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Jackson Hole Locals

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Me and a few buddies from Boston have a trip booked for the first week in March to Jackson Hole (march 3-10). I'm wondering if there is any way to hook up with a local for some skiing outside of the gates on one of our last few days. We're gonna drop a lot of cash for this trip and I'm really looking to ski the good stuff. We are just getting real sick of skiing on icy groomers.

I've heard the 'Mangy Moose?' is a good place, but I haven't heard how welcoming you guys are to us tourists.
post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonSki View Post
Hey guys,

Me and a few buddies from Boston have a trip booked for the first week in March to Jackson Hole (march 3-10). I'm wondering if there is any way to hook up with a local for some skiing outside of the gates on one of our last few days. We're gonna drop a lot of cash for this trip and I'm really looking to ski the good stuff. We are just getting real sick of skiing on icy groomers.

I've heard the 'Mangy Moose?' is a good place, but I haven't heard how welcoming you guys are to us tourists.
You should send a private message, via this forum, to Bob Peters. He used to be a backcountry ski guide at Jackson Hole and I'm sure he could recommend a current guide for you now.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell View Post
You should send a private message, via this forum, to Bob Peters. He used to be a backcountry ski guide at Jackson Hole and I'm sure he could recommend a current guide for you now.
Thanks, Martin.

I've been trying to figure out how to respond to BostonSki's question.

BostonSki, as Martin said I used to be a backcountry guide here. I'm now a part-time instructor and I can't - for liability reasons - take customers out of bounds.

If your question is asking how to HIRE someone to take you out of bounds, this program (which I was a part of) is outstanding:

http://www.jacksonhole.com/info/ski.school.guides.asp

They can provide you with the experienced guide and all the gear.

If you're looking to hook up with some locals to show you around the out-of-bounds for free, then you need to provide a little more information about the level of experience you and your friends have and what sort of gear you have.

You also should pose the same question (and the answers to my questions) over at TGR's forum. There are a lot more Jackson locals who frequent that site and maybe some of them would hook up with you. Include your answers to my questions when you post over there, though, or some of them will roast you. Anyone who takes backcountry skiing seriously (which everyone who does it should) would want to know how safe you would be if they took you out. If you don't answer that question up front, they'll assume you don't know anything and they'll respond to you that way.

Yes, the Moose is still a great place - a little crowded and noisy after skiing for my taste, but all the visitors seem to love it.

PM me as you get closer to your arrival and maybe I can join you for a few inbounds turns.

Oh, and by the way... we NEVER get icy conditions here.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If you're looking to hook up with some locals to show you around the out-of-bounds for free, then you need to provide a little more information about the level of experience you and your friends have and what sort of gear you have.
Well I guess my question is what kind of gear do you need? Can you go at it without experience or is that to dangerous. Id'e say we are all advanced skiers (but I feel like advanced on the east coast is a lot different than advanced out west) One of us had a fair amount of experience backcountry as he lived in europe for 5 years. Ive left the east coast once to ski in Italy but didn't get to spend much time at all off piste. And the other two coming have never left the east.

But who knows, the inbounds skiing here could be such an experience for us that we won't want to risk leaving the gates. I mean, seeing pictures of Corbet's Couloir gave me nightmares for a week. Haha
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
For equipment, are we talking avalanche beacons, shovels, etc...??
post #6 of 28
Hi, B-Ski.

Yes, at the minimum, "equipment" means a beacon, a probe, a shovel, and a pack to put it all in, including extra clothes, water, emergency gear and food, headlamp, etc. Depending on the destination, equipment also includes skins and some kind of binding that allows you to walk uphill on skis. Then, while the equipment is necessary, the knowledge of how to use it is the critical part.

That's the issue you're going to run into when you try to just hook up with someone and go ski the backcountry. While some people worry less about this than others (I'm a worry-wort, if that tells you anything), there's a huge amount of responsibility involved with taking inexperienced people out of bounds. While your host would hopefully minimize the danger, if ANYTHING goes wrong, you've got people at risk who may not have much idea what to do. That endangers everyone in the party and potentially anyone who comes to help with a rescue.

All of that is why I typically won't take more than a couple of newbies with me on a backcountry excursion. There's a lot of miles involved in learning how to stay safe outside a ski area's boundaries, and taking a larger group is just asking for trouble.

Having said that, I'll also tell you that completely inexperienced people with zero equipment ski out the OB gates at Jackson Hole every single day of the season and almost none of them get killed.

The frustrating thing about the lift-accessed backcountry skiing here at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is that it's so easy to do it. The gates are open and nobody checks anything.

For example, the slope pictured in this photo is called the Powder 8 slope (on Cody Bowl) and it is an extremely popular destination for skiers. It's plainly visible from the top of the ski resort and only requires about an hour of traversing and hiking to access it. If you looked at it from the ski area, you would get the impression that it's totally safe to ski because there are nearly always tracks on it. Still, here's what can happen when the stars line up wrong:



That is an absolutely enormous slide that could easily have killed anybody skiing or hiking that slope. Most of the people skiing that slope today simply take for granted that the skier traffic means it's safe. The same goes for several of the main backcountry routes down from the mountain.

