Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole, WY - 1/10-1/13/14

It's a new year. 2014 means I'll be 34 years old in May. Wow. I guess I might as well just keep living an awesome life.

While everyone back here in the east was wallowing through a warm, rainy weekend, I headed out to Driggs, Idaho for a few days of adventure at some places I'd never been before. Unfortunately, there aren't too many pictures because I was too busy skiing and having fun the whole time.

The first two days we hit Grand Targhee. Friday was great. About 8 inches of fresh pow with a nice base:

The next day, there was another 4 inches of snow, but it must have rained briefly the night before because there was a crusty layer under the fresh snow. It made the ungroomed terrain pretty hard work, but everything that had been groomed was in great shape: Powder on top of hardpack. We stuck to those trails and some lower mountain glades that had been relatively sheltered from the rain. We skied at a more relaxed pace, quit a little early to watch football, and petted this avalanche dog:

Sunday at Jackson Hole was awesome. About a foot of new snow and just a great day to ski. Enormous crowds, and everyone was just charging all over the mountain, looking for powder stashes. We found our best pow off the Gondola and out in the Hobacks. No great pics, but there are a couple shots of us having fun:

And one to give you an idea of the snow conditions:

After skiing, we hung out at the Mangy Moose, which deserves its reputation as one of the best ski bars in the country. Then we went into the town of Jackson, ate at an amazing restaurant, then went to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (where the barstools are saddles) for more drinks. Great times.

The next day, we got another 6 or 7 inches of snow. Originally, we had planned a backcountry day in Teton Pass, but with the avalanche danger listed as "considerable", we decided to pass on the Pass. So we headed back to Jackson Hole for another day at the resort. The crowds were significantly smaller on the weekday, so we were able to do 2 quick Gondy laps before we jumped on the Tram:

There was absolutely no visibility in the Rendezvous Bowl, which was too bad, because the snow was awesome. Back in the Hobacks, though, everything was clear and powdery. Tons of good skiing. We also did a couple of laps on the Casper lift, which seemed to be overlooked by a lot of people there and had really nice tree lines.

Like a lot of mountains, the whole Tram thing seems overrated at Jackson Hole. There is just so much terrain off of the Gondola, the Casper Lift, the Thunder Quad and the Sublette, it's hard to imagine doing more than one Tram ride per day. Also, you'd need a good week to really explore Jackson, and at least a couple of seasons to ski all the good lines on the mountain. It is just that big and fantastic. 

The only downside to the trip is that Corbet's Couloir wasn't open on Sunday (Saturday, the Tram line was too long all day to attempt a run at it). Corbet's has been on my skiing bucket list since I was a kid, so I guess I'll just have to make a return trip to Jackson at some point to rip it up. Let's hope it doesn't take another 34 years. The 15' cliff drop at the entrance might be pretty difficult at 68.

What's that you say? You want a GoPro edit? Well, here you go:

Grand Targhee/Jackson Hole, WY from Matt Charles on Vimeo.

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