SILVERTHORNE, Colo. (KDVR) — It began before Tom Szwedko moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado.
“I started the streak, when there was a big snowstorm when I was living in Harrisburg”, said Tom Szwedko, a retired computer programmer.
He has skied at least one day in every month since. The Leadville legend owns a streak that stretches over 42 years and spans five decades.
“Well, it’s been a number of years” Szwedko laughed. “I know back in May it was the 500th month in a row.”
Tom hasn’t missed a month since October 1979. Not even a bout with prostate cancer could slow him down.
“You can’t quit. I ended up with seven and a half weeks of radiation (treatment) five days a week. And (my doctor) said I should get chemotherapy (as well). So I got several rounds of chemotherapy,” Szwedko said. “But that didn’t stop me.”
He’s also beaten the summertime heat in the high country of Colorado, which involves scrambling in search of snow.
“I can still find places. You’ve got to hike up to gullies, snow fields and cornices,” Szwedko said.
Szwedko, who turns 75 in March, admits his passion for skiing is equal parts commitment and crazy.
“Yeah, it’s probably a combination of both. Yeah, you know, it’s hard to do,” Szwedko said.
But this septuagenarian makes backcountry skiing look easy.