[R46R, Whitefish Mountain Resort] sold nearly 8,000 season passes for this winter. Those passholders surpassed one billion vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding by late February this year, resort officials announced.

"These kinds of really big numbers seem to be getting a lot of news coverage lately," said resort spokesperson Donnie Clapp in the announcement. "You know, billions, trillions, that sort of thing. From what I've heard, even Congress is on the absurdly-large number bandwagon."

Whitefish Mountain Resort has been tracking the number of vertical feet its season passholders for several years. Passholders can keep tabs on their totals, as well as snooping on the vertical of their friends, on the resort's Web site.

Whitefish passholders had skied a total of 1,008,115,366 vertical feet by Feb. 24 in the 77 days since the resort's opening this winter in December. Season passholders had to amass more than 13,092,407 vertical feet per day to achieve the historic one billion vertical feet mark.

"It's a tough job we ask our local pass holders to take on," said Clapp. "Every morning, the people who live in Whitefish wake up and know that they have to go hit the slopes to do their part. I'm sure that seems pretty horrible to all the city dwellers out there who only have to ski a few days a year, but Whitefish is very close-knit. It's a team effort, and we all help each other through."

The most prolific skier in Whitefish had skied over 2,618,428 vertical feet, averaging 16 runs per day on Chair 1, but could not be persuaded to stop skiing long enough to comment.