Wednesday, March 31, 2010

After work, really?

It's staying light all the way until 8 pm these days in Jackson which means summer is around the corner, and, when it dumps snow like it has been, the work world can put in a full 8-5 day and still ski powder after work! Ted, Kristi, and I met up at Teton Pass just before 6 pm and skied an awesome pow run, coming down just before dark at 8 pm.

Ted, getting airborne.

Chels and I have been giving Teddy shit for his "Desert Storm" ski clothes that consists of what looks to be cammo green. But for his goggles, he is hard to spot launching this rock.

Ted, clearly having a different take on his "after work commute".

Landing gear is down.

Me dropping into the white room.

And emerging out.

Hauling ass into knee deep goodness.

Ted, getting what were probably the best turns since the middle of January on the last day of March!

Kristi charging.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Visitor

I guess you could say abundant wildlife are some of the perks of living in Jackson, but really? Check it out, this is what I saw when I glanced out the window yesterday afternoon...what??? A moose in the backyard?

How in the world he ended up here is a good question...I imagine to get from the mountain in the background to here, he had to walk over a narrow bike bridge, down the road 500 yards and then make the decision to turn in to our parking lot instead of the others before it! Gray must be his color.

He ended up hanging back here for over an hour yesterday before wandering away.

He actually looks pretty healthy besides the clumpy hair which is pretty normal for this time of year. Look at him giving me his sly little eye. I think he was winking.

Much to the delight of the girls next door who were loving this spectacle, he did a little squat and peed on the lawn!

He also used our tiny little backyard tree to rub up against and get a little afternoon snack.

Here is the guy making a beeline for our flower pots...don't worry, Stevie and I were hunkering behind the glass door, but it was still a little scary to see this animal so close and coming straight at us!

Hey little moosy...hope you made it back to your buddies!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fun Filled Weekend

Chels made a really yummy dinner on Friday night. Polenta Stuffed Peppers. Yep, they were as good as they look.

The last two weekends of the ski season are always one big festive occasion with the Hill Climb, concerts, closing ski day, et. This weekend started off two weeks of awesome-ness.

Serving up the goodness.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnal's played Saturday night out at Teton Village. The Village has been putting on end of the year festivities the last few winters which are always a ton of fun. We saw her a couple of summers ago up at a music festival at Grand Targhee and liked her then too.

Fireworks exploding near the moon.

Not a lot of powder days to celebrate this year, but still this winter was awesome as always.

Mustache March, Stevie approves!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Call me Crazy.........

The 2010 World Championship Snownobile Hill Climb is in town for the weekend. It's really one of my favorite weekends of the year. There is a hill climb circuit that goes on throughout the winter all over the west, and this event is the last of the year, its the "Grandaddy" of snowmobile hillclimbs.

Lots of big trucks, trailers, and ego's!

Kyle Tapio's sleds and trailer. He was the 2009 "King of the King" and overall champion.

This will be the last year that I get to see the same make and model sled that I have climbing the King. Ski Doo has a new 2011 sled that is out and it will be in full force next year. This guy is riding the exact sled as me, albeit with a lot more force than yours truly.

"The Pit" area. This is where all the mechanics do last minute tinkering to the sleds to get them all ready before their runs. Their is a "stock" division which is a sled that has nothing done to it and is essentially as you would purchase it out of the box. Then their is a "semi-mod" division which would have some modifications to the sled such as a can, improved track, pipes, et. Then their is the full "mod" division which anything goes. Nitrous injections, race fuel, et. They are really loud. Within the stock, semi mod, and mod, you have engine classes consisting of 600cc, 700cc, 800cc, and 1000cc. You can see why if you are a badass you roll into town with a massive trailer to haul all of your race sleds.

The 2011 Ski Doo. It's a bad momba jamba sled.

A racer is stuck in the middle of the hill. "Hill Help" is there to grab it before it rolls off down the hill. Most of these sleds are around $15,000 machines, and even if you are a pro/sponsored rider, you don't want to total your sled. You can just see the catch net at the bottom of the picture that catches all run away sleds.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Go read a book

I love living in Jackson Hole. We are so lucky to be in a place full of beauty and culture.

Last night the library hosted a free author talk by none other than Azar Nafisi who wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran, a book that has spent over 117 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. It was at the Center for the Arts and she opened to a packed house. And no wonder, she was such an eloquent and passionate speaker, that I felt like I could have sat and listened to her for hours.

She spoke on the power of books transporting you to different worlds and into others shoes and without them we really wouldn't have a full understanding of the beauty that lies in other cultures we don't fully understand.

A powerful statement she made was about not judging a country or a culture by their evil-doers because every country has some history they are ashamed of, just think of the KKK or the Confederates, the United States does not want to be categorized by this hate, just like the Iranian and Iraqi people don't want to be judged by their extremists. Put yourself in others shoes and don't just accept injustice as "part of their culture" because injustice is always wrong. She made me want to stand up and do something about curbing the hate and violence that is so easy to put out of your mind when it is not in front of your face every day. So maybe I will.

