Closure doesn’t stop world-record pursuit

September 7, 2005

Two years ago, 41-year-old Rainer Hertrich began a long, repetitive and knee-jerking journey toward a world record. His goal is to ski every day for as long as he can, while amassing the most cumulative amount of vertical feet skied.

To continue his two-year streak, Hertrich has ventured to Timberline twice in the last two years. And when Timberline shuts down late in the summer, he boards a plane headed to Chile. There, the ongoing spring ski season allows him to ski everyday until Copper Mountain Resort in his native Colorado open up for operations again in late fall.

In these two years, the 22-year snowgroomer has skied more than 673 consecutive days, nearly 23 million vertical feet, on at least 20 different ski resorts and in five states and two continents.

He supports his quest by working as a snow groomer at each ski area he bases out of.

Of course, it’s not enough.

He’s also sinking into credit card debt.

But, says the telemark skier, for a world record, it’s worth it.

Two weeks before Timberline shut down on Aug. 18, he sent the Hood River News one final dispatch before flying to Chile.

The day he left to Chile was day No. 659.

Here it is:

August 11 —

Passed the 650 day mark today and now I am just shy of 22.7 million vertical feet.

The good news is that my passport arrived today — just in time for me to make plans to head down to Chile to keep this endeavor going.

I only sent the application in at the beginning of June. Since Timberline is closing on the Aug. 18, the timing couldn’t be better.

I also ordered some demo telemark boots from Fall Line at Copper Mountain (my local tele-skiing shop) and they also arrived today. This is really great as my old boots that have seen more than 26 million vertical feet of abuse are about done.

Besides screws in place of split pines that have rusted away, and a T-bolt for a hinge where the rivet fell out, the plastic on the hinges is paper thin at best. I think they are done.

I’m probably going to Portillo first since they have some backpacker-priced rooms. Then try to make it back to Valle Navado and Termas de Chillan to see all the neat people I met down there last year.

Seasonal rates start to go down in another couple of weeks as spring skiing starts to come about.

If every thing goes right Year No. 2 will be over on Halloween.

One of the things I’m curious about is what I could accomplish vert.-wise if I didn’t have to work at night. Working cuts into the amount of time I have on the slopes and the amount of energy I can put forth each day.

The other thing is what ski area has the fastest lift with the most vert.

I’ve been told to go to Sun Valley, Squaw, Jackson Hole, and even Keystone, but who knows.

Maybe there is a sponsor out there somewhere who would like to find out.

Wishful thinking right?

But you never know.

All else is good and I’m really getting excited about next week’s adventure. Enjoy the rest of your season, whichever it may be.

— Rainer

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