Pioneering ski instructor

Passing Date: 
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Maxine Bounous, a pioneering ski instructor, died June 23. She was 94.

Born in 1925 in Provo, Utah, Bounous made a career of being first. She was among the first women to graduate from Brigham Young University; she was the first female employee at Ironton Steel Corporation; and she became one of the first Level 3 certified female ski instructors in the United States. Known as “Fast Max,” Bounous was a lifelong advocate for women’s rights.

While a student at BYU in the late 1940s, Bounous joined the Timpanogos Mountain Ski Club. She met Junior Bounous at a club function, where he offered to give her ski lessons at Timp Haven, Utah, now known as Sundance Resort. They married in 1952, and soon became one of the elite ski-instruction couples of their generation, and traveled the world together skiing and teaching.

Beyond teaching, Bounous recognized the importance of getting children on skis early to help grow the sport. At Timp Haven, she launched a pilot fifth-grade learn-to-ski program, which served as an early model for Ski Utah’s pioneering student passport program.

She won national recognition as a barrier-breaking female instructor, and was honored as an “Outstanding Woman in Skiing” by the University of Utah. She continued skiing and hiking into her nineties. She is survived by Junior, and her two sons.

“We’re standing on her shoulders,” Maggie Loring, the first female ski school director at Snowbird, Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune. “She started paving the way for the rest of us.”

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