Ashland, Ore.- Hank Boudreau has loved to ski for as long as he can remember.
“My dad was the first one to put me on skis. He put me up on his ski and I would put my arm around his leg,” Hank said.
That was over half a century ago.
“When I told my mom and described the slop she said ‘I cant believe it you were only two and a half years old,'” said Hank.
It’s a vivid memory Hank holds onto.
“It’s one of the few times I can remember with my dad,” Hank said.
He’s been skiing his whole life and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
“I had the desire to ski since I was 15. I wanted to be a ski bum,” Hank said.
Even after two knee replacements and a neck surgery Hank still hits the slopes four times a week.
“The only thing that is going to stop you is yourself,” Hank said.
Hank is living proof. He’s 76 years old and is the oldest ski instructor at Mt. Ashland but don’t his age fool you.
“I ski hard, I don’t baby it. All you have to do is get out there if you want to do it,” he said.
He might be the ripest instructor of the bunch but he’s got the heart of a child.
“I have a passion for skiing and I want everyone else to have that same passion,” Hank said.
Teaching any beginner skier is a challenge.
“I have struggled with kids and they’ll be fighting it and they cant get it,” he said.
But with a little patience and some fresh powdery snow anything is possible.
“I’ll look up on the hill and they’ll be doing everything that I told them and it just tickles me,” he said.
He’s like a grandpa to these skiers not just emotionally but physically as well.
“I’ve got an engineer hat and I’ll get it trouble if I don’t have it. I’ll have kids holler at me ‘wheres your hat’ and I’ll say well I guess I better start wearing it,” Hank said.
But Hank doesn’t mind.
“I enjoy every minute of it,” he said.
For him being able to share his love of skiing is a reward in itself.
“It makes you want to come back and keep doing it, he said.
And as long as there are kids that want to learn Hank will be there gliding by their side.
“Until the day I can’t get up on skis I’ll be up here,” Hank said.
-Photojournalist Karen Tang
© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.