Frisco Sitting in the barroom of Frisco's Blue Spruce Inn last week, Rainer Hertrich, 47, took a moment to decide on his drink order. He adjusted his Spyder ballcap and sat back in his chair. Then a wide grin emerged.
"I'm celebrating," he said with a laugh and ordered himself a cocktail.
It was a milestone day for Hertrich, who had just reached his 2,000th consecutive day of skiing.
No, that's not a typo.
Hertrich has strapped on his telemark skis and hit the slopes every single day since Nov. 1, 2003.
"It just keeps rolling," Hertrich said about the record streak. "That's how I look at it. I'm not going to make excuses to miss a day."
And he hasn't, not once in five years, five months and 22 days.
Hertrich has endured through rain, sleet, severe temperatures, a separated shoulder, four broken ribs and even had to avoid a herd of llamas once in South America.
"It's been pretty wild," he said.
The streak began as, what Hertrich called, a "vertical quest."
In spring 2003, Hertrich was sitting in the Mangy Moose Restaurant and Saloon in Jackson Hole, Wyo., when he and his skiing buddies noticed a club that the restaurant had for people who had skied at least 6 million vertical feet in a single season.
"I was looking at that and thinking, 'Well, I did about 4 million last year, and I skied 250 days,'" Hertrich said. "But those days weren't consecutive, so I figured I could get some more days in."
Hertrich and his friends did the math. He realized that if he skied 33,000 vertical feet each day for six months, without missing a single day, he could top the mark.
"Good luck," Hertrich joked.
Luckily, Hertrich had the perfect job to attempt the feat as a groomer for Copper Mountain Resort. And when Copper opened for Day 1 of the 2003-04 ski season, he was already making his runs.