So the bottom line is that there's great skiing out there. Most of the time, it's probably pretty safe. If you can find someone who'll take you there, you'll probably have a great time.

I'm just saying that it's not quite as simple as just deciding to go out of bounds. There are very real dangers involved, so don't take it lightly. I think the best way for a "first-timer" is to go with a guide. If you can't afford that or don't want to, give some thought to how you do it and with whom. I'm a conservative (when it comes to avalanches) old fuddy-duddy, so maybe you'll want to discount all my warnings.

And yes, there's incredibly good skiing inbounds here. If you've never skied here, I think you'll be amazed at the quantity and quality of the inbounds terrain. You're coming at one of my favorite times of the season to ski here, so I think you'll have great conditions available to you inside the resort.
post #7 of 28
Bob,
Excellent reply! I live in a similar circumstance, easy access to OB. As soon as a boundary is open, people jump in without realizing the inherent danger. They treat it as just another part of the ski area.

You are not conservative, nor a worry wort. I call it wise & experienced!

I commend Bostonski for asking for some guidance. Having the right equipment is only the begining. Knowing how to use it, & making educated judgement calls is far more important. The cost to spend time with a real guide will be well worth the experience. I've spent time in the backcountry for 30+ years. In familiar areas sometimes I'm the guide, but always find a guide in unfamiliar areas.

I wish every potential OB skier could read Bobs post.... Thanks...

JF
"The more I know, the scareder I get"
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Bob I guess I just never realized how dangerous skiing ob can.

Quote:
And yes, there's incredibly good skiing inbounds here. If you've never skied here, I think you'll be amazed at the quantity and quality of the inbounds terrain. You're coming at one of my favorite times of the season to ski here, so I think you'll have great conditions available to you inside the resort.

My last question/questions:

You say that the time im coming(first week in march) is one of your favorite times to ski at JHMR. What makes it so good?

Recently I've been seeing some things on the internet saying JH's snow can stink in early march because of the SE exposure and it worries me.

Also, with the tram gone, will lift lines increase or do you think less people will plan trips this year?

Hah, so many questions........im just really excited to ski this mountain!
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonSki View Post
Thanks for the reply Bob I guess I just never realized how dangerous skiing ob can.




My last question/questions:

You say that the time im coming(first week in march) is one of your favorite times to ski at JHMR. What makes it so good?

Recently I've been seeing some things on the internet saying JH's snow can stink in early march because of the SE exposure and it worries me.

Also, with the tram gone, will lift lines increase or do you think less people will plan trips this year?

Hah, so many questions........im just really excited to ski this mountain!
You should be excited - it's a great place to ski.

It's hard to say about liftlines. They've increased the capacity of both the Bridger Gondola and the Thunder Chair and they've added the chair on Rendezvous Bowl. Collectively, all that is a pretty significant net increase over last year's lift capacity.

It *will* be a huge crowd trying to access the mountain from the bottom on powder mornings, but we'll have to see if it's any worse than last year. The conventional wisdom also says that there will be fewer people skiing here this winter because of the decommissioned tram, but early bookings don't seem to support that theory.

I love skiing here that time of year precisely because of what people are telling you about variable snow conditions. This mountain does face more easterly than northerly, so the sun has a lot of impact on the snow in March. It's more pronounced later in March than earlier, but it does happen.

I see that as a GOOD thing, however. Because the ski area has so many ridges, bowls, and faces that have so many different aspects and elevations, I truly believe you can find excellent skiing on this mountain every single day of March. You have to understand how the sun affects different aspects at different times of the day, but that's an important lesson to learn about skiing anyway.

There WILL be good skiing here while you're here - I'm certain of it. Several Epic members skied here last March and had fantastic skiing. As I look back on some of my notes from 30+ years of skiing here, some of my very best powder days have been in early March.

Don't worry about it.
post #10 of 28
Would it not be logical to expect fewer tourists this season since the tram will not be running?

What would I do under those circumstances? Not go because there is no tram? Or go because there will be fewer people going to JH this winter?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
Would it not be logical to expect fewer tourists this season since the tram will not be running?

What would I do under those circumstances? Not go because there is no tram? Or go because there will be fewer people going to JH this winter?
It would be logical to think that and I would tend to agree.

Nevertheless, I've been told by several of the people in property management and lodging that our advance reservations are up versus last year and last year was a record.

I guess we'll see.
post #12 of 28
One more thing, B-Ski.

As long as you're coming here, you might want to check out these two threads:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...casper+thunder

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...casper+thunder

Now that the tram will be closed, you'll have to substitute "East Ridge Chair" for everywhere you see a mention of skiing off the tram.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
WOW!! Amazing guides.....from your description, the Saratoga Bowl sounds like a blast. Im printing out both of them to put in my boot bag as I write this.

Thanks alot for taking the time to respond to these posts. It has helped a TON!

