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World Records
Lurching from one near disaster to another...
For some reason everyone wants to own a world record of some kind. This is especially evident among skiers.

In the 1940s at Yosemite you could win a gold, silver or bronze ski pin by how long it took you to ski from the top of the hill to the bottom. All I got the day I tried was a $20 X-ray of my right knee.

The first winter I was in Sun Valley I discovered that there were weekly time trials from the top of Baldy to the bottom of River Run. If you did it in less than three minutes you won a Diamond Sun. Many other ski resorts have the same type of time trials and skiers make up other marks to try for.

Recently we had a houseguest named Bill Baxter and he wanted to know what the record was for the most vertical feet anyone had ever skied in one day at the Yellowstone Club in Montana. I had no idea, so I just made up a number and told him it was 70,000 feet.

The next morning Bill was waiting in the lift line 30 minutes he could ride up. At the end of the day he was almost 2,000 feet shy of breaking the record. Ever resourceful, he had Jeff Jobe drive him up to the Rainbow Lodge so he could get that extra 2,060 and he now feels as though he owns the record and bragging rights.

The Yellowstone Club is approximately 50 miles from the Bozeman airport and our mountain restaurant and golf club restaurant manager has made the drive every day for the last 14 years. Now that is a real record to shoot at.

There is a ski instructor here who had a contract to teach English in China when the ski season was finished. He has been saving his money to buy a piece of Montana ranch land. He had a rucksack, a sleeping bag, a backpack and a skateboard so he rode that skateboard all the way to San Francisco from the club in Montana.

When I interviewed him he said, “Big Sky is 9,000 feet higher than San Francisco so it was downhill most of the way.”

Ward Baker and I set a record after spending two winters in the Sun Valley parking lot in a trailer that was only four feet wide and eight feet long. It was the same temperature inside of the trailer as outside and one night in the winter of 1948 the temperature dipped to 32 degrees below zero. I think that was the night a mouse gave birth to eight babies in one of my flight boots. I think I still own the record for having the most mice born in a flight boot.

Hugo Slow, the former ski school director at Mount Perfect, has ridden the chairlift every day it has operated since it was built in 1954. I wonder if he gets much work done.

Brian MacDonald set a world record in 2009 for checking the most snow tires on a charter flight from New York to Bozeman. He also set a record for the largest saltwater aquarium in the state of Montana.

Brian never did get his snow tires mounted because he is busy skiing every day.

Last winter Vail set a record when 26,342 people skied on its hills in a single day.

Record snowfalls are part fact and part fiction. I left Mount Waterman when it turned from a bright sunny day into a snowstorm and in the next 24 hours it snowed 24 feet.

At Mount Baker it snowed 99 feet in one winter. Now that is a lot of snow. The area closed because there was no place to put it.

In the Sierras at Lake Tahoe in the 1950s it snowed almost 10 feet and then rained eight inches and over a hundred homes and cabins had their roofs collapse. When you are talking about record snowfall just ask someone who has been around a long time and seen a lot of records set. They will have lots of great stories!
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