How this skier got a cool 90K vertical at Beaver Creek in one day
Jonathan Boblitt rode Birds of Prey 39 times on Wednesday
On Wednesday at Beaver Creek, Jonathan Boblitt was a man on a mission.
Admittedly inspired by this reporter’s 70K day at Beaver Creek in 2019, Boblitt said he was also inspired by his late grandfather.
“He always said a good day of skiing is when he could get it down to 10 cents a run,” Boblitt said following the feat at Beaver Creek. “That may no longer be possible, but I did my best.”
Boblitt, who grew up skiing on the East Coast while living in Maryland before moving to Texas, is a computer engineer taking advantage of the “work-from-anywhere pandemic” with his wife. Staying in an Avon condo, he started the day walking “three minutes” to The Westin gondola in Avon, then went up the Landing lift followed by Upper Bachelor Gulch. From there, he dropped over to Birds of Prey for 39 laps. To end the day, he took Strawberry Park up and skied back over to the Landing and down The Westin gondola into Avon.
In total, the EpicMix app tracked him at 90,073 vertical feet on the day on 43 lifts.
“These runs were completed without a bathroom stop and no lunch break,” he said. “I did stop once to help collect a piece of a yard sale. You always stop, it’s the code — even if you’re going for a record. The poor guy just exploded mid-run, both poles and skis uphill. I collected a single pole. He told me he was OK so I went on my way.”
With few runs open off the Birds of Prey lift, Boblitt hit the Red Tail trail every time.
Throughout the day, he enjoyed a pocket-lunch but battled a frozen Camelbak — which might have contributed to him going the full day without a bathroom break.
To battle the loneliness of nearly eight hours on the mountain by himself, Boblitt struck up conversation with the lift operators at Birds of Prey — for the 5 seconds he would come through.
“Zane, the lift attendant, was an awesome hype man,” he said, adding that he now knows his favorite bagel type (cinnamon raisin), favorite movies (James Bond) and his dream vacation (Mexico). “Saul, the other lift attendant, doesn’t talk much. … He’s living his best life.”
The Birds of Prey lift at Beaver Creek is home to a FIS World Cup race course, which has hosted multiple world championships bringing in the best men and women in the sport.
“I want to say I totally read your story, and that’s where I got the idea,” he said. “Thank you for the inspiration.”
Boblitt will be moving to Breckenridge with his wife next, staying “as close to the lifts as possible.” Which gives this reporter some time to get back to Beaver Creek and spend some quality time on Birds of Prey. Anyone got a good eight-hour playlist?
In 2019 following this reporter’s 70K-in-a-day story, multiple people emailed in:
- “70K vertical is pretty good … for a snowboarder!” one person emailed in, citing a 90,507 vertical day at Beaver Creek.
- A local ski shop manager emailed in about a guest who skied 82,381 in a day at Beaver Creek.
- “I did this … when I was 40 years old,” Lance McWilliams emailed, “and I was on my snowboard as well. I had 84,030 feet as you can see (EpicMix screen shot). … It was an awesome day!” “Don [Wallin] did this challenge in the 2013-14 season and he did it on skis,” McWilliams added. “Don was 70 years old at the time and had 72,836 vertical feet!”
One of the beautiful things about skiing and snowboarding is the underlying camaraderie of the sport. One person’s success becomes a group’s celebration at aprés — unless they are a snowboarder, of course. In the end, it’s an individual sport and we’re all just competing against ourselves. Stay safe, and happy riding.
“I want someone to go out there and beat it so I have something to come back to next time,” Boblitt said. “It’s fun to push each other.”