HOW TO SKI 365 DAYS EVERY YEAR: IF ARNIE CAN DO IT, YOU CAN TOO!

Just because Europe has started to close its slopes, it does not mean that the snow season is over. In 1994, Snow+Rock supplied author and journalist Arnie Wilson with clothing and equipment for his ambitious and inspiring project: to prove that it is possible to ski 365 days per year. Covering a minimum of 10 miles every day across 13 countries, Arnie and his late French partner Lucy Dicker skied 3,678 miles in total, which is the equivalent of skiing down Mount Everest 140 times. Here is how Arnie and Lucy achieved their incredible adventure, skied in every USA state and how you can do it too.


How Arnie Met Mike:

Mike and Arnie (right) in Meribel, France, in 1994.

 

“I felt a great warmth to Snow+Rock because I was always treated very well by them. I’ve always felt that they were great friends and supporters of mine, starting with my relationship with their founder, Mike Browne. I first met Mike at a ski show before he started Snow+Rock and we got on tremendously well. Mike knew in mid-1993 that we were seriously planning our trip in 1994 and he was anxious that we were fully-covered for equipment.

 

“In-between Mike promising Lucy and me all of the equipment that we wanted he had a terrible accident. He was working on a brochure shoot and said that he was wearing sunglasses that were a bit too dark without a clear image of where he was skiing. He skied over the edge and fell a long way.

 

 Arnie, Mike and Lucy.

 

“One of the things that inspired Mike to get going again in life after that awful accident was that he made us this promise to come out and give us new skis and anything else that we needed. It was a moving moment when he came out to Meribel, which was very early on in his recovery process. He was just beginning to learn how to sit-ski. Because he was already a brilliant skier, he adapted so quickly that we could hardly keep up with him, even though he was only beginning to recover from his injuries.”

 

Skiing Everyday, Enjoying Every Moment

Heli-skiing in Manali, India. The operation had closed for the summer by the time Arnie and Lucy got there, but Arnie did return later to heli-ski there.

 

“We would ski first thing in the morning every day, just in case anything happened like a puncture or a break down. If we had an early morning flight we would ski during the night instead.

 

“We rented 26 Avis cars throughout the year and ended up driving across a lot of America instead of taking planes. This is why we went to states like Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky and Alabama. It was a brilliant idea because we didn’t deliberately choose to go to some of these unexpected locations. In doing so we found a whole new world of skiing, like Cloudmont in Alabama, which had about two runs.

Lucy and Arnie

 

“On the morning we left for South America we took skidoos up Mammoth Mountain and skied at 4am. We then flew from Los Angeles to South America. When we got to Bariloche in Argentina, driving from Chile in a friend’s farm truck, we stayed there for a week. We didn’t try to ski somewhere different every day, otherwise we would have run out of locations in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

“We were fitter at the end of the year, of course, and we wanted to carry on, but unfortunately I had to do some work. Skiing became part of our daily routine.”

The Best and Latest Kit in 1994

One of our top-line ski suits with embroided sponsors in 1994.

 

“I’ve never thrown anything away from that trip. The fundamental kit Snow+Rock supplied were skis, poles and the wonderful ski suits, which Lucy got embroidered with all of our sponsors. The ski suits would be as good now as they were then. In these photographs we were wearing the very latest offerings from Snow+Rock. We had three or four each, so we didn’t wear any of them out.

 

“We got given some little gadgets that we fixed to our skis – a wheel that counted the miles. The problem was that you had to ignore them if you caught a Poma lift because they kept counting even when we were being dragged uphill. So we cross referenced them with Avocet watches which Mike also gave us. In those days they were state of the art and told you how many vertical feet you had skied. We worked out that on average 1,100 vertical feet was about a mile, so in the end we abandoned these little gadgets on the back of our skis and just used the Avocet watches.

 

Arnie with a pair of our skis from 1994, which how now describes as “antiques”.

 

 “Skis have changed dramatically too. I know a very good British skier who lives in Tignes. He is one of the best British skiers I have ever seen. About three or four years ago, his mates put him on a pair of skinny skis, the ones that I was using for years, and he found skiing on antiques very difficult. It wasn’t so much the length, but the fact that modern skis turn for you. In the old days you had to physically turn the skis yourself; now, all you have to do is cooperate and the skis will do the work for you.

 

“I am convinced that there is no substitute for a professional ski boot fitting service. Anyone who skis on a regular basis, even once a year, should have their own boots, no question. If you’re a recreational skier, there’s nothing worse than being in uncomfortable boots. I spent so much time in the early years skiing in boots that were tight or painful. Thanks to Snow+Rock, I’ve never looked back.”

Finding Inspiration in the Mountains

Arnie and Lucy wearing the latest Snow+Rock ski suits in 1994.

 

“Mountains are very subjective. I adore the Alps. If somebody asks me what my favourite resort is in Europe I always say Val-d’Isère because the off-piste skiing is fantastic. It is my favourite resort outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I love the Dolomites. I had quite a shock the first time I saw them. They are gorgeous and I get excited by them.
 

“I love going to the Rockies because I watched too many cowboy films when I was younger. The Tetons near Jackson Hole, for example, were the background to a very famous 1950s western called Shane. I always believed that the Americans love coming to the Alps because of all the climbing and early skiing history.

“There is a great sense of excitement and adventure being in the Andes. For people living in the Andes, they may feel the same way about coming to the Alps!
 

“I would love to spend more time in ski resorts during the summer because it’s always been a wonderful experience. Chamonix, for example, has so much to offer in terms of hiking, climbing and mountain biking.”

Realising an American Dream

Arnie’s diary with the milestone of 1 million vertical feet.

 

“About 10 years ago I realised that I only needed to ski a dozen more states before I had done the lot. I’ve got a great chum in America called Bernie Weichsel, who until recently was chairman of the US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. He and I did three different trips to the most obscure places. We finally ended up in Arizona about three years ago, where there was surprisingly good skiing at Arizona Snowbowl. We were really impressed with its size, the snow and the steepness. And then that was it. There is nowhere left!”


Related Articles