2Point5Mil: Balance


It is easy to be excited about skiing 2.5-million vertical feet when you are getting faceshots. Photo courtesy Aaron Rice.

Life is all about balance.

I am certainly not the first to say this, and I will definitely not be the last. In my quest to skin and ski 2.5 million vertical feet in a year, however, it’s becoming very clear to me just how critical balance is.

Having the physical ability to ski 10,000 feet per day for several months straight is not the real challenge—the greatest hurdle is ensuring my nutrition is good, creating enough time to socialize so I don’t lose my mind, staying healthy, staying in touch with friends and family and everything else that isn’t skiing but is critical to success.

By diving so deeply into this goal, my life’s balance has been turned upside down. Let’s start with the simple things. The first obstacle I hit revolved around nutrition and recovery. About a month in, I was waking up exhausted; my legs were tired from the moment I rose out of bed. To overcome this, I began stretching daily and adjusting when and what I was eating, including guzzling a good recovery drink right after finishing each day. It took a week or so to sort things out, but balance returned to my physical system.

But it goes deeper. I spend about 10 hours a day skiing, plus an hour commuting, plus an hour and a half eating, plus half an hour stretching, plus an hour getting out of bed and going to bed, plus eight hours sleeping.

Add that up and it totals 22 hours of pre-defined time every day, which offers about two hours of discretionary time, if I’m lucky. Time spent socializing is minimal, as is time spent relaxing my brain or doing anything fun that is not skiing.


While the turns may be good, everyone needs a down day sometimes. Photo courtesy Aaron Rice.

I am not complaining about this schedule—it’s what I signed up for. The biggest challenge I am facing right now, however, is making sure that I stay happy and motivated.

Humans are social beings and as much as it would be easier to go ski for 14 hours a day and not talk to anyone, it’s just not possible. While I don’t have the perfect solution, the 4:1 carb:protein recovery drink that works so well for the physical side, I am working on answers to find a better balance. I am trying to take more “rest” days, where I only ski two to four-thousand vertical feet. I am also trying to have one fast day where I use smaller skis, to get in the same amount of vertical in half the time (but with much less quality skiing). I feel like I’m making some progress.


Sometimes you need to sacrifice quality for quantity and speed. Photo courtesy Aaron Rice.

So, what’s the point? Wouldn’t it just be easier to quit?

I don’t think so. Everyone struggles with finding his or her own balance. For some, it’s about juggling work and play. For others, its work and family. No matter how you set up your life you will always be trying to find the ideal balance. Hopefully, when I have completed my year, I will not only have skied as much as possible all over the world, but will also be better at finding balance when things are tough.

As Aaron Rice stacks up vertical all year long, he’ll be sharing his stories on BackcountryMagazine.com under the tag and title 2Point5Mil. Find more about Rice at airandrice.com, through his Instagram feed, @airandrice, and on Snapchat at airandrice. You can also track his progress of monster touring days on Strava.

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