Soon-to-be 80 Jean Chrétien ready to hit the ski hills

MONTREAL – Even with his 80th birthday fast approaching, former prime minister Jean Chrétien isn’t slowing down — in fact, he can’t wait to get back on the ski slopes.

In a brief chat with The Canadian Press on Friday, Chrétien described his health as “first class.”

“I’m still walking a lot and I will be skiing when the ski hills open,” he said while being interviewed about the death of former senator Jean-Louis Roux, a prominent member of Quebec’s theatre community.

Last May, Chrétien was pictured doing some kite-boarding in North Carolina. Video of the event was posted to YouTube.

Chretien joined the law firm of Heenan Blaikie in January 2004 after stepping down as prime minister in December 2003.

He still goes to work every day, usually in Ottawa but also in Montreal and elsewhere.

Chrétien, who was born in Shawinigan, Que., on Jan. 11, 1934, added he’d rather be busy than doing nothing.

“My father used to say: ‘Move or get rusty’ — so I’m moving,” he said.

Chretien underwent emergency surgery in 2010 to remove a pool of blood that was putting pressure on his brain. He was at risk of a stroke or lasting brain injuries if the condition had not been treated quickly.