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Snowbird • George Jedenoff asked his new co-workers for recommendations on a hobby to take up when he relocated to Utah in 1960.
There was bowling, they said, and bridge. But what captured his attention and became his passion for 57 years and counting was skiing.
After learning the sport at age 43, Jedenoff has carved Utah's powder nearly every season since. And for his 100th birthday Wednesday, he celebrated with a pair of runs at Snowbird Ski Resort.
"I was actually hoping to go heli-skiing today, but they aren't running," Jedenoff said with a laugh.
After crews groomed a patch of soft snow on Chip's Run from the top of the Peruvian chairlift, the birthday boy decked out in full ski regalia, including a patch on his jacket that read "100+ Ski Club" coasted down the mountain with ease.
"Powder skiing, especially, I don't know how to describe it," Jedenoff said. "It's just different, and I just love it."
The centenarian attributes his ability to ski this far into his life to a regimen he started 30 years ago: 15 minutes to an hour of exercise every morning before breakfast, along with a healthy diet.
"Knowing that you might be able to ski for a little bit is an incentive to keep in shape," he said. " … The secret there I've found is you've just got to make it a part of your life."
Jedenoff, who now lives in California, also credits his positive attitude about his "short time" allotted on Earth.
"You have problems? Just consider them as opportunities," he said. "Decide that you're going to lick them and that you're not going to let them lick you."
Jim Wilson and his siblings first went skiing with Jedenoff in Park City more than five decades ago. Wilson was 9, and Jedenoff was a kid, too, in his mere 40s.
"He was just always looking after us and always had our interests at heart," recalled Wilson, now a 62-year-old ski instructor. "He inspired us to go to ski school."
Bob Murdoch, who, at age 93, has skied with Jedenoff for 20 years, is still schussing down mountainsides.
"There couldn't be any skier [who] is more deserving of this honor than he," Murdoch said. "I know there are others [who will] go to 102 or 103, but they don't ski like he does."
And how does Jedenoff ski? "Very, very smooth," Murdoch says.
After his ski runs, Jedenoff was presented with a cake and plaque, both emblazoned with his personal mantra: "Age is just a number."
Friends expect him to be back next year to make a few turns at a spry 101.
"You never know what life's going to bring you, but we sure hope that we can see him again next year," Wilson said. "He told the ski patrol guy on the way down, 'Make sure you get those skis, I'm going to need them next winter.' "