Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Denise Connelly


This thesis is a study of the lived experience of ten older adult alpine ski racers in their continued participation in ski racing. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the experiences of these older adults as they continued to compete in ski racing. Masters skiers between the ages of 69 and 82 participated in individual interviews lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. Data analysis was completed using van Manen’s phenomenological methods and the visual technique of mind mapping. The major theme that emerged was the importance of being a ski racer to participants’ identities. The supporting subthemes were: enjoying the feeling of ski racing, the challenge of adjusting, and the adoption of a ski racer lifestyle. These insights offer opportunity to understand how to motivate athletes of all ages to maintain their athletic identity or to establish a new, physically active identity in old age.