World Record Attempt 2017:
Greatest Vertical Distance Snowboarded in 12 Hours
On 12 March 2017, Winter Sports Company are supporting Keith Hayes as he takes on 12 hours of snowboarding at Sun Peaks Resort. His goal is to achieve the greatest vertical distance snowboarded in 12 hours . As we prepare for this record breaking day, we chatted to Keith about why he wants to break this record.
How long have you been snowboarding, and how did you get into it?
I was formerly a windsurfing instructor running schools in the West Indies for many years, mainly St Lucia, so for me Snowboarding was a way of windsurfing on the mountain in the winter, albeit without a sail! I was always comfortable being sideways on and for that reason always found skiing difficult. I actually learnt on the indoor snow slope in Milton Keynes about 20 years ago, and have snowboarded a few weeks every winter since. Mainly all over Europe but Sun Peaks too. My son was a ski racer so we travelled a lot all over Europe to events and that gave me the opportunity to do more snowboarding!
Why the Greatest Vertical Distance Snowboarded?
Because I’m older now – the wrong side of 50 – cruising all day is better on the body than tricks and big air! I was looking at what Snowboarding records existed and although there were lots about tricks and big air there was nothing official about distance. Originally I wanted to set an actual 12 hour distance record in kilometres, however when I went through the official process of registering the attempt it was changed to greatest vertical distance in a continuous 12 hour period. Not something young boarders would go for, riding the same run again and again, but for me, that’s cool! I’m inspired by both my son and daughter and believe in the quote ‘you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream‘.
We know why we love Sun Peaks – but why did you choose Sun Peaks for this challenge?
My son, now a CSIA level 3 instructor, did his gap year season in Sun Peaks, in fact he booked his level 3 course through Winter Sports Company. I visited him for a couple of weeks and was hooked on the resort. Then, when thinking about this record, Sun Peaks came to mind because the resort is perfect with a high speed quad leading to very repeatable runs back down with a reasonable vertical. A good balance between lift time up and speed down. It is actually quite rare to find this combination, lifts and runs in Europe tend to zig zag all over the place. I then floated the possibility of doing something here past Barney Moaut, the outdoor operations director and I have to say he has been absolutely brilliant in offering the resorts support for this attempt, I cannot thank him enough.
It sounds very exciting, and we’re honoured to have been asked to support you break a world record. What will be involved on the day?
I am hopeful that if a descent benchmark can be set that this can be challenged each year, perhaps becoming an annual 12 hour snowboarding challenge. There is a lot of ‘process’ to go through to make it an official Guinness World Record, in my case to be accepted the entire event must be filmed – every second of it! There must be witnesses logging the times at the top and bottom of each run and the witnesses at the end have to sign statements and write a brief note of what they have witnessed. In addition it must be clear what run I’m on in terms of numbers so I have sets of laminated numbers 1-50, these must be visible so they appear on the film. In addition as many photos as possible of the event taking place! So support is invaluable. It’s one reason why things like this are not attempted that often, they are actually really difficult to organise. I will be using 2 Tom Tom Bandits, as the battery life is very long and the batteries are easily and quickly replaced.
So, what is your snowboard of choice for this adventure?
For me and cruising I have a Jones Mountain Twin which I love, a great combination of camber and rocker and easy swing from edge to edge. As I was a windsurfer and never ride switch, I tend to have both feet pointing forward, front angle about 18 degrees and back about 9. Feet fairly close together (old stiff body!) about 20-21 inches.
And you’re hoping to raise some money along the way?
Yes, my daughter is a British Climbing champion and has always suffered from a mild form of absence Epilepsy so I wanted to try and do something that would raise more awareness and some much needed funds for Epilepsy Action.
Keith will be attempting to use the Sundance Chairlift at Sun Peaks, and will descend the Sundance run over 40 times on 12 March 2017. During the 12 hours he will rack up around 18-20,000 metres of vertical distance and if successful will smash the benchmark distance of 12,500 metres. On 12 March, follow Keith’s record attempt as it happens on the Winter Sports Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #SnowboardWorldRecord. Those who wish to donate to Epilepsy Action please visit Keith’s fundraising page.
What is life without adventure? Nothing!