Woman Skis 9 Million Vertical Feet at Snowbird, UT, This Season

Brent Thomas | | Post Tag for Industry NewsIndustry News
Some phenomenal totals were seen this year at Snowbird. Credit: SnowBrains

In the last few seasons, individuals have been pushing the limits on how much skiing they can do. There have been 100,000+ vertical foot days, multiple millions of vertical feet skied in a season, and SnowBrains CEO Miles Clark logged over 300 ski days within a year. Until now, the most impressive feat was Tom Hart, aka “Racer Tom,” who set a Guinness World Record at Snowbasin, Utah, when he tracked over seven million vertical feet this season.

Now, by far the most remarkable achievement has to be Steffi Eyerkaufer, who has tracked over nine million vertical feet this season at Snowbird, Utah. I reached out to Eyerkaufer to get her story, and while she said it was fine to mention her name and the current number of vertical feet she has accomplished, she tends to be more private and declined a formal interview. So far this season, she has logged 163 days and 9,083,1338 vertical feet on 4,819 lift rides. That’s truly amazing.

The Snowbird leaderboard as of May 11, 2024, and the resort hasn’t closed yet: Credit: Snowbird

Second on the leaderboard is John Gordon from Salt Lake City, who, in his own right, deserves massive respect with over 7.5 million vertical feet logged this season. Gordon is 67 years old and retired and has skied every day minus 18 days for vacation this season. He was happy to chat about the accomplishments of himself and others this year at Snowbird and provided great insight into the achievements.

First off, Gordon attested to the legitimacy of the Snowbird app which has been around for four years and uses the GPS on your phone to track your vertical. It does not track based on what lifts you ride up, but rather only the descent. Most people who use more than one app say the app undertracks total vertical by as much as 10-15%. “Our numbers are probably higher than what the Snowbird app says, but I have no way to verify that,” Gordon said. “You have to be on a slope before the app will track anything. There’s a grid that has all the runs and at the end of the day, you know all the runs you went on. You have to be skiing to get credit. Last season I lost a ski in Mineral Basin and had to ride the tram back down because I only had one ski. I received zero vertical feet for that.”

When asked if he knew who Eyerkaufer was, the answer was obvious. “I definitely know her because we see each other every day,” he admitted. “Every morning, we are usually lined up at the same place and quite often park right next to each other. We don’t normally ski together, but she’s faster than me and if she sees me, she might catch up to me and we’ll ride the chair together. But if she passes me, she’s not waiting around. There are a few people who can keep up with her, but I’m not one of them.”

With over 600 inches of snowfall on the season, it was a great year for the “Bird.” Credit: Snowbird

What about Racer Tom’s world record?

Some might say that the world record now belongs to Eyerkaufer, but it’s not that simple. Certifying a Guinness World Record takes careful planning and hours of meticulous documentation. It includes things like news accounts, data from apps that track vertical feet, and witness statements. In order to qualify for the Guinness Book of Records for vertical feet, the slopes with which the record is being attempted must be officially measured only from the top of the run to the bottom, professional GPS equipment must be used, and the files must be logged using a “kml” file type. The tracking on the Snowbird mobile app does not match this file type requirement.

“He’s gone through the right hoops to say this is something you can back up,” said Gordon. “We’re not going to try to do that. It seems like a lot of work and that’s not my goal and it’s not [Eyerkaufer’s] goal. We are just out there to enjoy the season, but because of the tracker we push ourselves a little more than we would otherwise.”

“By the way, I met Racer Tom,” bragged Gordon. “After Snowbasin closed, he started skiing at Snowbird. As soon as articles started coming out about him, people were sending me messages asking if I’d heard of this guy. I was riding up one of the lifts and I’m halfway up and he mentions that Snowbasin was his home base, and I go ‘Oh, are you the guy who set the record?’ And he goes, ‘yeah.’ He seemed like a really nice guy.”

John Gordon with Racer Tom on a lift at Snowbird. Nearly 15 million vertical feet skied this season between the two of them. Credit: John Gordon

Gordon says he and Eyerkaufer are both very motivated by the tracker as well as many others on the leaderboard. “Over the last few years with the tracker, everything has escalated. The first year when people were tracking, the number one guy was five million and Steffi was four million. The next year I was 6.5 million and Steffi was a little over 7 million. Then the next year I was over 7 million and Steffi was well over 8 million. Now this year it’s escalated even more. She’s at 9 million and I’m at 7.5.”

As a perk for their efforts, both Gordon and Eyerkaufer have received a free pair of Peak Skis in the company’s annual 4 Million Vertical Feet Challenge. The Challenge is a way that Peak Skis celebrates the dedication and achievements of the most avid skiers. “Steffi is so amazing and her stats are unreal,” said Tracy Chang, Chief Marketing Officer for Peak Skis. “We’ve been awarding her, and other vertical feet leaders like John Gordon, Peak skis for a couple of seasons now based on their incredible achievement.”

Whatever the number, it’s a big one. Everyone on the leaderboard deserves congratulations for exemplifying the unwavering spirit of determination and passion that inspires skiers and snowboarders around the world to push the limits. It will be interesting to see what future years bring as people continue to push the realm of what is possible. At some point, there are only so many days and so much time to get all those turns in.

Who wouldn’t want to ski as much as possible here? Credit: Snowbird

Related Articles

One thought on “Woman Skis 9 Million Vertical Feet at Snowbird, UT, This Season

  1. 163 days and 4819 lifts? So this person is averaging over 29 lifts per day on the slopes? I haven’t been to snowbird in some time so I have no idea how feasible this is. In my neck of the woods, I’m lucky to get 18-20 lifts in per day given the lines.

Got an opinion? Let us know...