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Jackson Hole Jan. 17th

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

First time going to and skiing at Jackson Hole. Since it was mid-week there was not many people there even though it had just snowed 3-6 inches, depending where you were on the mountain. Excited to check out the open gates and side country, we asked the Guest Services what we should take with us. They only said that you needed a beacon. So, we headed up the mountain taking the chair lifts with our beacons. Each run heading to a gate to explore the side country. On several runs we were questioned by the other skiers of where our backpacks and probes were... Even harassed a bit. Humm, the attitude given to visitors.... gotta love it. Call us reckless and treat us like idiots. Well the avalanche rating was at low, we were skiing in areas close to the boundaries that have seen heavy traffic all year, we weren't concerned but understood how that could look to others. We understand the severity and danger of the backcountry and next time will bring the packs/probes/shovels. Plus it did look like you would want your pack to carry your skis out to the 'goods'.

 

There were some impressive backcountry tracks up higher on some really impressive terrain. You can really get after it there.

 

So if you are going to Jackson take all your gear and plan to go big!

post #2 of 19

attitude? you mean skiers who have the gear to save your ass if it slides but you don't have the gear to save theirs? Try looking at this as if they were trying to instill responsible backcountry behavior and practices. Its an attitude that I applaud. I am at least pleased to see you may have gotten the message but hope you take that a step further and learn how to properly use that equipment. icon14.gif  Many places including JH conduct Avi-1 courses. http://avtraining.org/Educational-Resources/Preparing-for-an-Avalanche-Course.html

 

No one can predict when or what will trigger an avalanche when skiing in or below avi terrain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackcountryPow View Post

First time going to and skiing at Jackson Hole. Since it was mid-week there was not many people there even though it had just snowed 3-6 inches, depending where you were on the mountain. Excited to check out the open gates and side country, we asked the Guest Services what we should take with us. They only said that you needed a beacon. So, we headed up the mountain taking the chair lifts with our beacons. Each run heading to a gate to explore the side country. On several runs we were questioned by the other skiers of where our backpacks and probes were... Even harassed a bit. Humm, the attitude given to visitors.... gotta love it. Call us reckless and treat us like idiots. Well the avalanche rating was at low, we were skiing in areas close to the boundaries that have seen heavy traffic all year, we weren't concerned but understood how that could look to others. We understand the severity and danger of the backcountry and next time will bring the packs/probes/shovels. Plus it did look like you would want your pack to carry your skis out to the 'goods'.

 

There were some impressive backcountry tracks up higher on some really impressive terrain. You can really get after it there.

 

So if you are going to Jackson take all your gear and plan to go big!


Edited by Finndog - 1/24/13 at 4:31am
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Attitude. Yes, just like yours. Are you from Jackson Hole too? You are making some large assumptions of my backcountry experience and avalanche education. The point of my post was more or less that the Guest Services was not in touch with the open gate policies at Jackson Hole.

You can not change people or control what to do. Assuming you know more than others is a poor assumption. It is best to worry and take care of yourself smile.gif
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by BackcountryPow View Post

Attitude. Yes, just like yours. Are you from Jackson Hole too? You are making some large assumptions of my backcountry experience and avalanche education. The point of my post was more or less that the Guest Services was not in touch with the open gate policies at Jackson Hole.

You can not change people or control what to do. Assuming you know more than others is a poor assumption. It is best to worry and take care of yourself smile.gif

Yea, but the problem is that you and your actions endanger others, not just through the risk that they may have to rescue you, but because you could trigger a slide that entraps others. If you had back country skills, you'd know that skiing only with a transceiver is not responsible behavior. That's what the folk at Jackson you met were reacting to and what Finn was echoing. You may think others are sticking their nose in your business, but the fact is that your actions do not only endanger yourself but also others.

I suggest, at a minimum, you do a bit of reading about controlling risk in avalanche terrain. It might open your eyes to making the consequences of your actions not only to you and your party, but to others with no relationship to you as well.

Mike
post #5 of 19

Bac pow- I think you have mistaken my post. Mike sums it up very well but I meant my post to be an encouragement to you to look further into proper backcountry and avi preparedness and awareness.  The AIARE site has a lot of great and useful information. I believe in forming good habits. that means that even on days when the "danger" is low, you enter avalanche terrain (which means terrain that is conducive and prone to slide) with the awareness and respect that it demands. You enter that terrain with the skills and equipment that is required. You are part of a community at that point and your actions are now interdependent with all others in that terrain. They depend on you and you now depend on them. Your ability to either save them if there was a slide or even an accident becomes as import as you triggering a slide and knowing how to react and the skills/tools to handle the situation.  Proper training and awareness can go a long way to mitigate the potential for all kinds of bad things. 

