Saturday, March 03, 2007


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jackson Hole Part I, Grand Teton

The Grand Tenton!
After a hectic few days at work last week I took off Wednesday to Jackson Hole to blow off a little steam and relax in the Wyoming backcountry. Mid week launches are my favorite! It almost feels like I’m getting away with something, they really help to break up the monotony of the work week regiment and remind me what is important in life.
Our group of three “evolved knuckle draggers” called Scrubs (more on that later), included Me, “splitborad” Dave, and JP(Gnarles) loaded up and headed out, excited to hear about new snow at Jackson Hole. We opted not to bring the sleds because the theme of the trip had a PUREST vibe so we were light weight for the drive not dragging the trailer, fully packed, fueled up and set off for WY. Yeah, we were charged up!
One of the reasons we came out was for the Third Annual Scrubfest.
The Scrubfest is a mountain festival that has found a home at Togwotee Pass the last couple years. Backcountry sliders, “one plank or two“ from all over the nation met to enjoy the great Wyoming terrain, snow, and comradery of other people crazy about the backcountry. Festivities included daily backcountry tours, a chili dinner and bon fire, a preview of Thrillhead Creations new movie called "Schralp Town", a “SCRUB” party and an awesome gear raffle.
The “we know snow” crew pulled into Jackson Hole early Thursday morning (2:30 am) after a gnarly 8 hours on the road. The winter storm we were excited about made it slow going leaving Colorado all the way to Jackson Hole because of the high winds and blowing snow over the highway, it was winter driving conditions at their finest. Luckily JP “Mr. Gnarles” was behind the wheel and got the group there safely. Only problem was, that a drive like that has a tendency to AMP up the driver. So much so that even after a safe arrival the senses are keen and alert making it hard to sleep. JP didn’t sleep much that night and would need to rally for the BIG day that awaited us on the mountain.
Day 1:
We slept in for a ski day (except for JP who was wide awake, HA!) and finally got moving Thursday morning about 8:00am. Our plan was to take a few hours to check out the town and sites then focus the rest of our time here on the skiing. My first impression of Jackson, WY was that it had a Moab, UT vibe. It is a down to earth mountain town that forgoes the upscale snootiness of towns like Aspen or Vail. I felt right at home and comfortable immediately. It’s so nice not to see hordes of wealthy tourons (tourist-morons) draped with furs and spandex everywhere. We get enough of those people and their attitudes in Colorado. This town is for the rest of us. A Big Thumbs up for Jackson, WY!

We had a great breakfast meal at the Route 89 Smokehouse Diner Thursday morning before our scenic drive. This little country style diner did everything right. It was fast, good, huge portions, and cheap. The service was friendly even to guys that looked and smelled like we did. I had the classic Denver omelet, it came with hash browns, and toast with orange juice, and coffee for under 7 bucks…beat that.

After breakfast we drove around the area checking out the amazing Grand Teton National park. This area is truly special, I’ve seen nothing like it in my years in the backcountry.

Near the Togwotee Mountain Lodge, Home of Scrubfest!

A day at Jackson Hole mountain resort.
After a couple hours we headed to the resort for a day on the lifts. I’ve been hearing great things about the mountain and am stoked to say it delivered. We rode the Rendezvous section of the mountain most of the day. The most memorable runs were the Alta chutes and Flip Point just below the Laramie Bowl. Still plenty of soft turns even a day after the storm, we had warm weather with no wind, a stark contrast to conditions in Colorado lately.

Pictures: “Splitboard” Dave, Gnarles and myself in the parking lot after a day at the resort.
JP’s gesture in our picture says it all.
----The Scrubs----

Jackson Hole Part II, Togwotee Pass

The skin track short cut.

Teton views 2007

Backcountry riding at East Angle Mountain.
On day two we stumbled on to a spot near Togwotee Pass called Angle Mountain. This area has it all. Great steeps, safe chutes and gullies, powder tree runs, untouched glades and reasonable access. In fact this mountain is so “dialed” that the Togwotee mountain lodge runs a Backcountry Cat operation here.

Some beta from the lodge’s site:
“Angle Mountain offers 750 skiable acres, 1,600 vertical feet, and an average annual snow fall of over 300 inches…Angle Mountain is recommended for strong intermediate to expert skiers and riders”

Thankfully we hardly saw skiers from the Cat tours. In fact it only happened once during our two days in the area. The guys on split boards were able to lay skin tracks near the ridge line and climbed the mountain more directly than the cat. The short cut helped us conserve energy and time. We picked lines on the mountain that were untracked and noticed the cat would only pick up in a central area at the bottom. This meant that the Cat skiers would have to walk back to the pick up spot if they got way back. Most of them were lazy and didn't want to walk out. They stuck to the same sections that were close to the pick up. Which was fine with us.

We did the opposite of coarse and got to the GOODS. The snow was forgiving and the runs are wide open. Enjoy the Stoke...

When we saw the cat skiers on the mountain they were following us! They acted surprised to see us but that was BS. How could they have missed our blower lines on top? It goes without saying that we had already schraped (skied) their POW. Haa-haan Thats how we do.

1. On day three we saw someone get air lifted out of the area we were riding.
2. I won some Crampons at the raffle.

.:: Jackson Hole Backcountry Stokefest ::.