Record Ski Days Comes at a Cost

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Rainer K2
Rainer Hertrich, a snowcat operator at Copper Mountain, has skiied every day for the past three plus years logging more than 37,000,000 vertical feet in that time already qualifying him for a world record. Hertrich was telemarking before work Friday November 17, 2006. (MARC PISCOTTY/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) CQ Rainer Hertrich

Pat yourself on the back all you want for those 100 ski days you got this season; that’s peanuts compared to world record holder (yes, there is such a thing) Rainer Hertrich, a former snow groomer for Copper Mountain who skied a whopping 2,993 straight days in a row. Want to break his record? It might cost you an ankle or two and a hip—the price he’s paid in appendages. “The injuries came from skiing too much,” says Hertrich, 59. “I wore out the cartilage so I had to get my ankle amputated.”

Hertrich skied every day for eight years, two months and 10 days, ending his streak on Feb. 12, 2012, after being diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia. He followed his 2016 ankle amputation with a hip replacement, also a victim of his psychotic schussing; then, last summer, a motorcycle crash crushed his other ankle, which could also join the prosthetic club. 

To accomplish his Herculean streak, Hertrich hit shoulder-seasons at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, headed to Mt. Hood for the summers, and then traveled to South America for fall, still eking out runs on consecutive days. “Changing hemispheres was tough, but I made it work,” he says, adding he feels pretty safe with the record. His prosthetic, meanwhile, does have its advantages. “For one, it never gets frost bite,” he says. “And you can buckle your boots as tight as you want; if it gets crushed, it works as parts.”—Info: www.thelongestrunbook.com.

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