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Old 01-31-2012, 06:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking Jackson Hole Feb 9th-13th

Hey everyone! I've been reading the forum for the past 2 month or so, but this is my first post. This is my 14th or 15th season riding and I'm going to Jackson Hole Feb. 9th-13th. I've been able to do a trip out west every year for the past 8 or 9 years. I've been to most of the I-70 resorts during that time, and was able to ride Steamboat last year. My brother lived in Denver, so that was convenient. But now that he lives in Dallas, we decide to step it up a notch and take a trip to Jackson.
We fly in on the 9th, around noon. We are planning on riding Snow King for a couple hours that day, since they have night riding and its in Jackson where we are staying and I have a $5 dollar off coupon, and then riding JHMR for the next 3 days. We already have a 3 day lift ticket deal at JHMR through the Best Western, so Targhee is not an option (maybe next time). We both have basic AVI gear (beacon,shovel, probe), but neither of us have taken an AVI 1 course, only read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain and watched the online avi courses that have been posted on this site. That being said, we are planning on staying inbounds, unless a local with some knowledge is nice enough to show us around the BC, especially since the snowpack has been so sketchy the season.
Has anyone been this season or past seasons? Is anyone going to be there while we are there? Anyone have any insights or recommendations for our trip? I'm just looking for any info that might increase the awesomeness of the trip. I know it will awesome no matter what, but I am always open to suggestions and opinions. I will be posting updates while I am there (unlike the last guy that went to JHMR in Dec and never updated his post). My brother has a helmet cam, so I am hoping to post some vids and pics.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and suggestions.


PS... I ride a 159 Burton Custom X wide 6' 185 lbs. Cartel EST bindings Ruler boots Dakine Pro II pack....if any cares...
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I did a week long new year/early January trip to Jackson. I am not a BC guy (at all).

Assuming that your flight lands on time and that you get your bags with your gear (which is a flip of the coin at JAC because they do not have enough staff to unload baggage from two planes simultaneously)... you might want to spend the extra ~$16 per person to charter an Alltrans van so that it is waiting on you after you land.

The Snow King has been closing earlier than normal this year (night session only ran till 6:30pm while I was there), so you'll want to high-tail it if you want to get more than 3 hours riding in that first night. Between unboarding the plane, getting to town, eating lunch, checking into the hotel, gearing up and waiting for the Start Bus... it will take some effort to be at Snow King by 3:00PM.

Consider going straight to the Snow King, eating lunch at their (admittedly overpriced) hotel restaurant, asking the staff for a spot to stow your bags and riding for a couple of hours before you check in at the Best Western.

Unfortunately, you'll be riding JHMR during a weekend which means that the tram line will be longer than normal. My advice is to get the mountain early and ride the tram up for your first runs. Hopefully the snow cover on Rendzevous is deeper than when I was there (I will post some photos tonight)... but there is no better introduction to the terrain there.

I could go on and on about JHMR, but you should get the good from a long time local instead - Jackson Hole Guide To Skiing Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - EpicSki Community

10% beginner terrain = fun almost no matter where you go.

If you are looking for the 'side country' experience without having to go out-of-bounds then talk to a ski patroller and find out what the conditions on Headwall or the top of Casper are like. Headwall is a 15-minute-for-locals (~25-30 minutes for those of us who dwell at sea level or don't run marathons) hike to non lift-served terrain. It dumps right into lift served terrain. If you hike it, do yourself a favor the first time and hike all the way over to Casper and try not to pee your pants after you see what you'll be riding down
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info Tarzanman!

I believe the Best Western has a shuttle picking us up at the airport, so that is covered. Is Snow King close enough to walk to from the Best Western? The town doesn't seem huge from pictures, but it sure doesn't look tiny. After looking at the START routes around town, it looks like it takes us on a scenic ride around town if we were to go from the Best Western to Snow King. Snow King is the last stop, and our Hotel is one of the first, even though the distance between them isn't that much. The bus heads toward Snow King, then makes a left and starts to go all around town, instead of straight to Snow King (if that makes any sense).

I think 2 or 3 hours of riding at SK would be fine the first afternoon, just to give our legs a little exercise. Did you have a chance to ride there? If so, how was it? Did you stay in Teton Village or in Jackson when you were there?

I actually had already found Bob Peters' guides before I found this website, but thanks for the link again. It is a must read for anyone going to Jackson Hole. The weather forecast isn't looking favorable for when we are there. It looks like no new snow for at least all next week. I'm still praying that will change though. I'm wondering if we get a guide to take us into the BC, if there will be any untracked pow still around 2 weeks after the last storm. I don't know how quickIy inbounds gets tracked out. I guess only time will tell.

