Man Skis up 61,000 Feet in 24 Hours to Set New Vertical Ski Record

Over 24 hours this past weekend at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana, ultra-endurance athlete Mike Foote skied up 61,200 vertical feet. This set a new record that had been unbeatable since 2009.

Foote set out at 9:20 a.m. on Saturday, March 17 to ski uphill and down Whitefish’s 1,020-foot course 60 times. At 8:49 a.m. on Sunday, March 18 Foote had completed the journey and beat the record with 20 minutes to spare.

Up to this point, Foote has mostly been known for his long-distance running expertise. An athlete for The North Face, Foote has some some top finishes at the world’s biggest ultramarathon races. He’s been on the podium at the Hardrock 100 three times and the UTMB once (as well as top-three finishes at multiple other important ultramarathon races), and in 2016 he ran 600 miles Missoula, Montana to Banff, Canada.

Foote had been training for this vertical ski record for the last six to seven months. As Foote said in an Instagram post before setting out on the attempt, “To be honest, it’s the loftiest goal I’ve set for myself since my first 100 miler, and I’m not sure I can do it.”

There comes a time when you can’t prepare or train anymore and you have to just go for it. Tomorrow is that time for me as I set out on a 24hr journey to climb and ski as much vertical distance as I possibly can here at Whitefish Mountain Resort. I’m attempting to break the current world record of 60,000ft (18,288m) by the time the day is done. To be honest, it’s the loftiest goal I’ve set for myself since my first 100 miler, and I’m not sure I can do it. I do know, however, that I’m willing to give it everything I’ve got. And that I’m so lucky to have a great team of friends to crack the whip on me here and to have the full support of @thenorthface with this project. If you want to follow along for the ride, my life teammate @kt_rogo will be posting updates on this feed. Thanks to everyone for believing in this dream! Wish me luck. #bennyup

A post shared by Mike Foote (@mikefootemt) on

Foote broke the 2009 record of Austrian skimo racer Eckhardt Dolshlag, who hit an even 60,000 feet. Attempts at breaking the record have gone on since, with no success until Foote’s triumph this weekend.

Working with a support team that kept up with him on the mountain, Foote certainly did not go at this alone. The team supplied food, gels and hydration throughout the 24 hours. And he used several pairs of skis to dry out between runs, with grooming machines keeping the hill in good condition for him.

To put it in context, 61,200 feet would be similar to Foote skiing up and down Mount Everest twice in 24 hours (obviously oxygen levels and countless other life-threatening factors to be considered, of course).

A post shared by Mike Foote (@mikefootemt) on

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