Saturday, March 1, 2008

A full day

For my 60th birthday, I had promised myself a very special present, one that was both simple and affordable; ski 60,000 vertical feet in the course of one day. In the past, I’ve tried hard to outdo myself in that department; five years ago, I piled up 46,787 feet near Banff and two years later, I logged 50,625 at Park City Mountain Resort.
This was pretty close to my 60,000 goal and this time, with the support of my good friend Dirk Beal who is Director of Sales at Deer Valley Resort, I picked his place of work for breaking my personal record; I couldn’t have done it at the other Park City resorts during the course of a normal day. At Deer Valley, “Sultan Express” a new high-speed quad chair whisks you up 1,760 vertical feet in a mere 6 minutes and 45 seconds; besides, the slope is consistently steep and ideal for this kind of record. I had to wait until February 28 for all conditions to be perfect and, that morning, I loaded the first chair at 8:48 am; some 7 hours and 11 minutes later, I was done and had exceeded my goal!
There are plenty of things that can happen when you try to pack so much skiing into one single day; first, you hope that there won’t be any significant lift line, little skier traffic, few unexpected lift stoppages and no strong wind to slow the chairs down. You also need to save your energy, eat and drink while riding the chair and curtail bathroom stops. Finally, you absolutely must ski non-stop and as fast as you can without hitting other skiers or trees; this surely would spoil the day. That morning, all these great conditions were met, except perhaps for the skiers who, lured by the great weather, came out in sizable numbers. I stayed on “Perseverance” the one run that is the closest to the lift line and also happens to be the least crowded because it’s the steepest; the first third of that run consisted of bumpy crud while its remaining and largest section was perfectly groomed and allowed for maximum speed. Just before 2 pm, I had passed my 60,000 goal and decided to push on. I actually skied until the last main lifts stopped and by the time I stepped out of my boards, just before 4 pm, I had logged 84,490* vertical feet! That ought to be enough to take care of my vertical skiing record until I reach my 84th birthday, if I ever do it. After that, we’ll reconsider!

* For our European friends, compared to the Grands-Montets near Chamonix, France, that represents riding more than 12 times the two trams…


kendall said...

Excellent post! And a great record too.

I'm curious to know specifically what kind of food/drink you ate and also what your ski set up was, particularly your boots as I'm sure they had to be comfortable or you would have been done after 20K.

Once again, congradulations!

Go 11 said...

Here are the "nuts and bolts:"
I had a bottle of Park City tap water (I drank about 1 quart, that’s all), ate a homemade cheese and humus sandwich plus two small “Cliffbar”, then my equipment was one pair of Dynastar Legend 8800 in 188 cm length and my feet were held inside a pair of DalBello Krypton Pro. I just got these boots after I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon on brand “L” at Jupiter, on March 23, 2007.

Others said...

Nice work on the 84K in one day. I hope I'm going that strong when I retire.
Joe Cashen

That is quite a feat
Ken Block

Way to go JF! 84.5k is certainly a worthy effort. Im impressed that you skied some ungroomed crud on every run. I can't say that about my big day. Well done!
The real question for you....what's next?
Nathan Rafferty

Hey there JF! Long time no see! Just wanted to offer you my congrats and profound joy for you on accomplishing such an auspicious goal!! Happy BDay too!
All the best~
Traci Butler

HOLY SHIT, YOU ARE LEGENDARY!!!! Let’s add First Track next year and go for 100K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scott Mason said...

Dude, you are a animal! I work with Dirk and here at Deer Valley and he has informed me of your accomplishment!! That is some serious vert!

Last summer I ran 1.2 million combined vertical trail running, I understand your madness!

Scott Mason