 

So, yeah, did you have to have a shovel and probe? All I can say is yes if you needed it. If nothing else, a shovel is useful for finding lost skis and building kicker and a nice seat to take a break on. icon14.gif  No attitude, just concern for myself and all others I ski with.  

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by BackcountryPow View Post

First time going to and skiing at Jackson Hole. Since it was mid-week there was not many people there even though it had just snowed 3-6 inches, depending where you were on the mountain. Excited to check out the open gates and side country, we asked the Guest Services what we should take with us. They only said that you needed a beacon. So, we headed up the mountain taking the chair lifts with our beacons. Each run heading to a gate to explore the side country. On several runs we were questioned by the other skiers of where our backpacks and probes were... Even harassed a bit. Humm, the attitude given to visitors.... gotta love it. Call us reckless and treat us like idiots. Well the avalanche rating was at low, we were skiing in areas close to the boundaries that have seen heavy traffic all year, we weren't concerned but understood how that could look to others. We understand the severity and danger of the backcountry and next time will bring the packs/probes/shovels. Plus it did look like you would want your pack to carry your skis out to the 'goods'.

 

There were some impressive backcountry tracks up higher on some really impressive terrain. You can really get after it there.

 

So if you are going to Jackson take all your gear and plan to go big!

 

Do you mind my asking what day you talked to Guest Services?  Telling you to only carry a beacon, but not any of the ancillary gear, seems like very unusual advice coming from those folks.  If they aren't trained on what to tell people asking that question, I know people who can see to it that they will be. 

 

What Finn and Mike are telling you really is true, even if the message sounds kind of harsh.  You're implying that you do have backcountry experience.  If that's true, I would think you would err on the side of caution and bring all your gear.  I know that I do when I'm going to an unfamiliar mountain.

 

I'm glad you liked our mountain and I hope you'll come back.  If the attitude sounded aggressive, it's partly because we get a little annoyed at people who go out of bounds here with no clue as to where they're going and no means of dealing with a problem if one arises.  We consider that to be "attitude" in reverse.  It shows either a lack of knowledge about what can happen, which is bad enough, or a lack of respect for the mountains, which is worse.

post #7 of 19

as a side note: our avi-1 instructor preferred to refer to beacon shovel and probe as one unit and not 3 separate peices. icon14.gif  you can easily fit all three in a small pack. I use a BD Bandit Avalung which is just an 11L pack that is easily worn on lifts and easy to ski in all day. A lot of people won't bring Beacon probe shovel as they feel its overkill. Its not cool or something. I have started to bring even in heavy tree'd skiing in sidecountry. Falling into a tree well or even getting caught in a small but deep sluff is a real possiblitity. A patroller can find you even if you go down with an injury with a beacon. 

post #8 of 19

HI - A related question.  My son and I will be visiting Jackson Hole for the first time in February.   We'd like to do some of the side country - cautiously.  Is it realistic to assume we can 'figure it out', or should we sign up for one of the group Guided Trips?   Its quite a bit of $$!.

 

(BYW - I am a patroller, AVY-1, and my son and I both carry a beacon/shovel/probe.)

 

Thanks,

Carter

post #9 of 19

Carter, there's no better way than to hook up with a guide however there are several bears here who MAY be up for some unofficial guide work.  Why not post up something in the "getting together section"?  Cheers and have fun.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyepsen View Post

HI - A related question.  My son and I will be visiting Jackson Hole for the first time in February.   We'd like to do some of the side country - cautiously.  Is it realistic to assume we can 'figure it out', or should we sign up for one of the group Guided Trips?   Its quite a bit of $$!.

 

(BYW - I am a patroller, AVY-1, and my son and I both carry a beacon/shovel/probe.)

 

Thanks,

Carter

 

Signing up for the guide is the safest way to do it.  

