Junior Bounous has been with Snowbird since it first opened back in 1971. At almost 100 years old, he’s skied more lines this season than most of us could have dreamed of doing ourselves.
In Utah, they call him the Godfather of Skiing — and with good reason. Bounous picked up the sport long before most of our parents were even a twinkle in the eye.
In 1971, in his mid-40s, he helped build Snowbird from the ground up, became the resort’s first ski school director, and eventually graduated to director of skiing. In those roles, the guy’s doubtlessly left his mark on the Wasatch Range.
This season, he certainly left a few marks on its inbounds trails.
Snowbird opened for the 2021-2022 season on Dec. 1. Between opening day and April 25, Bounous had skied 96 out of 145 days. In doing so, he met the goal he’d set for himself this year: to ski one day for every year he’s been alive. Feel lazy yet? Yeah, same here.
In his near-countless seasons, the nonagenarian has ascended to legendary heights. Olympic trials, the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame, gelande championships, national titles, films, magazine covers — the list of his accomplishments is not to be trifled with. In 2002 Bounous carried the Olympic torch. In 2021, he set the Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest heliskier.
More impressive still, he’s never torn a ligament or broken a bone. Fitness, for him, is a matter of staying active year-round. His warmer-weather efforts typically consist of yardwork and high-altitude hikes around Utah.
To those that know him, Junior Bounous is much more than a model skier. “Colleagues talk about non-skiing lessons from Junior: how to treat people, be a good friend, and experience every aspect of the mountain,” Snowbird’s Dawn Cardinale reported. He and his recently departed wife of 70 years “enjoyed the mountain at a very intentional pace,” she wrote.
For a deeper dive into the man, the myth, the legend that is Junior Bounous, check out Cardinale’s article, “The Wisdom and Wonder of Junior Bounous” — live now on the Snowbird blog.