86-year-old skier going for gold at ski championship

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s some West Michigan representation at the NASTAR National Championships in Colorado this week.

The competition brings some of the top ski and snowboard racers from across the country together to compete in different divisions depending on their age, gender and ability.

Bill Hall, 86, will be competing in the Gold Division race.

“I’m kind of excited about how I’m going to do when I get there,” Hall said.

Hall skied when he was younger, but in his 20s he joined the army, got married and started a family, which didn’t leave much time for skiing.

“The wife passed away in 2016 and that’s why I took up skiing and I think it was 2017, the West Michigan Ski Club took me underneath their wing and it’s just like a big family,” Hall explained.

Despite only racing for six years, Hall has earned his share of bragging rights, including dozens of NASTAR racing pins and a spot in the top 20% of racers across the U.S. in his age group. His top speed is 59mph. That, in addition to the cowboy hat and boots he sports when he’s not in a racing suit, is why he’s earned the nickname ‘Wild Bill.’

Medals won by Bill Hall for skiing. (April 8, 2024)
Medals won by Bill Hall for skiing. (April 8, 2024)
Undated photos of Bill Hall.
Undated photos of Bill Hall.

“Ski club calls me Wild Bill, Crystal [Mountain] calls me Wild Bill.”

Like most athletes, Hall works hard, always striving to improve. But for him, there’s a deeper appreciation for the sport beyond the numbers on the board.

“When the wife passed away it took a big hole. It put a big hole in my life and the ski club really helped me out and they still do,” Hall said. “Little things like that can go a long way to fill up the empty holes.”

Though Hall admits he’ll pat himself on the back on occasion when he finishes a good run, he adds, he can’t do it alone.

86-year-old Bill Hall. (April 8, 2024)
86-year-old Bill Hall. (April 8, 2024)

“It’s just that the good Lord has blessed me so much with agility and that I can run, I can power walk …” Hall reflected. “He’s blessed me so much with so many gifts … that I just take advantage of them.”

When he’s not skiing, Hall also competes in running races and loves to dance.

“I’m giddy when I’m dancing, just moving your feet. I just have a great time and nice thing about it, it’s like skiing — everybody goes skiing they’re out there to have a good time. When everybody goes dancing, they’re there to have a good time. Everybody’s smiling,” Hall said. “I’m just thankful. I’m just so thankful that he lets me do this stuff.”

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