Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Snowboarding to celebrate his 80th birthday

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi

When I turned 80 years old, I gathered my family together and we went snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain. I was fortunate to have all five of my children, as well as 11 of my grandchildren and 13 of the great-grandkids there.

Part of my inspiration for choosing to spend my 80th birthday on the slopes was a marathon snowboarding session that I did in the winter of 1994-95. I started in November, and ended up snowboarding every single day without fail for 230 days, into the month of June until my mother got sick and I stopped. I had someone from the resort sign me off each day to verify that I was doing it, and I also kept a journal and took photos each day. The remarkable thing was that I didn’t have any injuries or even have a bad cold during that entire period, I was lucky enough to stay healthy the whole time and I met some good people and made some great memories.

So for my 80th birthday, my family put together an event for everyone who could make it, and it was great. We partied for three days. The snow was hard-packed and it wasn’t ideal conditions, but the weather was fantastic and we had a wonderful time with four generations of my family. I can’t imagine having a better 80th birthday.

– Ken Hensler

Longtime Tehachapi resident Ken Hensler received an Inspiration Award for his 230-day snowboarding feat and Mammoth Mountain gave him a free season pass.