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Need advice on Jackson Hole advanced, but NOT expert terrain- for first time after injury

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My wife and I are headed to Jackson (sans toddler! (a previous post)) for a bucket list check off.   Anyway, we started planning a ski trip last fall when unfortunately I suffered a really bad foot injury and completely ruptured my plantar fascia. ( I'd love to hear if anyone else has ever suffered this injury- as so many have had inflammation or partial tear, but I've never met anyone else who has ruptured the medial band completely.  


So I've been rehabbing and during these long severals months of frustration and pain I started thinking- this year, not only am I going to ski , but I am going to check something off my bucket list.  I'm not getting any younger and for us Midwesterners, it's not so easy to get these expensive flights to tiny little spots like Jackson, WY.  So I'm doing it, and it's booked now.  Trouble is, I haven't skied since 2011, and I wasn't injured then.  I have been preparing as best I can, but most safely say I've more than "lost a step".


I'm looking for a great skiing experience.  I have never been an expert.  What I am is an avid skier who will try just about anything that is on the map with a name.  I've made a point to ski a few double blacks at each mountain I've been to.  But mostly, I ski blacks and blues.  


So what I was hoping to hear are a few runs at Jackson Hole that, once I spend a couple days testing my balance and regaining my confidence and skills, that I can do that will offer steeps without cliff drops (and definitely NOT Corbet's couloir), speed and/or deep snow or trees.  I'm not very good in tight trees and I'm only ever mediocre on big moguls.  But I like adventurous runs and don't mind a little hiking.  Basically, I'd call myself cautiously advanced but far from expert.  So if anyone wants to share a few runs that may fit the bill, I'd appreciate it.  Thanks!

post #2 of 11

There are others much more in the know, but from my experience from several visits as a visiting gaper, and to keep your thread alive --


•  The Apres Vous chair has some good semi steep cruisers as warm up.  And if it happens to be a powder day -- I've had some epic days just lapping untracked Apres Vous all day because serious powder hounds were hanging elsewhere.


•  The Hobacks and Lower Sublette are obvious choices w/ new snow or late morning spring corn.  Might be tough crud for a midwesterner w/new legs otherwise.


•  Take the ridge line out of Rendevous Bowl like you're heading for the Hobacks, but before you get to the Hobacks hang a left into Bivouac & the trees either side.


•  Anything under Thunder chair is good -- big moderate bumps if you so desire.  Toilet Bowl to skier's left of tram line usually good.  And if you want a moderate introduction to chutes, try Tower 3 Chute.


•  For another interesting but doable chute up higher, stay skier's left off the tram past Corbett's & hang a left on the traverse below Corbett's.  Just before you get to The Cirque, hang a right into Downhill Chute.


•  Alta Chutes can get a bit intense when slick.  Very narrow, steep, & if you slide you're into rocks.  You might want to get your ski legs under you before you take them on.


Bob Peter's guide on this site is very good.  Look it up.

post #3 of 11

Can't help with JH, but on the subject of balance . . . have you considered the SkiA Sweetspot?  They still have the 10% discount for EpicSki folks.


I did knee rehab over the summer to get over rupturing an ACL (not doing surgery).  Learned standard balance exercises with a BOSU from formal PT.  Started with the Sweetspot about a month before the first ski weekend at my little home hill in northern VA in early Jan.  Did as well or better than my first ski days last season.  A lot of factors besides the Sweetspot but I definitely like being able to practice balance with ski boots on, especially edging movements.  I'm an older advanced skier who was an intermediate 10 years ago.  Alta is my favorite place out west.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Tower 3 chute looks just about right.  Thanks for the suggestion on that one.


I'm noticing the Jackson map remind me a bit of Snowbasin.  Lots of pitches and rolls and stuff that I'm not going to quite understand until I see it in person.


Avoiding cliffs will be a must.  But I am certain that I will be much more willing to stay under complete control on this trip.  

post #5 of 11
Tower 3 Chute? I'd avoid that if I were you. That is one long, steep, hairy-assed chute. NOT for a blue/black skier and coming back from a injury especially. Plenty of other places around that will test your steep skills. mcolorado is right about his terrain assessment, but I just think T3 chute will be a bit much for you.

If you want something super steep that won't get you killed, try to find Dick's Ditch - very short, but super steep in some spots to skier's left as you near the base of Thunder Chair. Hobacks would be perfect if conditions are good. Some of the Expert Chutes are very steep too, but not too long and usually wider and less bumpy than T3 Chute. The Cirque area. Dropping into Laramie Bowl near Flip Point. Wally World and Bivouac, as mentioned.

This is based on my memories of 4 week trips out there, so there are many others better able to help you than me, but for starters, this is what comes to my mind for your abilities.
post #6 of 11

Just run laps through the Cirque which you'll probably find plenty steep and very wide open. You might also want to hike up 10-15 mins. to ski the Headwall. Stay away from T-3, Altas, Dowhill Chute and these other places that present some pretty high risk, injury or not. Bivouac (Wally's World) is quite steep and often groomed. Keep in mind that what is considered double blue, black in JH may at many other areas be considered double-black or simply closed to the public. If you become bored with Cirque, then consider the Expert Chutes which present a variety of lines with varying degrees of difficulty. Most of all, take lots of pics and have fun. JH is a one of a kind.

post #7 of 11
My advice is to take a lesson. An instructor can help you to identify terrain suitable for the conditions, your ability, and state of mind. Jackson is one hairy place and can intimidate you. An instructor can help you realize what your skills can let you do and put more of the mountain in your reach.

post #8 of 11

I recommend a lesson as well.  It happens that I am in the lesson businessbiggrin.gif and teach at JHMR.  I am available for privates or you might get me in a group lesson.  I would assess your skills relative to your goals and start a terrain progression working through small bumps and sparse trees and ultimately (if I felt good about your safety) ending up somewhere that might be double black.  If your skills are reasonably solid, a lot of moving up comes down to tactics and visualization.  I would love to say more, but really need to catch the bus right now to go teach skiing.  Today I ski with my locals group of 7yos.  I think today might be their first tram lap if the light and conditions are good.  I'm pretty psyched for them!

post #9 of 11

Hi Michigander, have you read Bob Peter's Unofficial Guide to Skiing Jackson Hole? I think you will find the tour he recommends to be exactly what you're looking for, I quote:


"This summary is geared mainly toward people who are coming here for the first time and want to get a feel for the lifts and terrain. Most of the runs I’ll describe are intermediate through advanced, and are runs that are groomed daily or fairly often. If you follow the little tour I’m suggesting, you’ll have an excellent understanding of the mountain. Then once you feel ready, you can sample the goods covered in the section on Jackson's Steeper Terrain." 


You can find Bob's guide: in our EpicSki Jackson Hole Resort Guide  Hope this helps.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I wanted to thank everyone for your suggestions.  I just got back from an incredible trip out at Jackson Hole with my wife.  We had an incredible time.  I heeded the advice of nearly everyone.  Didn't end up skiing Tower Three Chute- you're not kidding- that is very steep.  Did ski the Hobacks and loved it.  Skied the whole mountain but kept a bit of caution under my feet as I've had an injury that really took some time to get over.  Things went very well.  It's an amazing ski mountain and town and National wilderness area.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the mountains in winter and I posted a lengthy trip report on the Trip Report forum.


Thanks all!

post #11 of 11
Awesome! Thanks for checking back in. Good to hear you had a great time and came through unscathed. Jackson Hole is one of the most memorable places there is anywhere and I'm sure you'll be back. You even got to ski the Hobacks! It doesn't get much better than that. beercheer.gif
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