While you're golfing
or biking this summer, Ron Cram is
climbing to new heights. He's skied every
month for nearly seven years. Does he
have a problem?
Edited By Greg Trinker
indefatigable Cal Ripken is closing in on
2,500 consecutive games for the Baltimore
Orioles. Impressive, sure, but does
Ripken have to hike in ski boots for
three hours with skis on his back to
continue his ironman streak? Ron Cram, a
41-year-old medical sales rep from Sandy,
Utah, has skied at least once a month for
68 consecutive months.
started innocently enough on Oct. 29,
1992, when he made a few easy hike-to
runs on the Payday trail at Park City ski
area. He's never looked back. "I
thought I'd continue for a season or two,"
Cram says. "Now, I can't bring
myself to stop. I guess I'll keep skiing
until I can't physically do it anymore."
An expert skier, Cram carves up Utah
resorts in the winter, then hikes and
skis the bowls and saddles of Little
cottonwood Canyon during the summer. His
favorite destinations are Katharine's
Pass at Alta and the Pipeline Bowl, which
is nearly a three-hour hike from Snowbird.
months are August and September, when
Cram may scramble to 11,000 feet to reach
enough snow to click into his K2 Comps.
His usual starting point is the parking
lot at Snowbird. With his skis lashed to
his backpack (someone stole the skis he
kept hidden in a rock outcropping at 10,500
feet), Cram first climbs in his hiking
boots over the moderate terrain, then
switches to ski boots, and finally
attaches crampons for the final ascent.
He tends to ski alone, after work. "My
ski buddies don't seem to want to think
about snow when it's 90 degrees down in
the valley," he explains.
kids ski in the winter, as does his wife,
who "used to fight me on this."
Now, with the streak approaching seven
years, he explains, "she's stopped."
After skiing 68
consecutive months, you learn a few of
the mountain's secrets. Summer snow at
altitude "freezes and refreezes so
many times that it looks like there's a
layer of crushed glass on top," Cram
says. "It even sounds like crushed
glass when you set an edge." And the
summer sun, of course, takes it's toll,
creating "little cupped craters
around any rock or stone because they
attract the heat." The solution?
"You ski around them, of course,"
Cram admits, has taken on a life of it's
own. Even a setback like a heat wave isn't
enough to melt his efforts: In August
1995, Cram couldn't find snow, so he grew
wings. He flew to the glacial snowfields
on Oregon's Mt. Hood to keep his streak
alive. The way he feels now, there isn't
any reason Cram won't ski every month
well into the next century. "Some of
my friends wonder what's wrong with me,"
Cram says. "I guess you could call
me obsessive." ---Greg