Feb. 20—LEADVILLE — The little dwelling from the 1870s is cluttered, piles throughout of mail, magazines, newspapers, cat stuff, exterior stuff and tattered notebooks defending a powerful doc. The piles of damaged skis in each fully totally different nook converse to that doc. It’s a marvel how Tom Szwedko, 75, navigates the piles of every half else en path to his twin-sized mattress in a single totally different nook. The piles are as rather a lot as a result of the TV, which is in any case tuned to the Native climate Channel. Excellent news: further snow. Its all about skiing Nothing can maintain Colorado Tomski from beautiful doc.
Buddies kind of fear regarding the mess and kind of don’t. Nola Chavez shrugs. “What can we’re saying? That’s how he lives.”
That’s Tomski, as folks have acknowledged the native legend in North America’s highest built-in metropolis. Leadville, he determined methodology once more, was the place for him and his snowboarding obsession. Conveniently from his dwelling above 10,000 ft, Szwedko appears in each path at a variety of of Colorado’s highest mountains.
These notebooks maintain route descriptions and snow experiences from snowboarding each month of the yr for 43 years. And certainly not merely as rapidly as a month, however nearer to each single day. One totally different good pal, Silas Wild, has acknowledged Szwedko to say near 330 days a yr of snowboarding.
Wild lives close to Seattle; Szwedko has visited him generally to catch year-round snow excessive on Mount Rainier. Szwedko has furthermore been acknowledged to journey to South America’s winter all by means of North America’s summer time season.
“He even figures out methods to fly into San Diego, as an illustration, and go snowboarding that day so he doesn’t miss a day,” says Wild, who at one time was making an attempt for the same streak. He stopped, “due to the problem was controlling my life.”
On account of it does Tomski’s, the good pal says.
“There are individuals who assume they’re fanatic skiers,” Wild says, “however they haven’t met Tom Szwedko.”
It has been a streak solely doable for information as meticulous as these notes penned by this retired engineer, analytical as ever — data of utmost, hidden pockets above Leadville that keep snow, even when it’s solely a bit, for him to plop his skis year-round.
Snow has been additional sturdy to return by, Szwedko says. “Yearly it’s getting additional sturdy and additional sturdy.”
And yearly, he pushes on. As to why, he gives little aside from “it’s gratifying.”
Buddies do quite a few the speaking for him. If it weren’t for them, there wouldn’t have been a celebration in Might of 2021 for his 5 hundredth straight month of snowboarding.
“It isn’t that he doesn’t focus on it,” says Sharon Siler, an excellent pal of 20-plus years. “However, I counsel, I’m a salesman, that was my occupation, so I are liable to blab an excessive amount of. However Tom doesn’t promote. He doesn’t deal with. He merely does it.”
He was totally fully totally different from one other specific individual she had ever met when she encountered him cross-country snowboarding in the end. Completely fully totally different as most individuals uncover him. He’s liable to be out in what he calls his “desert hat” with the flaps, dirt-stained shells prime and backside, sun-protective movie behind his glasses and mismatching gloves.
He’s liable to be out alongside collectively together with his cats, if Cinder Bigfoot and BBW (Huge, Black and White) are up for it. If there’s one factor Szwedko loves higher than snowboarding, it’s his cats.
“He’s … quirky,” Chavez says, after pondering some about why he by no means married or began a household.
How may he have? asks Wild. Perhaps in a single totally different life, Tomski would have a clear dwelling. Perhaps he would eat further than merely quick meals as Wild has frequently acknowledged him to eat. (That explains, most likely, why he appeared to Wild like Santa Claus at one diploma; the beard stays to be there, however now some fear Szwedko appears too skinny.)
“The individual is so devoted to snowboarding that he pays little or no consideration to the small print that the majority folks pay to widespread life,” Wild says. “So he isn’t a homemaker. His consuming is as easy and helpful as doable. I counsel, it’s all about snowboarding.”