World Record Attempt 2017: Greatest Vertical Distance Snowboarded in 12 Hours

On 12 March 2017, Winter Sports Company will be 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 prepared for this record-breaking day, we chatted to Keith about why he wanted 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 in St Lucia. 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 learned to snowboard 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 allowed me 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. Although there were lots of 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 the 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 my son and daughter and believe in the quote ‘you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream‘.’

Why did you choose Sun Peaks for this challenge? 

‘My son, who is 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. I have to say he has been brilliant in offering the resort’s support for this attempt. I cannot thank him enough.’



What will be involved on the day?

‘I hope this can be challenged each year if a descent benchmark can be set, perhaps becoming an annual 12-hour snowboarding challenge. There are many ‘processes’ 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 in 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 tough to organise. I will be using 2 Tom Tom Bandits. The battery life is very long, and the batteries are easily and quickly replaced.’

What snowboard will you be using? 

‘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 reasonably close together (old stiff body!) about 20-21 inches.’

Fund Raising

Yes, my daughter is a British Climbing champion and has always suffered from a mild form of absence Epilepsy. Hence, I wanted to try and do something that would raise more awareness and some much-needed funds for Epilepsy Action.

The Details

Keith will attempt to use the Sundance Chairlift at Sun Peaks and 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. Please visit Keith’s fundraising page for those who wish to donate to Epilepsy Action.