How a World-Record Holder Skied Every Day for Over Eight Straight Years

Robert S. Hays

Want to check out to set the earth report for most consecutive times at any time skied? It may possibly cost you an ankle or two, as very well as a hip.

That is the sacrifice manufactured 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 out the rate in appendages.

“The injuries just came from skiing too considerably,” claims Hertrich, 59. “I wore out the cartilage in my ankle and acquired Charcot foot. The bones ended up grinding with each other so I had to get it amputated.”

As comprehensive in his book The Longest Operate: How a Colorado ski bum skied each and every working day for more than eight yrs (thelongestrunbook.com), co-authored by MJ contributor Devon O’Neil, Hertrich skied each and every working day for 8 yrs, two months and 10 times. He was compelled to stop his entire world-file streak on Feb. 12, 2012, at his doctor’s ask for, just after he was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia.

Nevertheless, he took a single past run even that day, bringing his tally just seven times shorter of 3,000—every one day considering the fact that his quirky quest began on Nov. 1, 2003, when the Marlins received the Entire world Series.

Hertrich started his streak following witnessing the hoopla developed by some Jackson Gap skiers who notched 6 million vertical feet in a year. Immediately after he handed 7 million vertical in 2004, he stored likely. And heading, through bouts of the flu, accidents, and temperature and logistical hurdles.

He tallied 6 months of everyday snowboarding just about every 12 months when doing work at Copper Mountain. Then he’d hit shoulder-period days at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, close by in Colorado. From there, he’d head to Mount Hood, OR, wherever he labored as a snowcat driver by means of the summers.

“You have to continue being committed,” he claims. “Some times ended up hard, and there had been a lot of logistics to deal with. I also skied by way of some miserable conditions, as nicely as discomfort and illness. You just have to get up and deal. When I separated my shoulder, I however skied the upcoming day I just didn’t plant my pole.”

He’d etch the remaining notches on those people poles every single calendar year by traveling to South America—still somehow eking out runs on consecutive days.

“Changing hemispheres was tough,” he says. “Santiago is a few hours later on than Oregon, so I’d pre-pack my gear and consider a pre-dawn operate on other products before my flight, then skin for yet another the moment I arrived. After I acquired shed driving in the fog and scarcely produced it in time. Coming dwelling to Colorado, my flight usually arrived in the morning so I’d hit Loveland on the way again.”

Everything counted, he explained, “as lengthy as your skis are underfoot on snow” — even nevertheless some days that meant just a lone strip of corn.

En route, he amassed almost 100 million vertical ft, as perfectly as a peculiar report in Guinness. “To me the vert is more important—the report is accrued vertical descent in consecutive times,” he said. “That’s a million vertical feet for every month, which is a lot.”

He admits that anyone striving to mimic his feat all through today’s COVID era may have it more durable. “Resorts in South The usa didn’t open up right until early September, missing most of their season,” he suggests. “If COVID strike when I was performing it, it would have been in excess of.”

Climate transform is also producing it far more difficult. “It’s creating it more difficult in both of those hemispheres,” he suggests, introducing he continue to watches the weather conditions all around the entire world. “To have to hike a 14er just to get to a minimal patch of snow is form of preposterous.”

Rainier Hertich ski record
courtesy Rainier Hertich

The injuries started racking up proper immediately after his streak ended. That spring, he joined a group of mates on a raft trip down the Grand Canyon, going for walks barefoot in the sand for a few months. That was way too considerably for ankles accustomed to staying locked inside of ski boots a single of them “swelled up to the dimension of a soccer,” he says.

“The health care provider said I was going to have trouble,” he says, introducing he eventually bought it amputated in 2016. “I just wore myself out.”

The hip substitute arrived a couple of years later in 2019, also a victim of nearly 3,000 straight times of schussing down mountainsides. Then, this earlier summer months, though making an attempt to ride his BMW 1200 motorcycle to South The usa, he crashed on California’s Rubicon Path, crushing his other already compromised ankle. If the medical procedures does not operate, that one, much too, may possibly join the prosthetic club.

Nevertheless, he’s delighted he received the consecutive days in, and set the quirky file, when he did. And, for every doctor’s orders, he programs on snowboarding once again appear January. As for his prosthetic ankle, he claims it even has its rewards. “For one particular, it under no circumstances gets frost bite,” he claims, incorporating he carries a spare each time he travels. “And you can buckle your boots as restricted as you want if it will get crushed, it operates as components.”

And he’s not that apprehensive about everyone stealing his thunder at any time before long. “I assume I’m really safe and sound with the record,” says Hertrich, who, when not skiing, now has strategies to get his captain’s license and operate sailboat visits in Florida. “I question anyone will ever break it.”


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