The active life is second nature for this RFC “regular”

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Don Eaton knows the benefits of preparing for downhill ski season. That’s why he works out weekly with Apex Personal Trainer Holly Benson at the Racquetball and Fitness Center. Don is 92 and looking forward to hitting the slopes this year in great condition. His favorite resort is Breckenridge, particularly the long run that’s punctuated by several restaurants on the way down. “I enjoy the skiing and also talking with people on the slopes and in the restaurants,” Don said.

Fellow downhill skiers always get a kick out of conversing with Don. Not only is it rare to meet a ninety-something on the hill, but Don has led a fascinating life, with outdoor activities taking center stage from his youth on forward.

An early passion was scuba diving. He learned the sport in the 1950s, about a decade after it was invented. He and his son both loved scuba, and in order to pursue their shared hobby to the max, Don acquired a Mooney high-performance private plane. “When my son was in medical school in New York, he and I flew together to Florida as often as we could.”

It’s inspiring to hear Don talk about making his dreams happen. His down-to-earth attitude, openness and optimism supported many other aspects of his life besides outdoor fun.

During World War II, for instance, Don ended up driving armored bulldozers after a superior officer noticed he had a natural affinity for those machines. He served in this role during the battle of Iwo Jima.

Don was also good at fixing things, and started a repair business which he owned for many years. Then, while living in south Florida, he came to own a horse rental business, a livelihood that evolved after an enjoyable experience riding horseback. During that time, Don ended up in a movie that was filmed nearby, with one of his horses in an action scene. “In many instances in my life, an enjoyable activity ended up moving to another level,” Don says.

Don recently moved from Florida to Black Hawk, Colorado, where he currently lives with his family, including his son David, a retired dentist. Colorado is familiar territory for both Don and David; as with scuba, they also teamed up to share a passion for skiing. While living in Florida, he had a timeshare in Colorado and he would typically make 3-4 trips here each winter to ski with David. His first Western resort was Alta, Utah. “I got spoiled by the quality of skiing in the West. Back East it’s mostly ice and conditions aren’t generally as good.”

For several years, Don’s family encouraged him to come West to live, and “a few good snow years convinced me to move out here in 2016,” he says.

With ski season close at hand, Don is ahead of the game with his fitness program. Overall, he has a practical and positive approach. “Everybody slows down but it’s great to move as much as possible.”

Personal training is an essential component of Don’s overall fitness, and to add variety, Don is now taking racquetball lessons at RFC as well. Besides enjoying the activities, his program is a means to an end: “stay active and have fun.”

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