On January 19, 2022

Chasing vertical: Part 2

Catching up with Leaderboard Larry

By Brooke Geery

Larry L. is still in the lead. If you open the Killington app and toggle over to Season then tap Vertical Feet, you’ll find him sitting comfortably at No. 1. He’s logged well over 1.5 million feet of vertical as of Jan. 17, taking nearly 1,400 left rides (he’ll probably hit that mark before this article hits the presses) and besting his nearest competitor (Teddy C.) by over 300,000 vertical.

Courtesy Larry Levack

What would lead a man to ski day in and day out, most days from open to close, often stashing his lunch in the woods so he doesn’t have to take a break? The short answer is: he’s addicted. But Larry Levack is also skiing in the memory of a local Killington legend, Scott Howard, who passed away at age 67 in June 2020. His effort and dominance is dedicated to Howard, he said.

In December, Killington Resort recognized Levack for his dominance with a GoPro and other goodies.

“[I] took on the December (vertical) leaderboard challenge to honor the memory of my good friend and skiing pal extraordinaire, Scott Howard,” he said. “Killington was Scott’s homebase and he was king of the mountain in regard to chasing vertical — logging 6,638,000 feet during his best season!”

Levack, whose permanent residence is Wallingford, Connecticut, currently calls Rutland his home base. Depending on the day, he drives his SUV or hops on The Bus (such as this past Monday, which Levack reported was “the best day of the season at The Beast” but the roads were dicey, and he preferred to let someone else drive.)

After topping the December stats, Levack had planned to relax for the season, maybe head back to Connecticut and finally put away his patio furniture. He said he left it out assuming he’d be back sooner. But at 69 years old, he said he’s never felt better, and doesn’t want to stop.

“My knees don’t hurt, and until they do, I don’t think I’ll go home,” Levack said on the lift nearing the top of the Skye Peak quad. “I keep meaning to, but it’s just too great here.”

Levack spent his working life in HVAC, retiring early to chase the snow. He’s used his handyman skills (as well as his winning personality and love of dogs) to score free rent in Vermont, for years in Ludlow, and now Rutland. You may recognize him on the hill by his impressively tall stature and piercing blue eyes. Most days, he wears a blue Jack Wolfskin jacket — except of course, the one time a season when he chooses to ski in swim trunks. That will come later, when the weather is right.

Over his lengthy lifetime skiing adventure, Levack has traveled the world, and has so many stories to tell that even the number of lift rides required to top a 35,000 foot vertical day couldn’t cover them all. Levack notably pulled off that impressive number (35,864 to be exact) on Dec. 4, 2021, thanks to a little motivation from other vertical chasers, whom he refers to as the Green Mountain boys: TnT T. and Andy R.

Many days, he recounts his tales in email form to his friends, including conditions reports, fashion reviews, and other things that only a man with no boss should say. This season though, he’s taken a step back from writing so that he can focus his energy on the slopes, only checking in when a day is particularly exciting.

Of course, Levack is the kind of guy who can find amusement and excitement in everything. He’s a fan of tracking down other Killington vertical chasers and harassing them with a little good-natured ribbing.

“The best part of kicking Teddy’s ass is that I’m twice his age!” Levack laughed.

Now that the season is in full swing, Larry L. and Teddy C. don’t see each other quite as often. Teddy prefers to stay in the park, while Levack skis all over, often opting for the rapid vertical accumulation that is possible on the Needle’s Eye and Superstar quads. You really never know where you might catch up with him, but you can be pretty sure he’s somewhere on the slopes of The Beast on any given day.

Unless, of course, there’s a friend in need or a delicious dinner being cooked. Then he’ll graciously put down his poles early and let someone else top the stats for the day.

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