I walked by the fashionable little ski apparel store and noticed a cool sweater that I thought my wife would love. Thinking I would score major points if I brought home a great gift I entered the shop.
I was greeted by an elderly woman who stood ramrod straight and was very pleasant. She showed me around the store and gave an advertisement on each piece. I asked her if she ever skied? She smiled and said, “Yes, going up to Park City next week.” Wow, I thought in my mind, she must be her late 70’s but is in great shape.
I naïvely started asking questions about her activity, “Do you ski all day?” “Why yes,” she said. “Do you ski on steep slopes?” I found myself making an assumption about her that her age should equal her ability. She then said, “Well actually, I am racing. I am in a downhill slalom race. People say I shouldn’t still race at my age but I love it and have been doing it for over 60 years.” My jaw dropped, still I wanted to peg her age to her ability. She said, “Well I get up to 70-80mph when going fast.” “Don’t you worry about getting hurt.” I muttered. “Well I broke a finger in 54 but am more careful now.” I was stunned.
Later I met a mutual friend who knows her. He said she was 82 and was a ski instructor in Sun Valley for 40 years. She is still one of the fastest racers in the Masters class.
I love writing about people who don’t see age as a qualifier to living life… my bad.