Meet The Vertical Tracking Stars Of Aspen Snowmass

Between Fitbits, Apple Watches and apps like Strava and MyFitnessPal, it’s common (and rewarding) to track athletic output. You can see progress over time, increase your skills and push yourself to meet goals big and small.

The Aspen Snowmass App recently joined this fitness-tracking bandwagon, and now you’re able to track vertical feet as you ski on all four mountains — read more about the update here. It’s surprisingly satisfying to see all of those vertical feet add up after a day on the slopes, and even better is seeing that number exponentially increase by season’s end. We caught up with two skiers who have the season’s most vertical feet tracked using the Aspen Snowmass app and asked them all of the important questions including, “What’s your Number?!”

Name: Hayden McDonald
Lives: In Brisbane, Australia (but is visiting Aspen for the 17/18 winter season)
Originally from: Papua, New Guinea
Vertical Feet Skied: 1,040,080
First started using the app: the day after Thanksgiving

Which mountain is your favorite and why?
“They are all special in their own right, and can be so different depending on the time of day and conditions...For me a fun day lapping Ajax is perfect, and if I have lots of energy Highlands is a place that totally challenges me. If I'm looking to cruise, Buttermilk is perfect and when I want an adventure, Snowmass allows you to do it all (I feel there is still so much more to discover).”
Why do you enjoy using the tracking feature on the app?“I was looking for something to keep track of the number of skier days (vertical feet was a bonus and to be honest not something that I had set as a goal). It's a great app, simple to use and easy to see the mountain conditions (snow\grooming report and lift status), events and activities.”

What feature would you love to see incorporated next year?“It would be great if you could see the groomed runs for the day on the map, lift wait times and the location of family and friends who are using the app in real-time. If you unfortunately had an incident on the mountain, or were involved, it would be ideal to be able to send a GPS location of your emergency to Ski Patrol. It would benefit all users of the mountains to be able to see the location of the patroller that has been dispatched, so you can see how far away they are.”

What’s your vertical feet “goal” by the end of the season?
“No particular number. I am loving the Blue Jay days, but as long as I'm in one piece and having fun, I say bring on the snow!”
Name: Glenn AnneseLives: Stowe, Vermont, but lives in Aspen in the winterVertical Feet Skied: 1,979,297First started using the app: Last year
Which mountain is your favorite and why?
“Ajax. I like Silver Queen, Knowltons, Shoulder of Bell Mountain and Nose of Bell Mountain. Both the Bingo Glades and all of the Dumps are really nice.”
When did you start using the app?
“Last year I used it mostly just to track days. I received an email saying they had vertical feet on it, so started using it for that as well.”

What are some of your tips for having a great ski day when conditions are less than optimal?
“The weather is always pleasant! A bad day in New England is thirty below with wind chill… It’s sunny and pleasant in Aspen.”

If you could add a feature, what would it be?
I also use the Alpine Replay app, which is really detailed and shows your runs on the layout of the mountain. I’d like to see something like that included.”

What’s your vertical feet “goal” by the end of the season?
“Three million is my the goal for the season. I’m over halfway there!”

Published on February 2018

About The Author

Celine Wright IAS


Celine Wright is a Colorado native whose writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times and Colorado Springs Gazette, among other titles. During the day she can be found marketing brands in the outdoor industry at Carbondale-based Backbone Media and after hours (dependent on season) she can be found biking, skiing, and hiking in the Aspen area.