Myles Silverman (left) celebrates after breaking a Guinness World Record for greatest vertical distance snowboarded in 12 hours on Monday at Sugarloaf Mountain in western Maine. Credit: Contributed

Myles Silverman was sitting on a chairlift at Sugarloaf Mountain during early 2021, thinking about his snowboarding career and what one of his coaches suggested might be pivotal to continued growth in the sport.

More time training on the snow was the recommendation for the five-time collegiate national champion, and now the former Brunswick resident has a world record pending after following through on that idea in extreme fashion.

The 24-year-old Silverman, who this past winter competed in Europe on the World Cup snowboarding circuit, broke the Guinness World Record for greatest vertical distance snowboarded in 12 hours at Sugarloaf on Monday.

Silverman began his 12 consecutive hours on Sugarloaf’s Narrow Gauge trail and SuperQuad chairlift at 6:34 a.m., with the western Maine resort running its lift for 4 1/2 hours beyond its normal operating schedule to support Silverman’s bid.

Silverman completed 56 laps over 12 hours and totaled 95,088 vertical feet to smash the previous Guinness World Record of 62,355 vertical feet set in 2017 by Keith Hayes at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, Canada. Hayes made 40 runs over 9 hours and 48 minutes to establish his mark.

“Luckily with my snowboarding it’s a lot of just training runs so I’m used to going out and trying to take as many runs as possible,” he said.

Silverman’s achievement was one of both endurance and speed, with each lap averaging about 11 minutes between the 1,698 vertical feet covered on the snowboard and time spent on the chairlift returning to the starting line.

“I didn’t take one break,” he said. “How Guinness works is that with every hour you work you’re allowed to take a five-minute break, but I just wanted to keep going and see how many runs I could do.

“When I saw that [Hayes] only did 9 ½ hours, I thought if I could go the whole 12 hours then I’d be set. I respect what he did though, because it lit the fire inside me and gave me a new challenge to go after.”

Silverman’s effort was aided by six independent witnesses who documented the precise times of each lap, with two different witnesses for every four hours of the marathon effort.

He also got logistical support from Ethan Austin, the mountain’s marketing and communications director, as well as the Sugarloaf Ski Patrol and lift attendants.

The entire attempt also was captured on video, as Silverman’s new record will now need to be certified by Guinness World Records before becoming official.

“I think of it as more of a team effort,” said Silverman, whose older sister Maisie was Maine’s  2012 individual state girls tennis champion while also leading Brunswick High School to back-to-back Class A team titles in 2012 and 2013.

Myles Silverman (left) snowboards on the Narrow Gauge trail at Sugarloaf Mountain in western Maine on Monday en route to setting a Guinness World Record for greatest vertical distance snowboarded in 12 hours. Credit: Contributed

“I had a great team in my corner and there’s no way I could have done it without them.”

Silverman has been snowboarding at Sugarloaf since his middle-school days in Brunswick. He then went to high school in the snowboarding hotbed of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, before returning East to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.

He became a five-time collegiate snowboarding national champion and a four-time All-American before graduating in 2020, but long before that he also began gaining significant international experience.

Silverman joined the U.S. Snowboard Team in 2015 and ranked among the top three male snowboarders under age 20 at that year’s FIS Junior World Championship in Yabuli, China. In 2016, he competed at the Junior Worlds in Rogla, Slovenia, and in 2017 represented the United States at the World University Games in Kazakhstan and the junior worlds in Klinovec, Czech Republic.

In 2019, he advanced to the finals at the World University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, in both the parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom.

Silverman spent this past winter based in Austria, training and racing and getting his first full look at the World Cup circuit on which he hopes to be a regular competitor in the coming years.

“Usually I aim to get around 100 days on snow each year, but college kind of took that away because I was super busy and I’d only get 20 or 25 days on snow during that time. Now it’s more about making up time,” said Silverman, who got 87 days of training on snow during the recently completed season.

And whether it’s setting Guinness World Records or merely training and racing at Sugarloaf or other venues around the world, Silverman’s quest to get as much time in on snow these days ultimately is geared toward one specific longer-range goal.

“Right now it’s all about making the Winter Olympics in 2026,” he said.

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...