12 years, 7 continents, 1 pair of skis

Utah Olympic ParkThe following is an excerpt from an article originally posted at ParkRecord.com:

“Utah really does have the greatest snow on Earth.” Take it from someone who knows: Jeff Brueningsen, who recently completed his quest to ski all seven continents, attests that the state’s tourism slogan is true.

His feat might not sound extraordinary for the jet-setting crowd that calls Park City one of their homes, but Brueningsen achieved his goal within reasonable means and a modest salary. The 55-year-old Parkite works as an airport shuttle driver for All Resort Express and says he simply knows how to make the most of a dollar.  “I’m a regular guy,” he says. “I still pinch myself. I’ve been lucky, stubborn and persistent.”

An adventuresome nature was instilled in Brueningsen at an early age. As a kid, he says his heroes were explorers and adventure-seekers like the Wright Brothers. He started skiing around age 15 in Pennsylvania and says he fell in love with the sport immediately. “It was the least expensive way to go fast,” he says.

His first career as a hot-air balloon pilot fostered his love for exploration. After moving to Park City in 1997, he operated balloons for three years before working a stint at the Utah Olympic Park, where he seized the opportunity to stand in as a brakeman for aspiring two-man bobsled teams.

He first formulated an idea about skiing the seven continents after reading about Dick Bass’ expedition to climb the highest peak on each continent. At first, he thought there was no way he could afford such a lofty goal.

But the idea stuck with him, and during the year he moved to Park City, he came across a package trip to Antarctica in an REI Adventures travel catalog. The two-week trip cost $1,199 including airfare. Brueningsen knew he’d never find a better deal or a better time to go.

Despite not being able to confirm whether he’d be able to ski, he carted his gear along and brought it aboard a ship to Danco Island, explaining his quest to the captain and crew. They allowed him to hike up a glacier and carve his way down. “It was the best travel bargain I ever got,” he says.

After completing his first intercontinental trip, Brueningsen was inspired. He vowed to ski on all seven continents within the constraints of his budget what he describes as a “peanut butter and jelly” version of Bass’ adventures.

Click here to read the entire article.

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