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Utah Man Celebrates 100th Birthday by Hitting the Slopes

Image: George Jedenoff
George Jedenoff celebrates his 100th birthday with a couple of ski runs down Chip's Run from the top of the Peruvian Lift at Snowbird Resort, Utah on July 5, 2017. Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

A Utah man celebrated his 100th birthday by doing what he loves most: Skiing.

Snowbird Ski Resort took advantage of lingering snow to groom a short run for George Jedenoff to cruise down Wednesday before he was given a cake and plaque with one of his favorite sayings: “Age is just a number.”

In a birthday speech, Jedenoff echoed those words.

“Don’t let the age bother you,” he said. “Don’t let the negative things in your life, of which we all have a lot, outweigh all the positive blessings that you have.”

Image: George Jedenoff
George Jedenoff skis runs down Chip's Run surrounded by friends and family. Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

Jedenoff said people should view life’s obstacles as opportunities rather than problems.

“Life is so short, even 100 on this Earth,” he said. “Make every minute count.”

Jedenoff was joined by longtime skiing friends, his children and grandchildren, who came to see him attach a “100+ Ski Club” patch to his jacket.

Jedenoff has skied down Utah’s powered slopes nearly every season since learning the sport at 43.

Jedenoff credits 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.

Image: George Jedenoff
George Jedenoff is presented with a birthday cake on the ski slopes. Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

“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.”

Jim Wilson and his siblings first went skiing with Jedenoff in Park City more than five decades ago. Wilson was 9, while Jedenoff was in his 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, 93, joined in his friend Jedenoff’s centennial celebration. Murdoch has skied with Jedenoff for the past 15 years, he said, and for many of those years, they’ve been able to ski three or four weeks out of the year.

“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.”

Friends expect Jedenoff back next year to make a few turns at the young age of 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.’”

Image: George Jedenoff
George Jedenoff, center, talks with his skiing buddies Nick Looser, 82, left, and Bob Murdoch, 93, right, who skis with Jedenoff at Alta in the winter at Snowbird Resort. Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP