Need 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 accidents simply got here from snowboarding an excessive amount of,” says Hertrich, 59. “I wore out the cartilage in my ankle and obtained Charcot foot. The bones had been grinding collectively so I needed to get it amputated.”

As detailed in his e book The Longest Run: How a Colorado ski bum skied every single day for greater than eight years (thelongestrunbook.com), co-authored by MJ contributor Devon O’Neil, Hertrich skied every single day 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 recognized with cardiac arrhythmia.

Nonetheless, he took one final run even that day, bringing his tally simply seven days in need of 3,000—each single day since his quirky quest started on Nov. 1, 2003, when the Marlins gained the World Collection.

Hertrich started his streak after witnessing the hoopla created by some Jackson Gap skiers who notched 6 million vertical ft in a season. After he handed 7 million vertical in 2004, he saved going. And going, by way of bouts of the flu, accidents, and climate and logistical hurdles.

He tallied six months of each 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 way of the summers.

“You need to stay devoted,” he says. “Some days had been powerful, and there have been quite a lot of logistics to cope with. I additionally skied by way of some depressing situations, in addition to ache and sickness. You simply should rise up and deal. Once I separated my shoulder, I nonetheless skied the following day; I simply didn’t plant my pole.”

He’d etch the ultimate notches on these poles yearly by touring to South America—nonetheless one way or the other eking out runs on consecutive days.

“Altering hemispheres was powerful,” he says. “Santiago is three hours later than Oregon, so I’d pre-pack my gear and take a pre-dawn run on different tools earlier than my flight, then pores and skin for an additional as soon as I arrived. As soon as I obtained misplaced driving within the fog and barely made it in time. Coming residence to Colorado, my flight often arrived within the morning so I’d hit Loveland on the best way again.”

Something counted, he mentioned, “so long as your skis are underfoot on snow” — regardless 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 extra vital—the report is collected vertical descent in consecutive days,” he mentioned. “That’s one million vertical ft monthly, which is loads.”

He admits that anybody attempting to imitate his feat throughout at present’s COVID period may need it more durable. “Resorts in South America didn’t open till early September, lacking most of their season,” he says. “If COVID hit whereas I used to be doing it, it will have been over.”

Local weather change can also be making it harder. “It’s making it tougher in each hemispheres,” he says, including he nonetheless watches the climate all over the world. “To should hike a 14er simply to get to a bit patch of snow is type of ridiculous.”

Rainier Hertich ski record
courtesy Rainier Hertich

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 as much as the dimensions of a soccer,” he says.

“The physician mentioned I used to be going to have bother,” he says, including he lastly obtained it amputated in 2016. “I simply wore myself out.”

The hip alternative got here a number of 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 experience his BMW 1200 bike to South America, he crashed on California’s Rubicon Path, crushing his different already compromised ankle. If the surgical procedure doesn’t work, that one, too, may be part of the prosthetic membership.

Nonetheless, he’s glad he obtained 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 by no means will get frost chunk,” he says, including he carries a spare at any time when he travels. “And you may buckle your boots as tight as you need; if it will get crushed, it really works as elements.”

And he’s not that anxious about anybody stealing his thunder anytime quickly. “I feel I’m fairly secure with the report,” says Hertrich, who, when not snowboarding, now has plans to get his captain’s license and run sailboat journeys in Florida. “I doubt anybody will ever break it.”


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