Like most tourist stops there is always a core of locals passionate about their hometown, keen to make a visitors stay memorable for all the right reasons. One such individual here in Steamboat is Over the Hill Gang head guide Bill Belisle. Originally from Michigan, Bill and his wife Lucelia decided to retire to the Valley where they had spent many happy family ski vacations. Over the years the couple have enjoyed membership to Over The Hill Gang, (OTHG). Originally set up in the early 1980’s by a group of over 50’s who wanted to ski together, the gang now comprises of over 425 members and activities are wide ranging. From biking trips to snowshoeing tours the OTHG is a great way to be active and meet a lot of different people.
1. How long have you been skiing and where did you learn?
I started skiing when I was 19 at a little place near Pontiac called Mount Holley. Mostly I learned to ski in Taos N.M., but in reality I learned to ski right here after I quit work.
2. How long have you been skiing In Steamboat?
We started to come to Steamboat in the late sixties and would rotate trips to various western resorts. These trips were always the family vacation. Kids loved it because sometimes they got out of school if we could not coordinate with winter break. We finally settled on Steamboat and Taos as our favorite places in the west.
3. How did you get involved with Over the Hill Gang?
We moved to Steamboat in 2000 and were busy finishing our house. Lucelia found out about the OTHG and we decided to join, as it seemed like a good way to meet people. At our first dinner we met a couple that turned out to be our best friends.
4. How many times a week can visitors ski with a guide?
The guides ski six days a week Sunday thru Friday from 9am to 3pm. There are no limitations as to how many times you can ski with the gang.
5. What is your favorite run on the mountain?
I have several places where I like to ski but overall my favorite run is Twister, there are great trees next to it and the multiple pitches keep the run interesting.
6. Best view on the mountain??
I really do not have a favorite view but I am always looking to see Hans Peak. If I were to try and choose a favorite view it would be the view of pleasant valley from the turn in Broadway.
7. Where would you stop to warm up on the mountain?
I always like to stop in the four points hut. I hope the mountain can enlarge the hut and keep the simple aura with the hut projects.
8. Where is your favorite après ski stop and what do you like to order?
My favorite stop is on Tuesday when the OTHG has their happy hour at the Ptarmigan Inn. I will nearly always order a beer. Next in line would be the T-Bar and a beer would be the beverage of choice.
9. Craziest/ silliest question you have been asked while guiding?
Probably the craziest question I have been asked is how to get to the Sundown chair lift. The question came while the asker was looking at a Copper Mountain trail map. (for those who don’t know this, Copper is a ski area between Steamboat and Denver)
10. Off the mountain what do you like doing in town with visitors?
I always like going to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, and we always try to take guests there. After that a nice dinner at Sweet Peas is always enjoyable.
For more information on Over the Hill Gang check out: http://yampavalley.info/centers/recreation/organizations/over_the_hill_gang