Yesterday, The Bedford Citizen introduced Bedford High School Class of 2012 graduate Noah Dines’ goal to set the record for the most human-powered vertical feet skied in a calendar year. This is part two, you can read the first part here: https://thebedfordcitizen.org/2023/10/part-one-bhs-graduate-noah-dines-is-on-a-quest-to-set-a-ski-record-in-2024/
Using his passion for skiing, athletic ability, and intense passion and joy in backcountry skiing, Noah Dines is planning to ski uphill for 7,000-to-9,000 feet in elevation nearly every single day in 2024. Starting in the mountains near his current home in Stowe, VT, Dines currently plans to follow the snow conditions to other locations to achieve his goal of three million feet vertical feet skied in Stowe.
While Dines believes this effort will be one of the first times he’s really pushed himself and committed to a hard effort, he also shared the story of biking a couple of months ago 75 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona to the Grand Canyon, sleeping on the ground for a few hours, and waking at 2:45 a.m. to run 45 miles over 13 hours and traverse up and down the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim with temperatures up to 102 degrees, before returning to Flagstaff on bike the next day. He said that was considered “just wanting to try something cool.”
Dines’ vertical skiing record attempt will be cataloged by uploading and sharing his daily activity recording on his smartwatch to the website Strava. He reached out to the former record holders Rice (just over 2.5 million feet in 2016) and the original record holder Greg Hill (two million feet set in 2010) to announce and state this intention for his upcoming attempt, gain their approval, and get advice.
Records for more extreme athletic endeavors cost tens of thousands of dollars to be sanctioned by a body such as Guinness, and tend to be governed by the honor system. Dines will be following Rice’s practice of a good faith attempt to stick to the guidelines set out by Fastest Known Time, a website that serves as an online database intended for ultra and extreme runners and hikers to record times for notable routes. (In good faith statistics, 2016 and 2024 are both Leap Years.)
What will it take to break the record? Physically, Dines has been training – working on fitness, endurance, and strength. Besides skiing, he runs laps up and down the mountains and peaks around Stowe. He does a lot of uphill biking on gravel and has been working on core strength.
Mentally, he is preparing with focus, knowing there will be long days battling through constant mental and physical exhaustion and preparing for the many days he will be skiing alone. Friends are planning to join him and help support him along the way at times, including the current record holder, Aaron Rice, and Dines imagines he will ski with the local ski community wherever he may be.
Logistically, Dines is thinking about scheduling and planning. He knows he wants to start and end the year-long journey with his local ski community in Stowe, VT. He’ll need to minimize time off for travel, but will also need to follow the snow.
From Vermont, he’ll likely spend the early spring in the mountain west (likely Utah), then on to the Pacific Northwest (perhaps Mt. Hood), and in summer head to either South America or Europe (a bucket list destination) before reversing course back through the west and ending in Vermont to hopefully celebrate reaching his goal on his home turf joined by his local crew.
A big part of the logistics is coming up with funding. Dines is spending the next two months focusing on corporate and individual sponsors and donations to help his quest. He’s grateful to sign on with Fischer Skis, who will provide his gear, and two Vermont companies – Offshore Greens (nutritional protein shakes) and Plink! (electrolyte drink tablets) that are also providing some supplies.
He has a GoFundMe set up and invites anyone interested in sponsorship to contact him through Instagram. Funding will help support (and will determine) housing (he envisions renting a room or small apartment on the road, just big enough to sleep/rest well, allow him to spread out his gear to dry and store and prepare food), travel, and food.
What’s a day going to look like? Dines has experimented and come up with a schedule that seems to work best for his body. The current day-to-day plan is to wake up around 6 a.m., have breakfast and coffee, get to the mountain by 7 a.m., and ski for a few hours hoping to climb 5,000 vertical feet (this may mean repeated laps of smaller hills). Eighty-to-ninety percent of his time spent skiing is going uphill accumulating those vertical feet to the goal, and the remaining time is skiing back down the hill (downhill is not included in the vertical feet skied).
Midday, Dines plans to return to wherever he is staying, refuel, lay all his gear out to dry and take care of any gear or body maintenance or repairs, and nap. And then repeat in the afternoon, returning to the hill for a second session, and back home to refuel, rest, maintenance, and dry out. Dines will also be reserving enough time and energy to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs, to maintain and prevent issues with his gear and body (duct tape is one of his secret weapons for blisters, which are imperative to take care of right away), and getting eight-to-nine hours of sleep per day.
Having to stop to repair a broken binding, coming home to an empty refrigerator, and needing to take an afternoon off skiing to go grocery shopping, or being in the wrong location for skiing snow-wise, could mean having to make up a few thousand to tens of thousands of extra feet down the road.
He plans to ski no matter the weather – he’s skied in temperatures down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit with an even colder wind chill on Mount Mansfield, and also in 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pacific Northwest. He’ll need to persist whether there is sun, wind, rain, ice, blinding snow, sleet, or avalanche conditions.
Dines doesn’t expect to have room for much else in the day. There’s no expectation of a social life besides who is with him or who he might meet day to day while skiing on the mountain. He’s anticipating the joy skiing brings him, the personal challenge, and the ski community on the mountains to fulfill and entertain him.
He explained that some people backcountry ski to be able to ski down hills they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, the rush and payoff of the downhill is worth the effort put into the climb, but he enjoys it all.
“I love the whole process, both up and downhill. The more I ski, the happier I am,” Dines said.
Dines is so focused and looking forward to the journey ahead and working towards his goal that when asked what comes in 2025, he had no ideas. More skiing is likely going to be the answer.
- To donate to Noah Dine’s Quest for 3 million GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-quest-for-3-million
- Follow Noah Dine’s Quest on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/55101907
- Noah Dines Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_noah_asher_/
- The Big Ski Year Substack: (intended to keep updates, but has links, some press, and other information: https://noahdinesski.substack.com/