1925 — 2020
Maxine Bounous, born September 18, 1925 in Provo, Utah, was an extraordinary human. The adopted daughter of Urban & Ada Overlade, Maxine grew up a very accomplished young woman. In high school she danced, sang, and won multiple state awards in typing and shorthand. (For those old enough to know what shorthand is!) She was among the first generation of women to graduate from BYU, where she took great pleasure in all things academic, especially English and Sociology. She went on to become the first female employee at Ironton, and then worked as a secretary for a high exec at Geneva Steel. Though she never cracked the 5’ threshold (even with perfect posture, which she retained into her 90’s, she only ever made it to 4’11.75”), she was a firecracker, and avidly fought for women’s rights in the 1960’s and beyond.
Maxine loved horses, and rode all over the Wasatch foothills. It was during a ride that she met her future husband, Junior Bounous, up Rock Canyon. They reconnected that winter when they both joined Ray Stewart’s Civilian Defense Ski Corps for Mountain Rescue. On their second date, Junior took Maxine up to Ray’s old cabin at Timp Haven to learn how to ski. She didn’t have her own ski boots so Junior let Maxine wear his, and he walked around the snow in socks as he taught her. That was the beginning of their lives together. Maxine and Junior became some of the first, and the best, American ski instructors. They were pioneers of the sport, teaching at Timp Haven/Sundance (where she created a fifth-grade learn-to-ski program for Utah County schools), Alta, Sugar Bowl, and Snowbird in the winter. She was recognized as an “Outstanding Woman in Skiing” by the University of Utah Marriott Library Ski Archives, and was honored at the North America Veteran Ski Instructors Reunion at Deer Valley.
Despite Maxine’s claim that they “never went anywhere”, she and Junior travelled the world together. They skied and heliskied in faraway places like New Zealand, Chile, Canada, and Switzerland, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, surfed in Hawai’i, Fiji and Tahiti, tramped all over Europe and parts of Asia, and she trekked around the Khumbu region of Nepal for a month. But her favorite landscapes were the soaring peaks and humble wildflowers of the Wasatch and the twisting red canyons of Southern Utah.
Known lovingly as “Fast Max” by her family and friends, Maxine was a force to be reckoned with in the mountains and the desert. During their 100+ trips to Lake Powell (7 in one summer was their record!), she loved exploring slot canyons, waterskiing on the glassiest of waters, and wakesurfing (in the 1960’s—half a century before it was cool). She continued skiing and hiking into her 90’s, when she finally slowed down enough for her grandchildren to keep up with her. Maxine was a beautiful skier to watch. She skied powder so deep it could have easily buried her, yet she floated through it with ease and pure joy. Powder skiing with her family and loved ones was her true passion.
Maxine and Junior, at the young ages of 94, celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary last December. She passed out of this world peacefully on June 23rd, surrounded by family as they sang her favorite songs, “Edelweiss” and “Annie’s Song” by John Denver. She leaves behind her husband, Junior, her sons, Barry and Steve Bounous, their wives, Debra and Suzanne, and her six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, all of whom she taught, by example, a deep love and respect for the natural world all around us.
She will be buried in the Provo Cemetery during a private ceremony on June 29th. There will be a Celebration of Life in her honor in the mountains, the place she loved most, at a future date. Condolences may be expressed at www.bergmortuary.com.