Man makes Guinness World Records history with rail grind at Beaver Creek

Tricia Swenson
Vail Daily
Dave Schaut and daughters Erin and Sophia are pictured at Beaver Creek.
Dave Schaut/Courtesy photo

Dave Schaut was just doing what he loved, riding rails at Beaver Creek’s terrain park, when someone presented him with a challenge: be the oldest man in the Guinness World Records to grind a rail.  

Schaut, of Avon, is 65 years old.

“A terrain park crew member at Beaver Creek was the person who suggested it. If you’re in the park a lot, they get to know you, and he had seen me hiking the rails all winter and at the end of the season suggested that I go for the record,” Schaut said.

Schaut wasn’t out to break a record. The category didn’t exist.

“No one had the record before me. I was the first in the category, so Guinness World Records created the category for me,” Schaut said.

Schaut said that working with Guinness World Records was a lengthy process.

“Everything is done through messaging on the Guinness World Records website. They take quite a while to respond to messages. When they create a new record category, they create what are called guidelines for the record. Then, you have to satisfy each guideline,” Schaut said.

Next to the guideline, there is a tab to upload evidence for that particular guideline, whether it be video, photos, witness statements, links or anything else.

“Once you have uploaded evidence to satisfy each guideline, you hit the ‘Submit’ tab and then wait. After they created the title for the category, it took them over four months to create the guidelines and send them to me,” Schaut said. “After I completed the record at the end of January, it took them another five months to review my evidence and approve the record.”

Dave Schaut, center, holding skis, is surrounded by supporters and witnesses who watched him achieve his goal of becoming the oldest male to grind a ski rail in the Guinness World Records.
Dave Schaut/courtesy photo

At first, Schaut thought it would be something novel to do and wouldn’t take that much effort. Schaut has been skiing for nearly 55 years and started freestyle skiing about 16 years ago, and started hitting the rails more consistently about five or six years ago. Born in the United Kingdom, Schaut lived in Seattle before coming to Eagle County 13 years ago.

Schaut soon realized this feat would be harder than he had imagined.

“The minimum rail length required was 5 meters, or 16.4 feet long — longer than I was used to. Also, the rail couldn’t be wider than 12 inches. At first, it was hard to find a suitable rail, until Beaver Creek put up a 25-footer, or a rail 7.5 meters in their park. I decided to use that rail to satisfy the record, even though it was 8 feet longer than necessary,” Schaut said.  

Schaut practiced for about two months.

“Guinness required me to grind a rail longer than I was used to and I wanted to be successful on the first attempt, so I think I hit the rail about 700 times before going for the record,” Schaut said.

Schaut hopes this record inspires older people to keep moving. He also wants it to motivate anyone of any age to try new things and to work at getting better.

“My daughter, Sophia, is 9 years old and hits the park mostly to make dad happy. She does boxes but hasn’t been on any rails yet. I think she’s going to do more now that she knows she can do it without getting hurt,” Schaut said.

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