Last week, a Glen Arbor resident won two medals in a slalom ski race, not so uncommon Up North.
But this racer is 100 years old.
Lou Batori has been skiing for 90 years.
"You have to ski to stay young, or you have to be young to ski. Your choice," Batori said last week, skiing at Nub's Nob in Harbor Springs.
"I WAS BORN JULY 31ST, 1910. YOU DO THE MATH!"
Lou wears a dapper white ski suit with a large "100+" ski patch on his arm. His eyes are crystal clear and green, and he skis perfectly upright.
"Why am I doing it? Nothing to do with physical activity... nothing to do with longevity. Just because I like it," he says. "I just enjoy it."
Lou was born in Hungary, where he began skiing when he was 10 years old. He moved to the U.S. in 1932 , went to M.I.T. and eventually became a mechanical engineer and lived in New York. His wife was from Michigan and wanted to return home to be close to her aging parents. That was 30 years ago. At first, Lou wasn't so sure he'd like living in Northern Michigan.
"I did not want to move up here," he says. "When you spend your working life in New York City, it's cynical. It's know-it-all........ then to here."
But now, Lou says moving to Glen Arbor may have been the best move of his life.
That's what he said last week, at Nubs Nub, at the Midwest 70+ Ski Club. He usually skis near his home, at Crystal Mountain, where he has a private parking spot with his name on it near the front door. The only one of its kind, a 100th birthday present from the resort..
Richard Lambert Jr., President of the National 70+ Ski Club, flew from New York to be here at Nub's Nob to celebrate Lou's centenarian status.
Lambert made the 100+ patch Lou is wearing:
"Our club is known for our 70+ ski patch. They have 80+, 90+. I made him one that's 100+. It's a little bit larger than the regular ones," Lambert says. "In the club's history, we've had 21,000 members, he's only the second to be skiing at 100."
"I mailed him the patch in June, this 100- plus ski patch, because I wasn't going to make him wait!"
Lou usually skis about three times a week. When the snow is gone, he bikes about 15 miles most days, and he often rides in a motorcycle with his wife, Judith, in the sidecar. He gets angry when he hears about perfectly healthy seniors who simply sit in front of the TV.
"Waiting to be carted away, stupid waste of life," he says. "In this life, you can replace anything, shoes, your house. But you cannot replace time. It's the most precious commodity. So many people are throwing it away, not realizing how precious it is. Make the best of it," he says.
Another secret of Lou's longevity: he says he follows no strict diet. In fact: "I prefer red wine. but I'm not against a good martini."
Lou hopes to be back at the annual event at Nubs Nob next year to celebrate his 101st birthday, still looking for a "good line" out of the gate.