By Katy Savage
BRIDGEWATER—Scott Howard has skied more than 6 million vertical feet so far, this season alone.
On a good day, he can get 60 runs on Killington every day.
Howard has skied more (unofficially) than anyone else in the world. Howard is trying to make it official by being named in the Guinness Book of World Records for most vertical feet skied in one year.
“It’s a seven-day commitment, 8-9 hours a day,” Howard, 65, of Bridgewater said.
Howard keeps track of his vertical feet with his iPhone app called Trace.
Trace tracks and automatically detects a person’s lifts and trails. It also lets users see total airtime, max jump height and vertical distance. Trace reports over half a million users skied 22.5 billion vertical feet this past year.
Howard wants to ski 6.4 million vertical feet before the official end of the season—May 31.
It hasn’t been easy, he admits. He has learned to be efficient.
He leaves his house an hour before the mountain opens every morning. He saves time once he gets there by putting on his ski boots in the parking lot and heading straight to the lift.
“It wastes time when you go to the lodge,” he said.
Howard brings a backpack with food and liquids. He takes one quick hot chocolate break and one 15-to-20-minute lunch break. Other than that, he’s on the mountain all day.
“The guy is insane,” said friend and regular Killington skier Cathy Soderquist.
Howard has occasionally bribed the chair-lift attendants with a sandwich to stay open an extra 10 minutes to get a few extra vertical miles. He buys five sandwiches –three for the lift attendants at the bottom of the mountain and two for the attendants at the top.
“You get to know them a little bit,” he said. “Do you know how much it changes them? If you’re going to do maximum runs in one day, you have to have the liftees on your side.”
Howard skis in rain, sleet and snow. He’s out there on blue-bird days and when it’s minus 20 degrees.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s a bit addicting,” though he admitted it’s “intense.”
“It takes a toll. I’m probably not going do it but not to this extent,” he said.
Howard retired for his sales job about two years ago.
Larry Straus, another regular at Killington, who often skis with Howard, is No. 17 in the world on the Trace app for skiing 2.8 million vertical feet so far this year, most of it at Killington.
“Quite small numbers compared to Scott,” said Strauss, a friend of Howard’s.
“He’s put in some very hard days,” Straus said of Howard’s achievements.
Straus, 66, of Rochester, drives 35 minutes to the mountain every day. He skied 153 days at Killington so far this year.
Now that the season is winding down, Howard has started to play golf and ski in the same day. He plays 18 holes of golf in the morning, goes for a run in the afternoon, and then does 18 runs on the slope.
Howard has also skied at Stowe and has made his way to resorts in the West, but Killington is an ideal place to log vertical feet. The mountain has more than 3,000 vertical feet—the most in the East.
Howard is hoping the mountain stays open until early June.
“If you know how to ski, you know the accomplishment he’s doing,” said Dick Solderquist, “In can be 10 or 20 below zero and he’s out there pounding the vertical.”