Two years ago, Steph Jager, was an unemployed weekend warrior skier. This year, on May 6th, she broke the Guinness World Record for the most vertical feet skied in a calendar year. She traveled around the world and skied 4,161,823 vertical feet, breaking the old record of 4,146,890. This is what she has to say about her feat.
In 2008 — I wasn’t working at the time—I was skiing at Whistler with some friends who asked,“ what are you going to do with your life?” I told them I wanted to spend a year skiing around then world, and they laughed because I had no money, wasn’t a good enough skier, and was definitely not professional athlete. At that point we got to the top of the lift and I noticed the “raise restraining device” sign.
I had a cheesy “ah ha” Oprah moment, and thought, “OK, what’s my restraining device?”
From that point it took two years before I left.
I rented my place out during the Olympics, which helped a ton. Then I refinanced my mortgage and took the equity of the house. It was against what everyone was telling me but I made sure to do without doing me any risk.
I estimated what I skied on a weekend, multiplied it out and came up with 4 million feet. When I started traveling people said, “that must be some kind of record.” In February in Italy I looked it up. Breaking the record only seemed like a few extra days, so I upped the ante to go for the Guinness.
Guinness is still in the midst of deciding, so it’s not deemed an official record yet.
l kept track of all of the days I skied. I wore an altimeter every day and logged it every night, but someone in an elevator could do that.
I met my current boyfriend in Argentina. The he came and joined me in Japan, Utah and Whistler.
I bought a round the world ticket and flew into Santiago. If I were to do it again that would be the one thing I would change. You don’t know where the snow is going to be.
Japan blew my mind. I’d been looking forward to Northern Japan. In Niskeo the snow was unbelievable, but not the terrain. Nagano was surprisingly great.
Probably only once I really thought, “I don’t think I can do it.”
You can’t do it alone. I had so much support from friends and family; you need to develop a really good support system before you go.
It was vastly resort based, I’m no Greg Hill.
I went in to the backcountry in every country I visited, but only a few days in each.
What’s next? What else do you want? Isn’t that enough for you?
I don’t want to have lived this whole year of "OK, my restraining device is raised," then put it right back down.
I would have packed a balaclava, I think my nose is still chapped.
Find out more about Steph’s trip here.