Born - 1938 ; Location - England / Val d'Isère, France ; Sport - Skiers
Wear Away or Rust Away?
Some of the people we feature on SGSC are athletes, some are sports professionals. And some are enthusiasts, people who love what they do and are determined not to let age dictate to them that it's time to give up while they still have the passion. John and Margaret definitely fall into this last category.
They only took up skiing late in life, at 46. Not a hugely advanced age, but prompted by recovery from in John's case 2 episodes of DVT they thought they should try it before they did get "too old" (their words, not ours). Difficulties with blood circulation led them to a boot fitter in Val d'Isère where they were on holiday, who also ran one of the first independent ski schools. And that led them to Wayne Watson and off-piste skiing - and that is impressive. Remember, this was in the days when off-piste skiing was still done on "skinny" piste skis, and from today's perspective they would look extremely narrow, particularly when compared to the wide skis specially designed to cope with deep powder and the varied snow conditions found off-piste.
Skiing wasn't their first foray into sporting activity, though. As a child John had grown up in a sailing family - twice before he could walk he had to be rescued by his father after falling out of the boat, the second time being pulled out with a boat-hook! - sailing in the Irish Sea. John introduced Margaret to the sport and they raced off-shore boats for many years. Now they have decided that the warmer waters of the Adriatic are more to their taste. Something which is common to both sports is the experience of being brought face to face with the elements, and this is an aspect that they are as keen on in skiing as in sailing. Out in all conditions, they are certainly not fair-weather skiers. And they feel that interacting with the forces of nature gives one a sense of perspective.
Although we introduced them as not being in the "Athletes" category of SGSC - and we're sure they wouldn't disagree with that - they are a dynamic pair who are still concerned with constantly improving in their sport. They don't accept that even at their age they aren't going to make progress. Although John says that most of his fitness comes from the skiing itself, they both exercise in order to maintain condition, and Margaret took up Yoga 10 years or so ago, an activity which does seem to figure in the conditioning regimes of many of the people we speak to.
Particularly when they are in Val d'Isère they say that they have many good examples to inspire them of people who, despite the usual ravages of age, refuse to give in and make every effort to be able to continue. And seeing them continue to work hard at their sport is something that we find inspiring to us in ours. We hope you will, too.