Marathon Man

The man who’s skied 2,134 consecutive days—and counting.

By August 31, 2009, Copper Mountain snowcat driver Rainer Hertrich, 47, had skied 2,134 consecutive days. That’s every day since November 1, 2003—since the Marlins won the Series, and through bouts of the flu, a separated shoulder, and four rib injuries. And he’s still going. He works six months a year at Copper and shoulder-season days at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin. He grooms Mt. Hood by summer and finishes the year in South America. He’s amassed more than 70 million vertical feet and a Guinness record, all on telemark gear. He spoke to us between runs in September.

I was on CNN once for 17 seconds. They charged me $200 just to get a DVD of it.

A lot of people say my skiing is inspirational and shows a good work ethic. But I’m not looking to give motivational speeches. I’m the one who gets to ski.

The vert is more important. That’s the record Guinness created: accumulated vertical descent in consecutive days. But skiing a million vertical feet per month is a lot. That’s more than Everest every day.

You have to be dedicated. Minus 20 and windy would rate as a bad day.

Changing hemispheres is tough. Santiago, Chile, is three hours later than Timberline, Oregon. I prepack my gear and take a predawn run on other equipment before my flight. Coming home to Colorado, my flight arrives in the morning, so I hit Loveland on the way back.

I don’t go to doctors. I don’t need to know that something hurts. When I separated my shoulder, I just didn’t plant my pole.

I like kayaking and fishing also. Whenever I do those together, I get a three-sport day in. Four if you count my motorcycle ride to get to Oregon’s Deschutes River.