Like father, like Son: a passing of the torch
During the Budweiser Lord of the Boards event held at Sugar Bowl this weekend, a father, once the fastest man on skis, relinquished his title of fastest man in the family.
In the first men’s heat of the Skiercross competition on Saturday, Tyler Buschmann, 18, and his father Paul Buschmann, 44, lined up – along with Bill Hudson – at the starting gate. It was the first time the two had ever raced and perhaps the last time Paul would enter a competition.
“I watched him at the Paul Mitchell qualifier,” Paul said, “and it was the first time I’d seen him race Skiercross. I heard about the Sugar Bowl thing and I thought it would be fun. It was great. I haven’t gotten that pumped up in a long time.”
The three racers barreled out of the gate neck and neck, but with the first turn, Paul was left behind. He was eliminated in the first round.
It was a symbolic passing of the torch.
Paul, by his own account, has had his time.
“I’m living life to the fullest,” Paul said. “There is a lot of love and joy in my life. I feel totally blessed.”
“I lived those years of traveling around and speed skiing from 1976 through 1984,” He continued, “and I enjoyed that time in my life. I enjoyed having experiences like that. I look back on it now and there were things that I didn’t appreciate as they were happening but I appreciate now. I can actually learn from things I did 20 years ago.”
Paul traveled all over the world (to Europe so many times that he’s lost count) and has skied some of the steepest terrain on the planet. He’s been featured several times in international magazines and even had a write up and large photo (along with Steve McKinney and Tom Simons, two close friends) in the Aug. 30, 1976 edition of Sports Illustrated.
In April of 1983, Paul competed in the Camel World Speed Skiing Championships held in Silverton, Colo. and broke the world record for speed skiing when he was clocked going nearly 127 mph.
“I heard [the speed] over the loudspeaker and I was exhilarated,” Buschmann said. “I just finished the fastest run of my life and I was jacked up. To hear that it was a world record put it all together.”
As fleeting as his passing image in the small mining town was the record it incurred. Moments later, during the same competition, Austrian Franz Weber, now living and working at Squaw Valley, eclipsed Buschmann’s speed by more than two miles per hour.
The records stood for more than two years, according to Paul.
The race, Buschmann said, was his single favorite moment. After deliberation, he added “other than getting married and having five children … five boys. That’s a moment, a long moment.”
Paul has slowed down. He, now, lives in a three-story passive solar home he designed and built himself in 1992 on the edge of Tahoe Donner overlooking Donner Lake. His wife of 19 years, Gena, and he are raising five boys; Tyler, Danny, 16, Stevie, 13, Pauly, 4, and Carl, 3.
“He’s like looking in the mirror,” Paul said of Tyler. “In addition to looking just like me, he’s very independent. If he puts his mind to anything, he can accomplish it. It’s a matter of finding the right thing.”
Tyler turned 18 in December last year. Like his mother and father, he took extra classes and graduated early from Tahoe-Truckee High School. He has been working the last year to save up for a trip to Europe- his first trip out of the United States – to compete in two events; The Mad Masters, the European equivalent to the X-games held in Vars, France and the Cham Jam held in Chamonix. He will leave on Feb. 7 for the competitions and will be gone for two months.
While there, he’d “like to go 200 kph,” edging ever closer to his father’s personal best of 204.082.
“I’m just kind of checking out the world,” Tyler said. “Traveling is a part of my long term plan.”
Consistent with his interest in speed, he also maintains a summer hobby of longboarding. According to himself and his father, he averages about 30 miles per hour while darting down Northwoods Blvd. on the specially designed skateboard.
“It’s what he does that makes me the most concerned,” Paul said.
With the passing of the torch also has come Tyler’s rite of passage.
“I’m really proud of him at this stage of his life,” Paul said. “He’s got an open mind and is testing the waters. Now that he is 18, he’s really become a friend. I love him, I care for him but I’m no longer responsible for him. Parents have to realize that they have to give kids their blessings and let ’em go.
“I can’t wait to talk to him after he’s skied on some big mountains,” Paul concluded.
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