The inscription on the back of the T-shirt, worn by one of the World Record Attemptees, pretty much said it all.
"How's Your 'tude, Dude?"Good question, since both attitude and altitude, in no particular order, were on the line Thursday at Snowbird, where a new world record was under construction.
The idea was to see how many people could ski the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest, all in the same day, and then add up their combined vertical feet to create an entirely new category for the Guinness Book of World Records, i. e. "Most People Skiing 10 Trams Or One Mt. Everest In One Day at Snowbird."
As you might suspect, it wasn't terribly difficult to come up with participants. This wasn't like asking somebody to go after the world situp record (65,000), or the world handstand pushup record (2,750), or even the world leap frogging record (602 miles in 114 hours by the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at the University of Seattle).
This was asking for 10 trams on a shirtsleeve day in April, with a free burger for lunch when you could fit it in.
Ten Snowbird trams adds up to about 29,000 vertical feet, which is no slouch distance when considered in relation to the world's tallest peak, the venerable Everest, which is 29,028 feet.
So, if you ski 10 trams and then, for good measure, throw in a quick up-and-down on the Peruvian Lift you have - voila! - skied the equivalent of the top of Mount Everest to the bottom.
If you're thinking that this might have all been a bit far-fetched for the Guinness people, it wasn't. The idea came from none other than Norris McWhirter, the founder of the Guinness book. McWhirter became acquianted a year ago with Dick Bass, the founder of Snowbird, and when Bass was musing about some kind of a world record feat (feet?) he could attempt at his resort, McWhirter came up with the idea that unfolded Thursday.
McWhirter knew that Bass was the oldest man to climb Mt. Everest - he was 55 four years ago, when he scaled the peak; and he also knew that Yuichiro Miura of Japan, a close friend of Bass' and a mountaineering kindred spirit, was the Man Who Skied Mount Everest - he made that famous run 19 years ago, when he was 40.
Hence, the Everest angle.
Both Bass, who is now 59, and Miura were on hand Thursday for their latest plunge at fortune and glory. The atmosphere was slightly different than their original assaults at Everest. For one thing, they had 112 people along for the ride. For another, there were no Sherpas carrying gear and oxygen. For another, there are no aerial trams on Everest.
Miura brought along a Japanese ski touring group with him, as well as a television crew. As The Man Who Skied the Ultimate Black Diamond, he remains something of a living legend in his homeland. Film at 11 - in Tokyo.
Miura was asked if skiing Everest via the Snowbird tram hearkened back, you know, memories of that 1970 descent.
"This is I think different," he said.
But he said he was happy to be here.
So did Bass, whose beleaguered Snowbird finances have taken a reported turn for the better of late.
Bass said he still thinks of Everest, often. He said thoughts of making it past the Hillary Step helped him sleep the past four years, when mounting debts because of his Cliff Lodge venture might have pushed a non-Everest-ite over the edge.
He said Thursday's event had similarities to his Everest climb.
"My thighs burned both times," he said.
But he smiled as he said it. Hey, this dude had the right 'tude. Nobody else in the world owns a ski resort that saw 114 skiers chalk up 3,374,400 official vertical feet in one day to set an alltime world's mark. And the best part about this record is, if some other resort now accepts the challenge and sets yet a higher record - say, 115 Everests in a day - so much the better. Next April Bass, Miura and friends will just have to do it again.