Checking in at 199,000 Vertical Feet: Greg Hill’s March Madness

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Bruno Long / Suunto

On March 16, Greg Hill hit the halfway point in his grueling quest to climb 328,000 vertical feet (100 kilometers) on skis in the month of March. Speaking from his home in Revelstoke, British Columbia on March 19, Hill said he spent the day – a rare rest day – at the neighborhood rec center where he did just one circuit: hot tub, sauna, hot tub, steam room, hot tub, home.

So far, Hill has tallied 199,400 vertical feet, which puts him on track to reach his goal on March 31, but no sooner. His efforts have not been without incident. Last Thursday, for instance, he triggered an avalanche. "It was big enough to bury a train car," he says. "I felt like I was starting to break some rules – choosing my goal over safety – and the mountains gave me a warning."

This week, he started using a snowmobile to get further out to new terrain. He's says zooming around on a snowmobile in the backcountry is pretty fun. "The whole time I have to keep reminding myself that it's for transportation, not tricks," he says. "But the other day there was this incredible powder, and well, I ended up in a ditch."

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Physically, Hill says he has lots of aches and pains, but nothing debilitating. Each night he uses a foam roller to stretch and release his muscles, especially the calves, hamstrings, glutes, neck, and back. "My IT bands are the most important," he says. "They are my limiting factor. If I don't take care of them, they could put me out. I try and roll them multiple times a day."

Hill has lost only a couple pounds thanks to an aggressive eating plan that puts 6,000 to 7,000 calories into his system every day. Lunch alone adds 4,000. Hill says he eats "three serious sandwiches" for lunch on the mountain, along with nuts, pepperoni sticks, an avocado – which provides 400 calories and healthy fat to burn as fuel. "I really need the sugar, it keeps your brain active," he says. "Clif Shot Blocks are perfect for that." 

In his final 12 days on the mountain, Hill is most worried about keeping the right mindset. "I really need to make sure I'm making my terrain decisions objectively and not just trying to get the vertical. It's definitely a thin line out there at times."

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