If there’s a life worth studying, it’s Lou Batori’s. At 107 years old, he’s still ripping turns down the mountain as a skier.
His status of “ski legend” is marked by a “100+ Ski Club” patch on his jacket and his own parking spot at Crystal Mountain in Michigan. He no longer races, but he became the world’s oldest NASTAR competitor at age 100.
So, what’s his secret to a long life and active life? He answers the same way every time he’s asked the question: A wonderful wife, only drinking the finest liquor and picking your parents carefully. That, and riding his bike 17 miles a day well into triple digits.
“Waiting to be carted away is a stupid waste of life,” he said in 2015. “You can replace anything – your shoes, your house, your belongings. But you cannot replace time…so make the best of it.”
And that, Batori has done. He started skiing on wooden skis in his native Austria at 10 years old.
“I have been often asked, what ski school have I attended,” he told CBS. “You know what my answer is? “What flying school did the Wright brothers attend?”
He immigrated to the U.S. with his parents as a teenager, graduated from MIT and went on to work as an aviation engineer. He worked on the autopilot feature for the B-17 Bomber and with NASA on the Apollo Mission.
As an avid skier all his life, why did Batori settle on staying in Michigan rather than moving West to larger mountains?
“It was a bit of a surprise, but I found that I could log as much vertical feet in a day here in Michigan as I could in the mountains where you spend a lot more time riding a lift,” he told the Record Eagle. “Here the lift ride is shorter, and you spend more time on the slopes. It may not be a mountain, but at the end of the day it all adds up.”
Spoken like a true skier.
He turned 107 years old in July, and while there wasn’t any snow on the ground, he still spent his birthday on the mountain:
To watch Batori in action, check out this feature CBS did on him when he turned 100: