How I came up just short of 90K vertical in a day at Beaver Creek — but had a blast doing it

Hey, 88K isn’t so bad

Editor’s note: Save me the emails about how boring you think doing the same run over and over again (or 38 times) might be. I do, however, enjoy the emails about others’ personal vertical records. Keep it safe, and keep it fun!

I have received numerous emails, phone calls and social media messages after writing multiple stories about high vertical days at Beaver Creek. It started in 2019, when I wrote about my 70,000 vert day at the Beav. Earlier this season, I interviewed a skier who hit 90,000 vertical in one day at Beaver Creek after reading my story.

But the best story to come of all the emails I have gotten is about 16-year-old Kayla Anderson, who read my story and decided to use it as part of a pre-calculus math project and try her own 70K attempt on Wednesday — while also raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (support her mission on her GoFundMe page online).

And while we’re all out here inspiring each other, my interview with Kayla left me extra inspired to give it another go. While on the phone, she politely hinted at how she was “a lot younger” than me and could probably go without a break like I did two years ago.

So in the spirit of supporting Kayla and pushing my own limits, I went out on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., stopping only once to pick up a young ski schooler’s ski and return it to her and make sure she was ready to catch up to her group.

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That resulted in a 41-lift day with 88,291 vertical feet — thanks to the handy EpicMix app.

The Vail Daily’s Ross Leonhart hit over 88,000 vertical feet at Beaver Creek on Tuesday. (EpicMix app)

Heading up Centennial to start the day, I then hit Birds of Prey 38 times before returning to Centennial for two more rides to close the day.

Tuesday being a quiet day, I enjoyed solace lapping Birds of Prey over and over again, enjoying an old playlist with some of my favorite throwback songs.

While I fell short of the clean 90K mark, I think 88K isn’t bad for a snowboarder, all things considered. As I documented my day on my Instagram, I very much appreciated all of the comments and words of encouragement throughout the day.

One of my followers on Instagram shared a screen shot of her big 30-lift day at Afton Alps in Minnesota — that resulted in just over 7,000 vertical feet.

“Share your insane numbers with the whole fam,” another friend told me.

So here it is: One day, 41 lifts, 88,291 vertical feet. To try to put it in perspective, in my nine years, 935-plus days on the mountains, I average about five lifts per day and about 9,000 vertical feet.

Stay safe, and have fun out there. And remember the No. 1 rule of Beaver Creek — you go home and tell everyone about Vail.

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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