Since January 1, 2010, Greg Hill, a 35-year-old Revelstoke, British Columbia–based athlete and guide, has hiked and skied an average of 5,480 vertical feet per day, including the four months he spent in Chile and Argentina during the austral winter. His goal: to become the first person to hike and ski two million backcountry vertical feet in a year, all of it under his own power. RILEY BLANTON caught up with him in November, 1.65 million feet into his mission.
The ShadowBox attaches to any skis or board and tracks your speed, jump height, acceleration, and G-forces, among other variables. Then, on your computer, it re-creates your ride in 3-D, and can be synced with Google Earth. The upside: you know how big you went. The downside: it's not as big as you thought. 9; shadowboxlive.com
OUTSIDE: Ever take a day off?
HILL: I've got a wife and two kids, so I try to take at least two days off every week. But over the other five days, I have to do an extra 10,000 feet to make my average.
So you're looking forward to a break?
Definitely. I'll enjoy waking up and not feeling like my watch is burning my wrist.
Why two million?
The number is totally arbitrary, but it represents a lot of adventure and great times. I also have a successful brother—Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com—and he has made his millions. Some people make their millions; I hike mine.
Skiing that many backcountry lines has to be dangerous.
Right before my family left to go back to North America, my three-year-old son said to me, "You're staying here for three more weeks to ski, and then you're going to die." About two and half weeks later I was skiing my wildest line of the entire trip, and all I could hear was his words echoing in my head.
At one point I was doing a late-night lap because I'd done a family day and still wanted to get in some vertical. I hit a cable and cracked some ribs.
And you kept skiing?
Yeah. My ribs were just partially cracked, really.