Anyone who knows Bruce McEwen knows he likes to ski. For 16 years he was a professional ski patroller at a number of ski resorts from California to Colorado.
Since he was 50 years old, his ongoing ski adventure, skiing in all 50 states, has taken him nearly 15 years to complete.
He is now in the Guinness Book of World Records and waiting for the certificates to arrive in the mail.
McEwen said he had skied in about 19 states and after so many, he had the notion that he might try for all of them.
He said earlier in his life he would like to have been in the Olympics but that wasn’t possible.
“I would have loved to have qualified in moguls, but it wasn’t added in the Olympics until 1984,” McEwen said.
He figured getting a world’s record from Guinness might be an alternative.
“I wondered if anyone has ever done this in all 50 states,” McEwen said.
He checked with Guinness world records and found that no one had skied in all 50 states, on natural snow, something that isn’t that easy when it comes to places like Florida.
McEwen took the challenge. The goal he set for himself was every state, on natural snow and he would have to make 30 turns to make it a legitimate skiing experience.
“I’ve been serious about this for that past 10 years,” McEwen said.
His last state to ski was Hawaii, around three weeks ago. However, the hardest one was Florida. It has measurable snow about every three or four years.
“I watched and watched the weather reports,” McEwen said. “The highest spot in Florida is about 300 feet above sea level.”
McEwen said he found a park and a gravel pit. It started to snow at about 11 p.m.
“I had the hotel manager write a letter to verify it was snowing.” McEwen said. “I did it, I skied down the small hill.”
For his last ski he chose Mauna Kea, the 14,000 foot high resort. It wasn’t easy. It took three days to get up to the top.
“You can drive to the top,” McEwen said. “My wife and I flew in and met a friend. There is plenty of snow there right now, but they wouldn’t let us go up.”
“I didn’t want a confrontation so I turned back,” McEwen said. “The road was blocked at the visitor’s center and the winds were blowing at about 80 mph.”
McEwen went back the next day, and again was turned away. He found out that people were allowed to hike up the mountain from the visitor’s center to the peak. So he started out on foot.
It would have been 8.1 miles up and the same coming down. It was still snowing and windy and he turned back.
On the third day, he was able to ski it.
McEwen has story upon story about ski adventures and people he has met.
From the ice and snow blizzard in West Virginia to skiing in Stowe, Vermont and staying at the famous Von Trapp Lodge, McEwen said the best part has been the people.
“Ninety percent of what I did was because I enjoyed meeting the people,” McEwen said.
He remembers skiing in the Midwest. “I flew into Iowa on a business trip. I visited a small ski area called the Crescent Resort. I thought I might ski Iowa while I was there.”
When he got there, the resort was closed, even though there was enough snow on the ground. There was one white truck outside the resort and it belonged to the owner.
“I told him what I was trying to do and he grabbed me some rental skies and poles,” McEwen said.
Over the next day, on loaned skis, McEwen hit the slopes in Iowa. He found out just a few hours’ drive away he could cross “Mormon Bridge” and ski in Nebraska, then go down another road and ski in Kansas.”
In Kansas he found his snow back on the sloped hill of an irrigation ditch. It was tough, but he got his 30 turns.
While he loves skiing just about anywhere, McEwen sounded like a chamber of commerce advertisement, he just could not stop talking about the wonderful snow in Utah.
Although it sounds like McEwen graduated from the College of Skiing, he actually got his bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement in 1979 from Brigham Young University.
Right now, when he is not skiing, he is a sales representative for the Great American Snack Company selling jalapeno peppers, onion rings and mozzarella sticks to restaurants and other eating establishments.
As for skiing, now that he’s in the record books, he is not sure what he’ll do next. He said he has already skied in every month of the year, so it will have be something extraordinary.
He might consider participating in the Senior Winter Olympics and finally get his gold in the moguls.