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03-17-2005, 02:47 PM
Illness Ends Skier's 24-Year Streak

Associated Press Writer
March 17, 2005, 9:40 AM EST

PORTLAND, Maine -- An 82-year-old Maine skier who obsessively hit the slopes every day of the season for more than 24 years has called it quits.

Paul Schipper started in 1980 and ended this season after 3,903 days. He stopped because of a bout with the flu.

"I'm just as happy," said Schipper, who lives a half-mile from at Sugarloaf USA, his beloved ski mountain in Carrabassett Valley about 120 miles north of Portland. "It was getting to be a drag."

Schipper's exploits are the stuff of legend at Sugarloaf USA, where the cockamamie idea of skiing every day was hatched while he and some friends were relaxing in the ski lodge. Schipper and others vowed to try to do it.

A year later, Schipper was the only one to achieve the goal, having skied all 174 days in the 1980-81 season.

From there, it became the retired airline pilot's obsession. Over the years, he skied through blizzards, sickness and pain.

In 1987, he traveled to the top of the mountain in a ski-grooming machine at midnight so he could ski down before driving 7 1/2 hours to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for his son's graduation. He was back on the slopes the next day.

In 1993, he delayed the removal of a cancerous kidney to keep the streak alive. In 1995, he underwent bypass heart surgery in the offseason. Both times, he was back on the slopes when the snow began falling.

In 1997, a collision with a snowboarder nearly sidelined him, but a doctor created a special cast for his broken thumb.

Entering the new millennium, Schipper's eyesight became the biggest obstacle to maintaining the streak. He suffers from macular degeneration and glaucoma, and his depth perception suffered despite prescription ski goggles.

Nonetheless, he talked about shooting for 4,000 days, which would've happened next month. But some privately worried about him.

"I got the feeling that he was a prisoner to it," said Adam Socol of Fairfield, Conn., Schipper's longtime friend and skiing buddy.

It all came to an abrupt end when Schipper came down with a serious bout of the flu. He circled Jan. 4 on his calendar. It was the end of an era.

These days, Schipper still skis but only when he wants to.

"I ski like a human being now," he joked. "I don't have to go."

It comes as no surprise that the former F-86 fighter pilot is described as goal-oriented, tough, and perhaps a bit stubborn. Friends call him "Iron Man."

Once, Schipper vowed to catch 500 fish during the summer. He'd mark how many brook trout he caught each day on the calendar, said his son, Jeff Schipper.

"He sets a goal and he's driven to meet it," his son said. "He's like that no matter what -- whether it's fishing or skiing, or when he was flying."

Sugarloaf is planning a celebration in honor of Schipper, and officials plan to submit paperwork to the publisher of "Guinness World Records" for longest-running skiing streak, said Bill Swain, the resort's spokesman.

east tx skier
03-17-2005, 02:50 PM
Wow! That's some serious lift ticket expenditure (and a lot of skiing).

03-17-2005, 02:53 PM
Milk; This is a great article.

In Nevada City CA, where my office is there are 4 guys ages 74-80 that ski every week all winter long and have since like 1955. Really cool to see someone live like this.

03-17-2005, 02:54 PM
Milk; This is a great article.

In Nevada City CA, where my office is there are 4 guys ages 74-80 that ski every week all winter long and have since like 1955. Really cool to see someone live like this.

that sounds so cool!:headbang:

03-17-2005, 04:25 PM
I sure would like to catch a streak like that with water skiing:headbang:

03-17-2005, 04:43 PM
[QUOTE=milkmania][b]Illness Ends Skier's 24-Year Streak

At first I thought this might have been about ET Skier and this board...

east tx skier
03-17-2005, 05:22 PM
They'll have to pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands

/knocks wood

03-17-2005, 05:51 PM
i wish i could ride as long as him, i'll have to be content with the weekends of snowboarding in the winter, and wakeboarding in the summer.