What does it take to rack up the most vertical feet with the Aspen Snowmass App? We talked to some of the app’s most frequent users — those in the top 10 in terms of vertical feet accumulated as of December 31, 2018 — and found these common threads: a strong dedication to skiing or snowboarding (daily or almost daily no matter the conditions) and a passion for the Aspen Snowmass lifestyle.

Aspen Snowmass App users are also fond of stats. Whether curiosity or obsession, they like having one convenient place to track their skier days by mountain, vertical feet (including season’s best), and Highland Bowl laps, along with detailed mountain conditions including the snow report, runs open and groomed, and even the mountain cams. (Not to mention the rewards guests receive just for logging into the app: a one-time $10 food and beverage credit, $25 off a ski or snowboard lesson, and 20 percent off logo wear at Four Mountain Sports.)

Here, three of the top 10 Aspen Snowmass app users share how they do it. We hope you’ll be inspired.

"7,000 vertical feet in an hour"

Name & Age: Glenn, 56
Vertical Feet & Rank: 607,508 (No. 1)
Occupation: “Ski bum”
Main Mountain: Aspen Mountain

Glenn is as dedicated to tracking his ski stats as he is to skiing — perhaps even more so. The winter-only Aspen resident, who lives near the gondola, skies every day, about four hours per day — without stopping, and usually top to bottoms.
Your Vertical Feet Can Be Tracked with the Aspen Snowmass App
Your Vertical Feet Can Be Tracked with the Aspen Snowmass App

“I just like to ski,” says Glenn. “So, I can do almost 7,000 vertical feet in an hour, and after four hours I can get 25,000 or 30,000 vertical feet.”

He actually uses two tracking apps while skiing. The other app includes leaderboards so he can see how he stacks up against other skiers and riders — half of whom he knows or skis with, he says.

Glenn has been tracking his ski stats for 20 years — he loves figuring out his averages and knowing exactly what runs he’s skied where — and appreciates that technology now makes it easier to slice and dice all those numbers. During the 2017-2018 season, he skied 138 days and more than 3.3 million vertical feet. Now, a quarter of the way through this season, he’s pleased to report he’s tracking ahead of last season’s numbers.

“The conditions have been pretty good so there’s no reason not to get out there,” Glenn says.

“I just try to go up there as much as I can"

Name & Age: Larry Ledingham, 64
Vertical Feet & Rank: 443,223 (No. 4)
Occupation: Retired/former pastry chef at Bonnie’s
Main Mountain: Aspen Mountain

Larry Ledingham started using the Aspen Snowmass app this season out of curiosity. The longtime local recently retired from 12 years of creating pastries at Bonnie’s (although he still does some part-time work for the on-mountain restaurant), and he was curious to see how many days, vertical feet, and Bowl laps he could get in the first season he’s had in a long time to focus primarily on skiing.
Averaging around five days per week on the hill, with some time off over the holidays, Larry was pleasantly surprised to hear he ranked fourth in vertical feet.

And, he’s racked up an impressive number of Bowl laps — 11 — in the first month of the Aspen Highlands season.
Vertical Tracking with the Aspen Snowmass App
Vertical Tracking with the Aspen Snowmass App

As for the rest of the season, he’ll continue to spend most of his time on Aspen Mountain, with a weekly Bowl hike and the occasional Buttermilk session on his alpine carving board. “I just try to go up there as much as I can and enjoy the mountains,” says Larry.

"Doing Five or Six runs before I come to work improves my attitude"

Name & Age: John Dresser, 60
Vertical Feet & Rank: 401,281 (No. 6)
Occupation: Town Attorney, Town of Snowmass Village
Main Mountain: Snowmass

Fourteen years into his tenure as the Snowmass Village town attorney, John Dresser has his ski routine dialed. The Village resident is one of the first people on the lift at Snowmass when it opens at 8:30am, skis for around 90 minutes, then makes the short commute to his office in Town Hall, where he works until 6pm (or later when there’s public government meetings).
“Doing five or six runs before I come to work improves my attitude,” says John, who can be found on the mountain nearly all day on weekends. “It’s what keeps me sane, thinking things through on the lift, and just charges me up every day.”

John was shocked to learn he had made it into the top 10 for vertical feet — he says he often forgets to turn the Aspen Snowmass app on or shuts it down when his cell phone is low on battery.
Track Your Vertical Feet with the Aspen Snowmass App
Track Your Vertical Feet with the Aspen Snowmass App

But he enjoys being able to quantify his passion. His goal is at least 100 skier days each season, and the app automatically counts your days even if you don’t turn on tracking (as long as your pass is scanned) — more accurate than the old way of ticking off days on a calendar. Now, with the ability to track vertical feet and this year’s longer-than-usual ski season (155 days, thanks to the early opening of Aspen Mountain and a late Easter), he’s aiming for 1 million vertical feet.

And he can do so with complete job security. A few years ago, after a Town Council member brought up his morning skiing routine, John negotiated a clause in his employment contract. While not exactly a powder clause, “it’s an acknowledgment of our lifestyle here,” he says. “It acknowledges that why we live here is to ski, and skiing happens during business hours.”

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About the Author

Catherine Lutz
Catherine Lutz


Catherine Lutz is an Aspen-based freelance writer and editor who helps craft stories and content for the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sojourner magazine, Powder magazine, and many others. An avid skier, paddleboarder, and mountain biker, she’s now vicariously experiencing a second childhood through her two young children in one of the best places on the planet to raise a family.

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