as simply a designer’s solution to getting a little more money for using a little more fabric, true Hoodie devotees know that this is simply not the case. While the thermal protection it affords to a Telly Savalas look alike is well recognized, the afternoon energy re-charging utility is most often overlooked. Simply pulling it down slightly over one’s eyes allows the wearer to escape to a world of relative quiet and peaceful darkness. In other words, there is no better equipment for taking an impromptu nap.

It is not uncommon to overhear Zoomers debating the pros and cons of pullovers versus zip ups. Detached observations usually reveal that zealots on both sides tend to reflect personal tastes in conjunction with design features. For example, Zoomers who still enjoy a certain degree of hand and eye coordination tend to flaunt this gift by promoting zip ups and its entire process. Minimalists who decry excess in all things including choices like to emphasize the fact that there is only one hole big enough to get over your entire body. And if you are stupid enough to try to fit your head through an arm hole—well you don’t even deserve to draw Social Security. Whatever camp one falls into, all lament the damages of bleach, hot water, and hot dryers especially in conjunction with an inconvenient gain in weight.

Having now provided an insight into the uncommon focus of this column, please be advised that future Winter musings will include topics such as x-country skiing with dogs, moose, and other skiers. We’ll have some hiking/snowshoeing observations, some snowboarding learnings, hot spring soakings and anything else we can come up with that highlight the Zoomer Boomer’s life in Grand County. As Chet Huntley used to say to David Brinkley, “Stay tuned for more. Back to you, David.”


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