Stopping at Nothing: Aaron Rice's 2point5mil Project and Broken Hand
Photo: Louis Arevalo
Caption: Aaron collapses due to cramping. He's still figuring out how to eat right in order to keep moving.
By: David Crothers
A couple weeks ago, while skinning along a rocky ridge in the Wasatch, Julbo Athlete Aaron Rice slipped, put his hands out to brace his fall and ended up breaking his hand. “It felt really weird,” Rice says between breaths from the skin track. “It didn’t really hurt, but I knew something was wrong when I felt nauseas and dizzy. So I sat down and ate some food thinking I was just hungry and needed calories.”
Turns out he broke his hand in a couple spots. This might not be significant news to most but to Aaron and his followers, it left everyone asking if he’d be able to continue his ambitious project of skinning two and a half million vertical feet in a calendar year, breaking Greg Hill’s record of two million and subsequently setting a new world record. “I can still ski,” Rice explains. “It’s just slowed me down and has limited what kind of terrain I can manage.”
As of now, he’s over 400,000 vertical feet, just over 40 days in and still going strong. But with a broken hand he’s been limited to laps up Grizzly Gulch at Alta. Before the injury, the Wasatch had been seeing incredible amounts of snow and the skiing had been all-time good. “I was enjoying a good balance of skiing safe south-facing aspects and when the snow turned good again, I would go exploring,” Rice tells me. “Right when the exploring started getting good and the snow was safe, I broke my hand.
The injury may have slowed him down a bit but he’s still able to get in 10,000 foot days. “Immediately after the injury I had a couple smaller days that set me back a little bit,” Aaron says. “And mentally, skiing the same stuff has been hard. But I’m back at it, it’s just going to be slow going over the next few weeks.”
He managed to have the doctors form his pink cast to fit a ski pole so he can still have the ability to hold one if needed. He’ll be in the cast for four to six weeks but even then he’ll have to take it easy until he gains full strength again.