Happy 106th birthday, george.
George Jedenoff may be done skiing, but he's still a big part of Alta and the Wild Old Bunch. We chatted with George earlier this week and wished him a happy 106th birthday from the Alta family.
Together, we reminisced on the decades of powder days and marveled at the 903 inches of snow this season.
105 years young
While he couldn't ski Alta this season, we were fortunate to call George and wish him a happy 105th birthday at his home in California. He recalled skiing Snowbird on his 100th birthday, saying "Isn't it amazing! Five years ago. It seemed like just the other day."
Still Skiing at 104
Due to the pandemic, George was not able to make his annual trip to enjoy Alta's timeless powder snow, but he still made a few turns at Sugarbowl Ski Resort in California at age 103. We chatted with George on his 104th birthday and made plans for his return to Alta for the 2021–22 season.
Now 102 1/2 years young, George Jedenoff is back skiing powder at Alta. This year he was joined by a crew of over 130 senior skiers from all corners of North America. Another trip around the sun and George isn't showing any desire to slow things down. We had the opportunity to host George this week, trying our best to keep up with him as he explored every powder field in Albion Basin. Then we joined George and Alta's Wild Old Bunch at Alf's for an informal lunchtime reunion.
Thanks, George, for another year of inspiration and our annual reminder to "never give up."
101-Year-Old Skis Alta
George got off the lift and his first words were: “Where can we find some powder?” He's addicted. It's in his DNA. He's hard-wired to seek powder. Even a little patch of powder will do. A week-old patch of sun-kissed snow is just fine. Any kind of fluff is perfect. He launches into it and makes rhythmic turn after turn.
He's 101! He skis like he was born to ski. But it wasn't all that easy.
When he was a toddler his parents fled from the Russian Revolution eventually arriving in the United States. As a young man, he worked as a miner in California for 50 cents an hour. He graduated with honors from Stanford University, served in WWII, entered the steel industry and rose to be president and COO of Kaiser Steel—the foremost producer of steel for the shipbuilding industry.
Along the way, he learned to ski at Alta, taking lessons from legendary Alf Engen, Junior Bounous and the founder of release bindings, Earl Miller. Miller staged falls to demonstrate how well his bindings released. But when George crashed, Miller claimed he'd never seen such spectacular falls.
At 101, George still skis with glee and thrives on powder.
He's the role model for a vigorous life, and he's an inspiration. He doles out wisdom slopeside.
“Age is just a number. Don't let it hold you back. Always be kind to others and never give up.”
When lunchtime came and everyone went into Alf's Restaurant, George did not sit down for lunch like everyone else. He became the Master of Ceremonies going from table to table, introducing his friends to skiers he did not know. He was somehow passing the torch. Passing on the legacy of his love of life and his love for skiing.
Then finally, it was back to the slopes so George could ski just one more run in powder.
He tears up powder like a teenager. And if there's just a little powder along the edge of a trail, he'll tear that up too.
He keeps himself fit.
He works out every day before breakfast. Staying fit for life is a lesson we all might learn from him.
George was always athletic, but he learned to ski when he was 43. He'd been transferred to Utah to be the general manager of the thriving Geneva Steel Plant and decided to try skiing.
He learned from the best: Alta’s legendary Alf Engen, Snowbird’s iconic Junior Bonous, and Earl Miller—the granddaddy of release bindings.
“While buying my first pair of skis in Orem, I ran into Earl Miller who offered to teach me how to ski. Of course I used Miller bindings – the only safe bindings available at that time. We used the rope tow at Alta Lodge for my first lesson,” he said.
Miller promoted his bindings with photos of himself in wild falls showing how the bindings released. "One day Earl paid me quite a compliment: 'You know, George, you've made some falls I've never seen before!'"
But George quickly learned to ski, and he fell in love with the sport, the scenery, the fresh mountain air, and especially the powder.
He bursts with enthusiasm for snow and also for life. I rode the Supreme chair with George recently and asked for his advice. He said: "Always be kind to others. Count your blessings and don't let life's problems overshadow the good in life. And above all, never give up."
George is Alta's powderhound patriarch. And he's a role model for skiers of all ages.