Ninety-nine and still skiing fine

If there’s proof that skiing keeps you young, Muriel Watterworth (pictured, above left) is it. At 99 years old, she’s still carving up the slopes, a year after going viral for “still skiing at Snow Valley at 98.” 

That story, by Snow Valley’s Alex Mickelson, was an excellent portrait of an inspiring skier and person. I’m not going to try to recreate it here (you can link to that article below). 

Instead, this is a story of my own experience with Muriel—who happens to be a family friend—as she met and inspired my family over the years (most recently my two-year-old nephew) to continue to pursue the dream of lifelong passion for skiing and the outdoors. 

Three generations on a chair, from age two to 99. R - L: me, Timothy, Huxley and Muriel.

You see, I first skied with Muriel when she was a spry youngster of about 93 and my youngest son was about five. We met through my aunt, who is a friend of Watterworth’s and a fellow member of the Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club. I used to talk up that story for the family, as an example of how skiing could be a lifelong sport. 

Imagine, a ski group that spanned nearly 90 years from youngest to oldest. I figured it might have been some sort of a record, until on a recent February day, my aunt, Watterworth, my brother Timothy and his young family and I all joined up for a day of skiing. Our crew spanned in age from two to 99, with my nephew Huxley anchoring the youthful end. 

We were quite a troop, unloading the quad chair with Huxley hollering, “ready to go?” and the rest of us filing in behind. 

“You have to keep moving,” said Muriel, although she confesses that she gave up going to the gym for fitness training a couple years ago. Not that she isn’t still exercising: she still works out, but at home instead of at the gym.

With her preference for smooth parallel turns, it was a challenge for her to stay at Huxley's pace and not zoom ahead, but she managed it for a couple runs for the sake of skiing together. 

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One thing that motivates her is seeing youngsters like Huxley out on the hill. As a former ski instructor, Watterworth clearly loves kids. And Huxley is an entertaining kid (even if I do say so myself, as his uncle). 

After each run, we get a “potato” aka fist bump from Huxley, and a big smile from Muriel. It is, simply, a blast. 

And while it isn’t the big mountain powder that spikes my adrenaline and feeds my flow so purely, experiences like these remind me that the other big reason I love skiing (and snowboarding!) so much is that it is such an easy way to bring people together, outdoors, across generations, for the love of winter fun.

A bonus, if you can do like Muriel and keep moving, is that skiing may also be the fountain of youth.

More to the story

If you want to read more about Watterworth and her story, check out Alex Mickelson’s excellent (viral) blog on skiing with Muriel at 98, and his recent follow-up on Muriel and Huxley on the slopes together.

Adding to the milestones, this year is Snow Valley's 75th anniversary, for some additional historic context.

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