 

As a patroller, an avy instructor, and an experienced BC user I personally feel pretty comfortable about skiing in unfamiliar terrain when visibility is good, conditions are "manageable", and I think I have the general lay of the land.  I have also done pretty well meeting locals and assessing their "knowledge" before skiing with them, if they let me.rolleyes.gif  

 

That being said the JH side country is huge and variable.  There are tracks leading nearly everywhere.  Some of those tracks you probably don't want to follow.  There is no avalanche control and you are responsible for your decisions.  Responsible in a way that could cost your life.  If rescue is needed it will be slow in coming and probably very uncomfortable.  We had two avalanche deaths in the area this week.  This is no joke!  

 

I learned by doing, you probably can too with the credentials you listed.  Even the OP seems to have somehow survived the terrain, the locals, and their own general lack of give a shit.  Remember when you run on luck, your luck will run out!  Be Aware!    

post #11 of 19

Great information here.  I will be in jackson for 8 days starting tomorrow.  Is been a few days post storm, will there still be powder to be had in bounds?  If we go out of bounds we will hire guide for sure.  If we hire guide do we need to have avy lessons etc?  how much does prob/shovel/beacon cost to rent/buy? Lastly if exploring the in bounds terrain extensively should we also have that equipment with us?  thanks for any and all information.
 

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesurf View Post

Great information here.  I will be in jackson for 8 days starting tomorrow.  Is been a few days post storm, will there still be powder to be had in bounds?  If we go out of bounds we will hire guide for sure.  If we hire guide do we need to have avy lessons etc?  how much does prob/shovel/beacon cost to rent/buy? Lastly if exploring the in bounds terrain extensively should we also have that equipment with us?  thanks for any and all information.
 

In-bounds powder is a bit scarse right now, although the skiing is still very good.  If you hire a guide, all of the safety gear you need will be provided and you will be trained in it's use by your guide.  All of the guides here are great at what they do.  You will be as safe as it is possible to be.  You really won't need a shovel or a pack to ski in-bounds.

post #13 of 19

Just an endorsement of the guide service. I've been a client (one afternoon as part of camp) and they did a great job.

post #14 of 19

Some people call it attitude.  Other people might call it trying to help you not kill yourself.  Or them by worrying about someone uninformed doing something stupid like dropping in right above them.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 You really won't need a shovel or a pack to ski in-bounds.

 

And I assume by that, that does NOT include Casper Bowl and the Crags?

post #16 of 19
That is what I am getting at. Should we have the necessary equip for those 2 areas? Thanks in advance.
post #17 of 19

Casper Bowl and The Crags are a bit grey on that IMO.  The patrol does Avy control in those areas so you shouldn't need that gear.  It is also skied less and "maybe" isn't controlled as closely as similar terrain that is lift served.  Avalanche paths within Casper Bowl, Headwall, and Crags run out into lift served areas so I tend to believe that they are stabilized pretty well before they are opened.  I ski those areas pretty regularly without gear and don't go into the true uncontrolled OB without it.

post #18 of 19

I've been in Casper Bowl (amazingly good) with an instructor to show the way.  I think finding a safe way in on our own would have been a little iffy.  I guess people  do it, though.  

 

We did not do backcountry gear for that (though I wore my beacon cause I have it, and "why not?")

post #19 of 19

I just spent four days at JH, including a couple of trips into the side country, and hiked the headwall, too.  Here are my two cents, based on a father/son duo, I have Avy1 training, Ski Patrol, and my son and I were fully equipped with beacon, shovel, probe, compass, etc.

 

Side county - don't go on your own without first have done a guided trip.   You're nuts if you do.  Even in perfect conditions you can get in trouble.  If you add bad light, white out, avy, get lost, injury, etc etc you will have a really, really bad time. Post-holing up from a cliff edge in bad conditions can stress the best.  That said, after a guided trip, with the right smarts, equipment, and attitude of being cautious, it is fantastic.  Do it.

 

The in bounds stuff is very much the same, but you have the sense of security from more people and ski patrol around.  I'd still approach it the same way - be realistic, equipped, plan your trip, travel in pairs, etc.  

 

It really has a lot to do with the weather and ski/avy conditions - if its nasty/risky, you have to be smart enough to pass and do it another time.   

 

I don't mean to sound preachy - I've just gotten the BC bug.  Adrenaline effects people in very different ways.   

 

At Targhee BC my son wanted to keep going.  I said no, he said how about I just go up there?  Heck no.

 

And to echo a previous poster ---- Don't follow other's tracks.   That's really bad.  

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