101-year-old Skier Shares His Secrets to Longevity

(Contributed Photo)
Centenarian George Jedenoff’s daily exercise routine keeps him in shape for his annual ski trips.

    George Jedenoff is at it again. At 101 he was on the slopes at Alta skiing for five days this winter. He says his desire to keep in shape so he can ski is what keeps him going. 
    “Skiing is relaxation for me. I enjoy the physical exercise and the beauty of nature all around — the mountains, trees covered with glistening snow, sunshine on the runs. What could be better?” he says. “Then, there are the friendships of the Wild Old Bunch at Alta, where I ski for free. I think the youngest might be 50 — the only rule we have is there are no rules.”
    Jedenoff’s son, Nick, says “I had to hold him back. He was so eager to ski again.”
    This year the Alta team, which has made a video of him for many years, not only filmed him on the ski runs but came to his Orinda home to take shots of him doing exercises he performs each morning.
    “I started my exercise routine about 30 years ago. It involves a lot of stretching movements, plus I have several pieces of equipment that friends gave me because they didn’t use them. I do. That’s the way to start the day and you have to make it a habit,” Jedenoff says. 
    “It’s amazing that sometimes I don’t feel so good but still I do my routine and at the end I feel great. I know people who, as they get older, mostly just want to sit around and they perhaps get overweight or stressed out. My advice: Live again.  Push yourself. Start an exercise program. Or, get out and walk. Don’t expect results overnight but just keep at it. I’ve heard from so many people who have watched my videos that they were inspired by me and did start exercising and were so happy with the results.”
    Life isn’t all a bed of roses for Jedenoff. His wife of 75 years died a couple of years ago, he has a growth near his abdomen that “they are just watching,” and he’s had a colostomy for many years which he says takes 1 1/2 hours of his time every day. “Everybody has something. I don’t dwell on it. I feel fortunate I’m as healthy as I am and don’t let the problems bother me,” he says.
    Perhaps that’s why this new video is titled “The Optimist.” 
    Jedenoff, who was born in Petrozavodsk, Russia, in 1917, has had many other interests. He said his family escaped Russia through China and were very poor when they arrived in the United States. Jedenoff worked his way through Stanford and played on the varsity rugby team his freshman year. 
    After graduating from the School of Business, he went on to being vice president of US Steel and President of Kaiser Steel. But Jedenoff says now people remember him more for his skiing than his work accomplishments. Today he attends the Stanford School of Business Half Century Club meetings and the Cardinal Society for those who graduated 65 or more years ago. He was master of ceremonies for a number of years.
    He attends Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, plays golf at the Claremont Country Club where he’s been a member for 40 years, and gets together with US Steel retirees.
    Asked about his advice for young people, Jedenoff says, “It’s a time in your life, more than any other, you can devote to yourself. So try to find out about yourself and what you can do. But also get out of yourself to learn about other people, other cultures, likes and dislikes. Respect all people as well as yourself.  Use what God has given you in the most constructive way in this world and it’s amazing what can happen. Help others to utilize their talents. You also have to learn that you can’t always have things your way. Always remember to look for the positive.”
    Friend Brandon Ott relates that as he was tucking his 8-year-old daughter, Grace, in bed she said, “I don’t think George will ever die because he has such a positive attitude.”  Maybe so.  He just purchased a new iPad.
    Jedenoff’s video can be seen on YouTube by searching for his name.

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