Does skiing (and maybe snowboarding) represent the “Fountain of Youth? It’s no secret that regular exercise and sensible eating can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and even a long life.
Consider Utah’s George Jedenoff who is still skiing at the age of 101. Klaus Obermeyer, creator of the original down jacket, just turned 100 and he still skis and swims regularly. Look at Colorado’s Sharon Crawford who, at 75, competes in “uphill skiing” events. And, Mammoth Mountain founder Dave McCoy just recently passed away at the age of 104.
Is there a secret? How do these folks explain their longevity and vitality?
An event that is part of the Breckenridge Ascent Series took Crawford from the base of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, which has an elevation of 9,600 feet, up a black-rated trail for nearly two miles and more than 1,500 vertical feet. She did it in one hour and two minutes.
“I’ve never had speed,” Crawford, a retired software engineer, said after the race. “I’m more of an endurance person.”
From being one of the few girls in her high school physics class and in the Boston Marathon to becoming the token 75-year-old in an extreme ski mountaineering contest, Crawford has always told herself, “I can do it, too.”
“You have to have your own criteria,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just to participate. In others, you want to really be competitive. Now my age group is 75 and up, which is good. I’m going to take advantage of that.”
For the last couple of years, Snowbird has stockpiled enough snow so that George Jedenoff can ski on the day he was born. Last July 5, he celebrated his 101st birthday.
George is a big believer in regular exercise. From stretching to jogging and situps, George religiously sticks to his exercise routine and completes it every morning before breakfast.
George’s other secret to his longevity is his optimistic attitude that he says he’s had all his life. “Don’t let your problems get you down” George says. “Stay positive.”
George was born in 1917 in Petrozavodsk, Russia, in the midst of the Russian Revolution. He bought his first computer (a Mac) when he was 70 years old and is a model of the curious soul. He belongs to the “100+ club” of skiers and Alta’s “Wild Old Bunch”.
Klaus Obermeyer always has a smile on his face simply because he enjoys life. He lives in Aspen, Colorado (so what’s not to like?) and still is active in the apparel company Sport Obermeyer that he founded in 1947. He annually greets industry people who attend the Snow Snow trade show in Denver, CO. His philosophy? Like George….always keep a positive attitude.
As a young man Klaus studied to become an Aeronautical Engineer in Munich, Germany and he came to the United States at the age of 27. He spent his first winter in Sun Valley where he sold Bavarian Neckties and shoestrings alongside film producer Warren Miller. After his first Winter season he moved to Aspen where he became a ski school instructor.
He founded Sport Obermeyer based on insights he had gained about ski wear while working as an instructor and started the business in the attic of his home. There, one of the first of many innovations was born in the form of a down ski parka stitched together from his goose down comforter. After that came high-altitude suntan lotion, turtlenecks, nylon wind-shirts, mirrored sunglasses, the Boot Fit Press and more. Aside being a business entrepreneur, Klaus is also intone with his body.
“I have been swimming for a long, long time”, says Klaus. “When you get to be well over 25 years old, you can’t run any more. You can barely walk. But swimming you can safely do and it gives you all the motions to keep your body in fairly good shape. I swim a little more than half a mile every day”.
Klaus skies frequently and also is in tune with the environment. “We have a building that is sixty percent solar heated, a change we made 25–30 years ago”, he says.
The recent passing of Dave McCoy not only conjure up thoughts of staying fit and active but also thoughts of a creative mind that just won’t quit. Is that part of the secret? Maybe.
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