She was amazing and inspiring and she made me feel lucky to have been there. Her new work Things I've Been Silent About is next on my list of must reads. Support your library, support your local book store and take a stand.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Skiing before the Sled Storm

Ted and I went out into the Jackson Hole backcountry on Sunday and enjoyed the bluebird.
Ted hiking out towards Cody Peak. I like to ski out here a lot in June after the tram re-opens for the summer months and the conditions and snow depth resembled June more than March.

Vintage Teddy Ball Game. This is why I call Teddy a great friend. He is always up for a good time, clearly. Who skis in the backcountry with a 6 pack of tall boys, that guy!

Marching out towards Cody Peak, always a nice, scenic walk if nothing else.

We skied "4 Shadows" which is the line just below the little skier on the ridge to the lookers left.
And yes, I do have a beard, and yes, the World Championship Hillclimb is coming this weekend to Jackson, so, chances are the beard will morph into a stache. When in Rome.

Teddy dropping in. What you can't tell is how steep it is. With how little snow we have gotten this year, this line was pretty steep.

Teddy searching hard for some sort of soft snow.

Ted getting some on one of Jackson's classic backcountry lines.

We were sitting in Cody Bowl having a "cheers to the good life" beer after skiing 4 Shadows and I snapped this shot of the guy at the top of the picture walking along the ridge accessing all the sweet lines. It gives great perspective. This guy was skiing solo, he proceeded to drop into that heavily exposed line above the cliff band and skied like a champ on the rock hard snow (fall, and game over!). We cheered thinking it was rather cool.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Good Ending

So this winter, I helped coach the J4/J5 team at the Jackson Hole Ski Club and it ended up being one of the most fun jobs I have ever had. Of course, like any job, it had its moments, like standing on the hill at 6pm in the dark (we did night training during the week at Snow King under the lights) in December in -10ยบ temps or when the kids got to be a little overwhelming, but for the most part I loved it! I have to say 10-11 year olds are just fun. I am going to miss those guys...until next year.

We wrapped up the season with a 3-day Championship race at Snow King the last few days which went off without a hitch...beautiful, sunny, warm days and icy hard snow, perfect for racing. How could you not love these kids!

Kids seem to like snowballs as much as ice cream I learned.

Holden and Chris getting race ready!

Can't you just see their parents pulling out a pic like this in 15 years when they are heading to the Olympics and NBC asks them for some old race photos! : )

The typical pile of boys wrestling...always the end result of having them hang out at the start to wait for their race run. They are restless!

After the race, Snow King put on a pond-skimming event, not just for the kids, but for the whole town as kind of an end of the season party...typically there are tons of costumes and lots of beer consumed and this year was no different.

Here is the view from the take-off...and no, I did not do it, but I was hanging out with some of the 10 year olds who killed it and made it all the way across multiple times!

I would have to say, spring is here!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I want a never ending Weekend!

Saturday Sled Ski mission to location X............! Once in a blue moon the snow gods produce a sneaker storm that only a few lucky souls manage to score on. Saturday my bud Tim and I happened to be in the right place at the right time! All I can give away in terms of location is that it is near Brooks Lake!

Tim crossing Brooks Lake with nothing but deep fresh to contend with!

Normally storms deposit larger amounts on the west side of the Continental Divide. Well, this day was highly, highly unusual. The top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort reported 1". The top of the divide had about 2" to it, but the storm that shut down interstates and highways in central Wyoming hung just enough on the divide where we went to make for some truly epic conditions.

Tim cruising across the lake, love this shot. We had it all to ourselves.

It was some of the best riding conditions of the year, and everyone in Jackson was bummed with only 1" overnight!

Hiking up the coulior was a tough slog. It was literally shoulder deep sugar snow with zero base to it which made for really tough climbing.

I finally did top out and was rewarded with the usual awesome view. My bud Brian and I found this secret spot close to 10 summers ago in July hiking around. We skied it then and vowed to come back in the winter when we had a snowmobile to get us in the 12 miles to the sweet skiing. I have gone back every winter at least once and am always amazed with it's remoteness and awesome beauty.

Even though Chels is less that pleased, it has been since the late 90's since I had the great feeling of having ice in my beard. It was acting as a great insulator on Saturday for the frigid conditions.

Self portrait on top of a nice coulior.

While everyone in Jackson was suffering through another day of "corral reef" (hard and miserable re-froze conditions), we were skiing blower, knee to waist deep fluff.

You can see Tim booting up on the right side of this shot.

Frosty and Cold.

I have always looked down into this monster, but never actually skied it. It has a mandatory air in the middle of it and is a pretty committed line even in the best of winters.

Tim, scoring the best turns in Teton County on Saturday!

Tim scored the goods to the right, I of course picked left, completely untracked goodness.

You can see our sleds parked way off in the distance at the bottom of the run.

Me, totally stoked after the best turns I have scored all winter long. It has been a really tough winter to get excited about, but Saturday lit the fire once again.