How do you top your own record of climbing and skiing one million vertical feet in a single season? For most, it’s an insurmountable task. For Greg Hill, who set the 1-mil mark in 2004-05, it was simple: double that in a calendar year. Hill did just that in 2010. For the mathematically challenged, that’s the equivalent of climbing and skiing 5,500 vertical feet every single day, for an entire year. That’s a pretty hearty day for most backcountry skiers, but it also assumes Hill didn’t take any rest days, days off for his kid’s birthday or hanging out at trade shows, which of course Hill had to do at various points during the year.
The Two-Million-Vertical Man, Greg Hill. What does Hill’s signing signify for Salomon?
Simply put, Hill is a skinning and skiing machine. His 2-mil record will likely stand for years to come. All of this made him the perfect face for Dynafit, the market leader in lightweight touring bindings. So his decision to leave Dynafit for Salomon raises more questions than it answers.
Salomon, of course, has been focusing more and more on the backcountry ski market in recent years. They continue to refine their Quest boot line and last year they unveiled the Guardian backcountry touring binding, which will hit stores this fall. But while the Guardian has been receiving accolades for what it is: a burly Alpine-style binding with touring capabilities, it’s not intended to be the tool for the 10,000-plus vertical-foot days in the backcountry that Hill is known to rack up (and certainly not for the 50,100 vertical feet that Hill and Crested Butte’s Jimmy Faust logged in 24 hours in 2006, another record).
The question that arises, then, is what does Salomon have up its sleeve? They already have a bevy of athletes qualified to usher in the Guardian and Quest projects (Mike Douglas, Jamey Parks, Cody Townsend, Mark Abma, Elyse Saugstad, Kim Havel… the list goes on). Does the signing of Hill signify that there is a lightweight, tech-compatible touring binding in the works at Salomon? Time will only tell. As of now, the company is being tight-lipped about their plans, to the point that the brand manager refuses to talk about it with her own husband (full disclosure: I’m the husband in question).
In the meantime, here’s the press release from Salomon:
Salomon Freeski signs leading ski mountaineer Greg Hill
Hill will contribute heavily to the development and marketing of Salomon backcountry and freeski products
Ogden, UT–July 9, 2012–Salomon, the leader in technical design andinnovation in mountain sports, has signed record-breaking ski mountaineer, Greg Hill to its international athlete team. As one of North America’s premier backcountry skiers and mountaineers, Hill’s many accomplishments include climbing and skiing two million vertical feet in one year.
Hill’s strengths in backcountry product knowledge, mountain climbing, alpine skiing and global relationships will be instrumental in further developing Salomon’s product offering and brand focus in the backcountry ski market.
“Greg Hill is the complete alpine package and a greataddition to the Salomon team,” says Jesse Malman, Salomon Freeski Sports and Community Marketing Manager. “He brings an obvious and intense background and passion for skiing and touring in the backcountry, which is crucial in our mission to continue developing and bringing to market innovative and ground-breaking products.”
“I can still remember my first pair of Salomon boots in ”93 and knew it was the best pair of boots I’d ever had, so working with Salomon is a dream come true,” says Greg Hill. “Being able to take my experience and passion from the mountains and work with Salomon’s direction and commitment to the backcountry aligns perfectly with my skiing objectives.”
Hill’s many backcountry milestones include the first person to climb and ski two million vertical feet, set a world record of 50,000 feet climbed and skied in 24 hours, climbed and skied Mt. Blanc in a day (11 hours) and has notched more than 180 summits throughout the world, including many first descents. Hill lives in Revelstoke, B.C. with his wife and child. Other major sponsors on Hill’s resume include fellow Amer Sports brands Arc’teryx and Suunto, as well as Clif Bar and Backcountry.com.