Shredding the Gnar

And lovin every minute of it!

Bryan Crushing Pow

As of late, I have basically been shredding the gnar and taking names. You heard me! On Sunday I successfully skied from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm. Almost bell to bell.

The kicker?

I didn’t fall ONCE. This is a big deal for me. We’re talking about Jackson Hole Mountain Resort here people! JHMR has over 3600 vertical feet of skiing, which is the most skiing on natural snow and the most snow of any major resort in the lower 48.

Allow me to back-up. Saturday night, Bryan treated me to my favorite restaurant in JH, Trio. In preparation for our little date night, I followed my pointedly neurotic habitual getting ready routine.

Music ON. Biebs blastin. I did my hair by utilizing  the wrap-your-hair-around-the-curling iron method, to achieve perfect “I didn’t even try” tousled waves. While sipping a vodka + soda, I then moved on to makeup application. I applied my new-to-me Makeup Forever HD foundation with all the accoutrements, including my Smashbox primer and high def micro powder. After smearing my face with various other over-priced cosmetics I nodded in satisfaction as I moved onto wardrobe.

After getting dressed, we were off! We made a proper reservation but got to the restaurant a bit early and opted to sit at the bar. We ordered CT’s, watched the pizza chef manipulate his dough into gorgeous artisan ‘za and snapped a photo.

We ordered 2 appetizers and then split this little beauty:

From the website:

Pan Seared Hawaiian Ono

sage infused gnocchi, crispy prosciutto and brussels sprouts salad, capers, lemon and brown butter

The next morning I surprisingly awoke around 8 am. Maybe it was the promise of a great ski day? More likely though, it was the smell of coffee and egg in the hole  for breakie. We quickly ate and got ready to hit the slopes.

Ski Braid

When we arrived at the Village we were greeted by no line for the Teewinot lift. Perfect for some warm-up laps.

View from the Bottom of the Gondola

We moved on to AV and Casper after that and I felt great! Considering I learned to ski last year and have been out less than 5 times this year, I was pretty proud of myself.

I should probably mention that by NO MEANS am I to the level of 90% of the skiers out there or 99.9% of the locals. I am simply, a somewhat un-coordinated, ex volleyball player from Washington state who considers 20 mintues on the elliptical a viable workout and loves candy. Take me or leave me.

Exemplifying 100% Perfect Form

After a few more runs on Apres Vous, Bry and I traversed over to the Casper lift, skied down and ducked into Casper lodge for the most earth shattering drink I’ve ever had (well, since gimlets).

Concocting

Allow me to introduce my new little friend…

Hot Shnocolate

This would be 1 part coffee, 1 part hot chocolate and 1 part peppermint shnappes. And a little whip. Holla.

After I was warm and toasty inside and out, it was time for more epic runs.

We ended the day by basking in the small pocket of sunshine that opened up and knocking back some well-deserved PBRs.

What’s better than the feeling of actually being excited for the next snow day?

Not much.

Teewinot

 

Jeremy on his bike on the way to Teewinot

Jeremy biking to Teewinot

We met at my house at 4am and drove up to the Bradley/Taggart trailhead (the road from this point through the park is only open to bicycles, runners, in-line skaters…etc). From the parking lot we jumped on our bikes and rode the couple miles to the Lupine Meadows turn off. It was a very cold ride and we had to stop a couple times to warm our hands. There was no moon and the stars were absolutely spectacular! At the Lupine Meadows turn out we locked up our bikes and made our way on skis across the snow covered meadow below Teewinot, looming 6,000 ft above. Skinning up the lower east face was less difficult than I had expected, the snow had firmed nicely with our recent abundant sunshine and lack of snowfall. By sunrise we had progressed up to 8,000 ft and took a short break to watch the sun crest above the Gros Ventres and devour a couple protein bars. Shortly after 9:00 am we reached the “Apex” where the trees give way to the steep, rocky alpine setting of the upper face. At this point the terrain became too steep to climb on skins, so we would have to take off our skis and boot pack the remaining 2,800 vertical feet.
Bryan bootpacking up Teewinot Mountain

Bryan bootpacking up Teewinot

We took a short break at 10,200′ to refuel and determine the snow conditions. We found the snow to be stable enough to climb and ski but the snow on the upper face of the mountain was far from spring conditions. The temperature above 10,000 feet had yet to reach levels that would produce good corn skiing. It was an utterly exhausting effort breaking trail on the 50 degree slope, I had to stop every hundred feet to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my brow. At 11,500′ I reached The Choke, a three and a half foot wide vertical section of ice. I removed my ice tools from my back pack, stowed my ski poles and began to climb the extremely precarious section of ice. Above the choke lay a steep snow field for 500 ft up to The Notch and more exhausting climbing. Reaching the Notch at 1:30 pm I began my descent, the whole east face of Teewinot laid out below me, a fall or mis-step could mean complete disaster. A few years ago a guy fell skiing this route and tumbled 2,000 feet to his death. I would have to remove my skis at the ice choke and down climb with my crampons and ice tools to get back on to snow. After this down climb was over however, there would be no more obstacles, a continuous 4,500 vertical feet of steep untracked snow. The snow was fast and crusty and my weary legs fought to maintain control of my skis. It was terrifying, exhilerating and liberating all at the same time! Jeremy waited above the Apex for me to meet him and as I skied to his position, with the biggest smile on my face that I can imagine, we exchanged words of our amazement at what we had just skied. We then made our down the remaining 2,500 vertical feet of the lower face. What we found was the most amazing corn conditions I have ever skied and one of the best runs I have done all season. We made big easy turns through the wide open trees and gently sloping faces that basked in the sunlight. At 4 o’clock we reached the Lupine Meadows turnoff were we strapped our skis to our backpacks and lazily rode our bikes back to the parking lot. Upon reaching the car we endulged in a couple cold beers and a pint of whiskey and stared up at our accomplishment as a great wave of quiet satisfaction washed over my body.
View of Teewinot

View of Teewinot