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Video of crazy windstorm at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on 3-30-2010
Skiing JH Backcountry 1-19-2011:
Jackson Hole usually starts getting occasional snowstorms sometime during September each year. As the days shorten, the temperatures start to drop, and the sun loses its power, more of that new snow will stick around in the shaded parts of the higher elevations. As October comes around, we usually get a bigger storm or two that will coat the higher mountains with snow that will still be there next spring.
Usually November brings the beginning of the storms that really develop into a "skiable" snowpack. This is when everybody gets antsy about breaking out the skis and skins again. The parking lot at the top of Teton Pass fills up with every snowstorm and the ski shops get busy.
This is the high-energy time in any ski resort town. The tourists haven't come yet, but local businesses are ramping up for opening day and the Christmas rush that inevitably follows. Everybody you see has a big smile every time the snow falls and you can just feel the excitement building.
And here's how it builds:
It was kind of crazy. On Friday afternoon (November 11), there as essentially no snow on the ground at the top of Teton Pass (elevation 8,431 ft). By Sunday morning, there was a LOT:
This is my wife and a friend skinning our way south from the pass toward Mt. Elly:
There had been around 20" of new snow since the storm began, with lots of wind. The avalanche forecast was calling for sustained winds in the 30mph range and ridgetop gusts to 50mph and above. Here's one of the gusts:
And another gust (those weeds are probably 4 feet tall):
All we did was skin along the ridge for about an hour, then turn around and ski back down the skin trail. We didn't do any actual skiing because it's still pretty thin cover, but a couple of guys were skiing Olympic Bowl while we went by:
It looked pretty good, but I think his skis were about twice as wide and mine.
It was a fun little outing. Winter has definitely arrived in Jackson Hole. More snow is supposedly on the way this week with a pretty big storm this weekend.
Y'all be careful out there.
The GOOD news is that it won't be just the Apres Vous white ribbon of death.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort announced yesterday that they will open the following chairlifts this coming Saturday at 9:00am: Apres Vous, Teewinot, Thunder, Casper and the... drum-roll please... BEST NEW LIFT IN NORTH AMERICA, the Marmot chairlift... as well as the Bridger Gondola.
Here's the link to the full story on opening day.
Here's a photo of the ski hill from the valley a week ago:
And we've had about 25" of snow on the mountain since then.
Here's a photo from the 9,300 foot elevation off Teton Pass two days ago:
Should be good.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened the Sublette chairlift this morning, meaning that we now have the Sublette, Thunder, Marmot, Casper, Apres Vous, and Teewinot chairlifts as well as the Bridger Gondola.
I'm pleased to say that two friends and I were the first members of the public to ride the Sublette Chair this season. The patroller in the photo down the page yelled that up to us and we passed over him. It's not quite as cool as grabbing first chair on a powder day, but what the heck.
Conditions are very good on the groomed runs and somewhat variable off-piste. The off-piste has mild moguls in most places and the snow is firm but very edgeable. Overall it's really good skiing, particularly when you consider that it wasn't very many years ago that we wouldn't even be open for another week yet.
Here are a couple of views of Laramie Bowl from the Sublette chair:
I spent most of the morning skiing the line on the looker's lefthand side of the above photo. I didn't hit a single rock in about 8 laps, so even though we need snow the coverage is pretty good.
Here's a patroller surveying his options in the lower part of Alta 3 Chute. The Alta Chutes are not yet open as there just isn't enough snow to cover all the huge rocks:
Rendezvous Bowl is looking mighty thin, partly because it's been scoured by some of the big wind events we've had in the last couple weeks:
And a view out across the valley from the top of Cheyenne Bowl on the road to Rendezvous Trail:
Things are looking good so far for an outstanding season