Every year, as ski season draws to a close, I don’t want it to end. When I’m in the skiing groove, I want to ski all year. I don’t want the weather to warm nor do I want the sun to shine — too much. I tell people I want to ski year-round. But, inevitably spring arrives, followed by summer and we hang up our skis. The days grow long, the sun burns hot and the snow melts….at least most summers.
This summer, it would have been easier to be a “year-round skier.” Arapahoe Basin and Snowbird, both resorts within a few hours drive of my house, were open through the 4th of July, and you know what? I didn’t go.
So, while I may not (yet) ski year-round, here are a few folks who don’t hang up their skis, who don’t succumb to the temptation to wear flip-flops and lie on the beach. These are the truly dedicated. Maybe you are like them, too. If so, send me your year-round skiing stories. I’d love to share them.
2,881 Days in a Row…and Counting
You’ve probably heard of Rainer Hertrich. You may have read articles about him. Maybe you’ve even skied with him. Rainer skis somewhere everyday. He’s not hard to find. Just follow the snow: Copper Mountain, Colorado; Timberline, Oregon; Chile; and various points in between.
If the lifts aren’t running, Rainer skins up. If he’s in transit, he finds the nearest snow and makes his turns.
On September 1, 2011, when I caught up with him, he had just completed 94 months of daily tele turns and 93,000,000 (that’s million) vertical feet. His personal goal is to ski 1 million vert per month, or 33,000 vertical feet per day. He pointed out that he’s currently behind his goal because 2011 was a tough year with “a skinny fall, a powdery winter that lasted into summer and a weird ice layer at Timberline caused by 9 inches of rain in January.”
Tough conditions or not, he’s not stopping. And guess what? This year-round skier also has a job: Grooming at Copper Mountain, Colorado during the winter and Timberline, Oregon during the summer. In the off-season, he simply skis.
The Vertical Feat
In 2008, while skiing at Whistler with friends, Steph Jagger had a crazy idea. What if she quit her job and spent a year skiing around the world? She reports that her friends laughed at her. But as she got off the chairlift, she saw a sign. It said “Raise Restraining Device.”
In 2010, she shed her restraints, packed her skis and hit the road. On May 6, 2011, she ended her travels after logging 4,161,823 vertical feet in one season. That’s the same as skiing down Mount Everest, from summit to base, 142 times.
With her journey behind her, Steph is back at work as a management consultant for small business and writing a book about her round-the-world adventure. Her plans for 2012 included “spending some time in Whistler to get my nieces ripping black diamonds, chasing my boyfriend in Alta and hopefully having a week with my dad in Jackson Hole.”
Since finishing The Vertical Feat I have experienced more change than I ever thought possible. I changed “jobs” (if you can call The Vertical Feat a job), changed countries, apartments, social life, relationship status, seasons, (and) physical activity (my adrenal glands were beyond drained when I finished up). With any change and transition comes restraining devices but the biggest one right now is changing and adapting to a slower, less goal focused life. The being versus doing.
I did a lot last year, now…it’s time to slow down, reflect, heal my body, (and) soak up the sun. That’s a hard thing to do for a girl who loves plans, goals, action, etc. I reaped my own harvest, now I have to raise my restraining device and “rest the field” so I can plant again next spring.
In 1992, Ron Cram started his streak. It began with two simple questions. “How many WEEKS in a row could a person ski without stopping? How many continuous MONTHS would it be possible to ski if one made a commitment to ski non-stop, no matter what; even in May, June, July, August, September and October?”
His answer: a lot. With an unbroken monthly streak dating back to 1992, Ron is in the midst of his 19th year. His weekly streak ended at 91 straight weeks of alpine skiing. Although he’s been too busy skiing to update his website much, he writes on it that from September ’05 to February ’11 he enjoyed “Some of the best powder years ever and phenomenal powder trips to Chile and Argentina.”
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