PS. I think I was referring to you in my original post about the person who went to JH and didn't update their post. No hard feelings. I was just really excited to hear more about it, and a little disappointed when it just ended. Thanks again for your insight!
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I visited JH for the third straight year this year, and along Tarzanman's excellent insight, here are my rambling thoughts:

- The Best Western is a little less than a mile from Snow King, so you're looking at about a 20 minute walk with all your gear. If you take the "Town Shuttle" START bus (startbus.com), which is free, you're looking at roughly 22 minutes, so I'd hop on the bus. Other routes, including the one to Teton Village, are $3 each way.

- Directly across from your hotel is a great sports bar called Sidewinders. They have about 40 big screen TVs including a huge projection screen in the main dining room. Definitely check out the "S" stuffed pretzel appetizer...For other nightlife in town you're best options are the Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel, the Cadillac Lounge and the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (all about a mile from your hotel. There's another place called the Tavern in the Square, but a buddy of mine who lives out there says that's the place to go if you're looking to get into a bar fight. Keep in mind that they have taxis in town that have a standard in town rate of $10, so you can get around town pretty easily, even without the shuttle.

- As for the mountain, if there's not going to be any fresh snow, I recommend doing a couple laps on the Apres Vous lift to get the legs going, then working your way across toward the Gondola/tram. If the gondola and tram lines are really long (I don't think I ever waited more than three boxes, about 30 minutes, for the tram in the last three years, though), take one ride up the tram, peek (or drop) into Corbet's, then make your way down Rendezvous Bowl and stay mid-mountain on the Sublette, Thunder and Marmot chairs to access most of the sickest terrain there (gotta try Alta Chutes, Paintbrush and Tower Three Chute if they're open, and the Expert and Lower Expert Chutes are great) and to avoid the biggest crowds. Off of the Sublette chair, you can take a traverse around the corner and drop into Tensleep Bowl, which is directly below the runout of Corbet's Couloir. Pretty cool views from below if you're a pussy like me and didn't do it (closed this year, but I wimped out hard last year!) Another cool area, if it's not too bumped up, is North Hoback. It's basically 2100 vertical feet of leg burning torture, but if the snow is soft it's really fun. There's some great stuff off the Casper lift, too (Moran Face, Moran Woods, Jackson Face, etc.), but those weren't open when I went this year.

- Take Tarzanman's advice and check the conditions on the Headwall, Casper Bowl and the Crags, which some locals call "Marioland" cuz of all the snow mushrooms (pillows) after a fresh storm; if the snow's good, it's well worth the hike. There are two ways to get there...one is via the "white spider," a nasty bootpack directly behind the gonola restaurant, and the other is via "Pepi's Bench," which requires you to take that traverse into Tensleep. From there, stay high, keep your speed and try to make it to the entrance. You'll see the people heading there....

The key with JHMR, and any mountain, really, is to stay on the north-facing slopes. they don't get as much sun, so the snow is likely to stay chalky and fun, rather than sun-crusted and awful.

- After a hard day on the slopes, grab a beer at the Mangy Moose, Nick Wilson's or the Village Cafe....

- one anecdote: my buddy out there says he hears people all the time say how they've done black and double black trails at other places and that they'll have no problems at JHMR, and for some people that's true...his response is to ask them if they've ever felt the sensation of shitting their pants. Some of their Blue trails are steep enough to slide and on one they have to hook the grooming maching to a cable in the mountain and use a winch to get it up the slope (Laramie Bowl). And there are some places you can get cliffed out if you take a wrong turn, so be careful!

Hope this helps! I'm sure I forgot some things, so let me know if you'd like any additional info.

By the way...my avatar photo is me nearly passed out after climbing up the White Spider last year!
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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its the 12th and no update?! what gives!
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry for not updating while I was out. I just walked in the door. I had all intentions of updating, but JHMR KICKED MY ASS!!! I was so exhausted after riding each day that after the hot tub and dinner it was bed time. I dont have time for a full review right now but here is the jist of it. 7 tram rides, 3 gondalas, and 2 sublette chair rides, which was about 40,600 vertical feet of riding. Hiked the white spider the first day and rode casper bowl. Hiked the longer headwall trek twice on the last day and rode capser again each time. My basic takehome is that JHMR will put you in your place when it comes to your riding abilities!!! I also got a couple pretty deep gouges in my base, but im sure that they are repairable. Great trip and I will post some pics, vids, and more details later this week. Lots of great vids of me falling and tumbling after rock drops!!!
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