Want to attempt to set the world report for many consecutive days ever skied? It may cost a little you an ankle or two, in addition to a hip.
That’s the sacrifice made by Rainer Hertrich, a longtime snow groomer for Colorado’s Copper Mountain, who skied a whopping 2,993 straight days in a row—and is now paying the worth in appendages.
“The injuries just came from skiing too much,” says Hertrich, 59. “I wore out the cartilage in my ankle and got Charcot foot. The bones were grinding together so I had to get it amputated.”
As detailed in his e book The Longest Run: How a Colorado ski bum skied on daily basis for greater than eight years (thelongestrunbook.com), co-authored by MJ contributor Devon O’Neil, Hertrich skied on daily basis for eight years, two months and 10 days. He was compelled to finish his world-record streak on Feb. 12, 2012, at his physician’s request, after he was identified with cardiac arrhythmia.
Still, he took one final run even that day, bringing his tally simply seven days wanting 3,000—each single day since his quirky quest started on Nov. 1, 2003, when the Marlins gained the World Series.
Hertrich started his streak after witnessing the hoopla created by some Jackson Hole skiers who notched 6 million vertical ft in a season. After he handed 7 million vertical in 2004, he saved going. And going, by means of bouts of the flu, accidents, and climate and logistical hurdles.
He tallied six months of day by day snowboarding every year whereas working at Copper Mountain. Then he’d hit shoulder-season days at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, close by in Colorado. From there, he’d head to Mount Hood, OR, the place he labored as a snowcat driver by means of the summers.
“You have to remain dedicated,” he says. “Some days were tough, and there were a lot of logistics to deal with. I also skied through some miserable conditions, as well as pain and illness. You just have to get up and deal. When I separated my shoulder, I still skied the next day; I just didn’t plant my pole.”
He’d etch the ultimate notches on these poles yearly by touring to South America—nonetheless someway eking out runs on consecutive days.
“Changing hemispheres was tough,” he says. “Santiago is three hours later than Oregon, so I’d pre-pack my gear and take a pre-dawn run on other equipment before my flight, then skin for another once I arrived. Once I got lost driving in the fog and barely made it in time. Coming home to Colorado, my flight usually arrived in the morning so I’d hit Loveland on the way back.”
Anything counted, he stated, “as long as your skis are underfoot on snow” — despite the fact that some days that meant only a lone strip of corn.
En route, he amassed almost 100 million vertical ft, in addition to a peculiar report in Guinness. “To me the vert is more important—the record is accumulated vertical descent in consecutive days,” he stated. “That’s a million vertical feet per month, which is a lot.”
He admits that anybody attempting to imitate his feat throughout right this moment’s COVID period might need it more durable. “Resorts in South America didn’t open until early September, missing most of their season,” he says. “If COVID hit while I was doing it, it would have been over.”
Climate change can be making it harder. “It’s making it harder in both hemispheres,” he says, including he nonetheless watches the climate world wide. “To have to hike a 14er just to get to a little patch of snow is kind of ridiculous.”
The accidents began racking up proper after his streak ended. That spring, he joined a gaggle of associates on a raft journey down the Grand Canyon, strolling barefoot within the sand for 3 weeks. That was an excessive amount of for ankles accustomed to being locked inside ski boots; one in all them “swelled up to the size of a football,” he says.
“The doctor said I was going to have trouble,” he says, including he lastly bought it amputated in 2016. “I just wore myself out.”
The hip substitute got here just a few years later in 2019, additionally a sufferer of almost 3,000 straight days of schussing down mountainsides. Then, this previous summer season, whereas attempting to trip his BMW 1200 motorbike to South America, he crashed on California’s Rubicon Trail, crushing his different already compromised ankle. If the surgical procedure doesn’t work, that one, too, may be part of the prosthetic membership.
Still, he’s blissful he bought the consecutive days in, and set the quirky report, whereas he did. And, per physician’s orders, he plans on snowboarding once more come January. As for his prosthetic ankle, he says it even has its benefits. “For one, it never gets frost bite,” he says, including he carries a spare at any time when he travels. “And you can buckle your boots as tight as you want; if it gets crushed, it works as parts.”
And he’s not that frightened about anybody stealing his thunder anytime quickly. “I think I’m pretty safe with the record,” says Hertrich, who, when not snowboarding, now has plans to get his captain’s license and run sailboat journeys in Florida. “I doubt anyone will ever break it.”
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