Today, January 14, 2013, is a milestone day for the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. For the first time ever in the history of the resort, the snowcats groomed the Cirque.
They didn't groom ALL of the Cirque, as that would involve one heckuva lot of grooming. They groomed about a 20-pass wide strip of the Cirque, starting at the base of the out-of-bounds gate leading to the Headwall hike and extending down the Cirque to the flat of Upper Amphitheater. This is the obvious portion of the Cirque that you would ski if you were coming out of Tensleep Bowl onto the Cirque Traverse. It's slightly skier's left of the Downhill Chute if that helps at all.
The trail crew built a winch cat anchor this past summer and we've been waiting for the last month or so to see when they would pull the trigger and turn part of the Cirque to corduroy. Today was that day.
As soon as I saw from the Thunder saddle that there were groomer tracks over there, we raced down, hopped a tram, and became two of the first skiers ever to skim down groomed snow on a run that I've skied for almost 40 years - and it was amazing.
Even before today, the debate was already raging. Is this is just one more example of "sissifying" a venerable expert mountain or are they simply using the technology and equipment that's now available to give more skiers more of what they want?
What do YOU think?
Here's a view of the top from the Cirque Traverse:
And here's looking up from Upper Amphitheater:
One of the first skiers to lay tracks on a groomer on the Cirque at Jackson Hole: