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

Want to test to set the entire world file for most consecutive days at any time skied? It may well value you an ankle or two, as properly as a hip.

Which is the sacrifice created 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 having to pay the price tag in appendages.

“The accidents just came from snowboarding too considerably,” claims Hertrich, 59. “I wore out the cartilage in my ankle and got Charcot foot. The bones were grinding alongside one another so I experienced to get it amputated.”

As in-depth in his guide The Longest Operate: How a Colorado ski bum skied just about every working day for additional than 8 a long time (thelongestrunbook.com), co-authored by MJ contributor Devon O’Neil, Hertrich skied just about every working day for 8 a long time, two months and 10 days. He was pressured to close his entire world-file streak on Feb. 12, 2012, at his doctor’s ask for, following he was identified with cardiac arrhythmia.

Still, he took 1 previous operate even that working day, bringing his tally just 7 days shorter of 3,000—every one working day since his quirky quest started on Nov. 1, 2003, when the Marlins received the World Series.

Hertrich started his streak following witnessing the hoopla produced by some Jackson Gap skiers who notched six million vertical toes in a year. Soon after he passed seven million vertical in 2004, he held likely. And likely, through bouts of the flu, accidents, and climate and logistical hurdles.

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

“You have to continue to be dedicated,” he claims. “Some days were tough, and there were a ton of logistics to deal with. I also skied by means of some depressing disorders, as properly as pain and illness. You just have to get up and deal. When I separated my shoulder, I however skied the up coming working day I just didn’t plant my pole.”

He’d etch the ultimate notches on all those poles just about every 12 months by touring to South America—still by some means eking out runs on consecutive days.

“Changing hemispheres was tough,” he claims. “Santiago is 3 several hours afterwards than Oregon, so I’d pre-pack my equipment and choose a pre-dawn operate on other tools right before my flight, then pores and skin for another when I arrived. The moment I got dropped driving in the fog and hardly created it in time. Coming home to Colorado, my flight commonly arrived in the morning so I’d hit Loveland on the way again.”

Everything counted, he reported, “as very long as your skis are underfoot on snow” — even however some days that meant just a lone strip of corn.

En route, he amassed almost 100 million vertical toes, as properly as a peculiar file in Guinness. “To me the vert is additional important—the file is accrued vertical descent in consecutive days,” he reported. “That’s a million vertical toes for every month, which is a ton.”

He admits that any one striving to mimic his feat throughout today’s COVID era may well have it tougher. “Resorts in South The united states didn’t open up until eventually early September, missing most of their year,” he claims. “If COVID hit while I was doing it, it would have been above.”

Local weather alter is also earning it additional challenging. “It’s earning it tougher in both hemispheres,” he claims, incorporating he however watches the climate all over the entire world. “To have to hike a 14er just to get to a small patch of snow is type of absurd.”

courtesy Rainier Hertich

The accidents commenced racking up appropriate following his streak finished. That spring, he joined a team of friends on a raft trip down the Grand Canyon, strolling barefoot in the sand for 3 weeks. That was too considerably for ankles accustomed to getting locked inside ski boots 1 of them “swelled up to the sizing of a soccer,” he claims.

“The health practitioner reported I was likely to have issues,” he claims, incorporating he ultimately got it amputated in 2016. “I just wore myself out.”

The hip alternative came a handful of a long time afterwards in 2019, also a sufferer of almost 3,000 straight days of schussing down mountainsides. Then, this earlier summer, while striving to ride his BMW 1200 motorbike to South The united states, he crashed on California’s Rubicon Path, crushing his other previously compromised ankle. If the surgical procedures doesn’t work, that 1, too, may well be a part of the prosthetic club.

Still, he’s satisfied he got the consecutive days in, and set the quirky file, while he did. And, for every doctor’s orders, he strategies on snowboarding once more occur January. As for his prosthetic ankle, he claims it even has its strengths. “For 1, it in no way gets frost bite,” he claims, incorporating he carries a spare each time he travels. “And you can buckle your boots as limited as you want if it gets crushed, it operates as components.”

And he’s not that worried about any one stealing his thunder whenever shortly. “I believe I’m rather risk-free with the file,” claims Hertrich, who, when not snowboarding, now has strategies to get his captain’s license and operate sailboat journeys in Florida. “I question any one will at any time split it.”

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