Saturday, March 24, 2012


My bucket list is long and gets longer all the time. One of my longest standing items has been my desire to ski in the west - somewhere, anywhere. I have two children who ski, but they were not meant to benefit from the little gift that fell in my lap.

As it turns out I have a colleague who's family owns a house right on the Jackson Hole Mountain. Ski in and ski out. My colleague was looking for a ski partner during spring break. I didn't even think twice. Neither of my children were on break that week, so it was my treat to myself. I will have to make it up to them another time.

So here are pictures from this wonderful trip. We were very, very, lucky to have extraordinary weather. I knew that Jackson can be extremely cold, but March turned out to be charmed this year with temperatures everyday in the mid-30s to low-40s at the base which is 6000 feet. The top of the mountain at 10,000 feet was in the 20s except for one day when an inversion occurred. That morning it was 32 at the top and 20 at the bottom.

We woke every morning to the sound of canons sounding all over the mountain blowing off avalanche areas. The mountain boasted 380 inches this year with 92 inches currently on the ground. We received another 12 inches while we were there. It doesn't get much better.

We rented demo skis and brought our own boots. This was the greatest decision I have ever made. Every day we awoke to different conditions and everyday the ski shop traded out skis for each variation. I got to experience how different a ski can be and was particularly grateful for a big, wide ski on our powder day.

Most people come to Jackson for backcountry skiing and some very impressive extreme skiing. We stuck to the terrain. That was all I needed because there plenty to keep a person occupied in-bounds.

I will be eternally grateful to my colleague for giving me this experience.

Here we go:

The sun setting as we approach Jackson Hole. I was told that Jackson is on of the hardest airports in the United States for a pilot to land. It is short, windy, and surrounded by very large mountains.

But we made it without a hitch.

Woke up to this view out my window. Ahhhhh.

We got out early to pick up our pre-ordered skis at Teton Village Sports. We were a bit too early, so we stood with our noses pressed against the window until they let us in.

On the first day, the mountains moved in and out of the clouds all day. But it was warm and bright.

Mid mountain shot.
Notice the peak in the background.

Taking in the view.

My colleague's brother and family live on a mesa outside of Jackson, so they joined us for some skiing. Their eight year old daughter was a remarkable skier and put me to shame. But when you live in Jackson Hole Wyoming, I think skiing is your life.

More views.

After a few runs, the eight year old was bored and wanted to go to the top. I was hesitant. This seemed beyond my comfort zone, but my pride didn't allow me to complain. The tram holds 100 people and moves up the 4000 foot expanse in 10 minutes. This was the world at the other end.

The main reason the eight year old wanted to go to the top - was the waffles. They were pretty awesome waffles.

We took the easiest bowl down through the fog.

This prominent peak on the mountain is called the headwall. Lots of people climb the headwall and ski
down any number of shoots and ridges.

Across the valley is a ridge known as Sleeping Indian. Can you see the indian?

This was the mountain house we lived in. A very cozy next under a lot of snow.
The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn again. Eager to make first tracks. This is the little
lift that takes us from the house to the main lifts. It was a quiet lift through the woods and made for a lovely way to start the day.

Another spectacular day. You can see the red gondola cars which takes people up to mid-mountain.

One of the Terrain Parks.
This is the top of the gondola looking up at the top of the tram.

At the top of the gondola is a great restaurant. People can take the gondola up just to go to the restaurant. The food was very good and the view was even better.

The next day was a winter wonderland. It was very foggy and the snow was coming down in buckets.

But we were up at the crack of dawn to trade in our skis. On the way we passed many Ravens. This 
photo is for my mom - who loves Ravens.

We wisely took one of the easier chair lifts to test out the conditions. When we reached the top, we literally could not tell where the snow ended and the sky began. My collegue fell over from vertigo. We didn't know how we were going to get down. It was such as odd experience. We couldn't tell if we were actually moving or if just the snow was moving. We took one turn at a time and slowly made our way down. Luckily as we moved further down the mountain, visibility got better. I can't image what is would have been like at the top - yet people were heading up. We stayed low until early afternoon when the fog began to break.

The landscape was beautiful in the fog.

There are some great restaurants on the mountain and not that expensive. This was a beautiful vegetarian dish: squash, spinach, goat cheese and beet juice. Hmmmm.

The next day was one of the greatest days of skiing I have ever experienced. We traded in our skis again and headed out to get those first tracks in. Usually a mountain deteriorates over the course of the day. This mountain only got better. I didn't have one bad run.

We met people from all over the world including: Iceland, Finland, Italy and Norway.

Here we are in our glory.

Here is the headwall again - you can see people trudging up the trail.

Another popular activity on the mountain was parasailing (I think?). People take the tram up with the sail in a backpack, unload and run off the top. It is pretty cool.

We headed to the top again today because the weather was so great. It was even warm and quiet on top. The views were fabulous.

The mountain sports lots of wonderful traverse trails.

This is a series of ridges that are very popular with backcountry skiers. You can see the tracks going off into the sunset.

We had to stop in for more waffles. These were filled with strawberry jam.

Ohhhhh. Ahhhhh.

Once you pass this boundary point, you are on your own. Is your beeper working???

The Sleeping Indian in the sunset.

This is the Elk Refuge. During the winter, they are fed and cared for by the National Park Service. I couldn't get any closer for a better shot - but you get the idea.

The Grand Tetons.

This was a lovely cowhide couch by a cozy fire at the airport, but I was too sad to enjoy. It was time to go home.

We left Jackson Hole as uneventfully as we arrived. Another perfect day to be skiing, but all good things must come to an end. I look forward to going again. Anyone want to join me?


  1. Looks absolutely glorious...the Tetons, blue sky, beautiful snow, waffles...looks pretty much perfect!

    1. Beet Juice!!?? Are you serious?
      Happy to hear your happiness!
      Beet juice? Really.

    2. Next time I propose the x-country ski trip into Yellowstone. Anyone up for that trip - I will forward the details.

      Beet Juice is so good and so good for you. I was surprised that the meat loving Wyoming crowd would be so sophisticated.