142 Days and counting!!!

See ya out there
post #14 of 28

Thanks Bob!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
these two threads
This is a handy chance to thank you for your thorough guides. I know I printed a copy and took it with me last year, and I bet I wasn't the only one with a copy in my pocket.

I'll take them with me again when I go in Feb 2007.

In fact, googling for JH info and having your docs pop up was how I found Epicski in the first place. (Even if it did take me a year to get around to joining.)
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonSki View Post
We're gonna drop a lot of cash for this trip and I'm really looking to ski the good stuff.
You might want to keep an eye on the weather. If you see a big storm coming, book a guide for a couple of days.
First day you can ski the resort. The guides will show you to the best conditions and can cut the lift lines. Second day, they will know what OB terrain will best suit your groups ability and will be more comfortable with your group.

If you wait too late, all the guides will be booked by the locals.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You might want to keep an eye on the weather. If you see a big storm coming, book a guide for a couple of days.
First day you can ski the resort. The guides will show you to the best conditions and can cut the lift lines. Second day, they will know what OB terrain will best suit your groups ability and will be more comfortable with your group.

If you wait too late, all the guides will be booked by the locals.
Im deffinatley looking into this, ive heard there is great snow at Targhee as well so we are keeping that as an option. I just know I'm going to be blown away by this mountain.....4139 vertical feet with 2000 skiable acres and 400" annually??? My home mountain is Waterville Valley, NH. Their stats; 2000 vert, 250 skiable acres, and someting like 150" annually. I'm going to piss my pants.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonSki View Post
Hey guys,

(march 3-10). I'm wondering if there is any way to hook up with a local for some skiing outside of the gates on one of our last few days. We're gonna drop a lot of cash for this trip and I'm really looking to ski the good stuff. ...
Hey Bob Peters, why didn't you recommend that BostonSki and his buds sign up for the Steep and Deep ski camp? :

It's a day beyond what he's talking about, March 8-11 HERE but it should more than fit the bill for some potentially great o/b skiing.

I took the camp about 6 years ago and it was a fantastic deal. Skied with "Jimbo" Collins (I think that was his last name), Rob DesLaurier, Tommy Moe and a few other great guys. 2 full afternoons of o/b skiing with all the gear and training needed to use it. I never had a better ski week and we found powder stashes all day in bounds the rest of the time.

Somehow I get the impression that the big name coaches don't show up much, if at all, anymore (it's never mentioned on the website) but regardless - the instructors from JH are all top notch anyhow.

It was worth every penny when I took it and we had a fantastic gourmet lunch included each day. I suggest checking it out BostonSki.
post #18 of 28
Bob, I NEED to come to Jackson for some bc stuff this year. Even if it's just for a day. I would love to be shown around by a local. Since stability would play a factor in what could be skied, the trip probably couldn't be planned to far in advance. Let me know if that'd be all right.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post
Hey Bob Peters, why didn't you recommend that BostonSki and his buds sign up for the Steep and Deep ski camp? :

It's a day beyond what he's talking about, March 8-11 HERE but it should more than fit the bill for some potentially great o/b skiing.

I took the camp about 6 years ago and it was a fantastic deal. Skied with "Jimbo" Collins (I think that was his last name), Rob DesLaurier, Tommy Moe and a few other great guys. 2 full afternoons of o/b skiing with all the gear and training needed to use it. I never had a better ski week and we found powder stashes all day in bounds the rest of the time.

Somehow I get the impression that the big name coaches don't show up much, if at all, anymore (it's never mentioned on the website) but regardless - the instructors from JH are all top notch anyhow.

It was worth every penny when I took it and we had a fantastic gourmet lunch included each day. I suggest checking it out BostonSki.
You're absolutely right, carvemeister. The Steep and Deep camp would be an ideal venue for B-Skier to get plenty of challenge inbounds and out. Certainly worth considering.

It just didn't occur to me. :
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
Bob, I NEED to come to Jackson for some bc stuff this year. Even if it's just for a day. I would love to be shown around by a local. Since stability would play a factor in what could be skied, the trip probably couldn't be planned to far in advance. Let me know if that'd be all right.
No problem whatever. I'd love to show you around a little bit. Luckily for me, my schedule is quite flexible.

I have to be available to the ski school during Christmas Week, Pres Week, and the third week of March, but you don't want to be here then anyway. Other than those dates and a fishing trip I'm doing Jan 5 to 9, I'm here in JH and can ski.

Let's just stay in touch. If you don't mind driving up here in a snowstorm, I'm certain we can find some skiing that you would like.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post
... Steep and Deep ski camp? ... o/b skiing.
I went last year, and recommend it. The amount of o/b varies with level. We were in a lower-middle group, and went out one afternoon. The upper group went out more, I think 3 times. I'm not sure whether the bottom group went out at all.

The camp groups use a guide from the guide service (in addition to your coach) when you go out. Which does make it a bargain if you add up the rates.

(Avalanche hazard was "low" my week - don't know how procedures vary depending on that.)
post #22 of 28
Steep and Deep camp is good, but the OB you get in the camp doesn't really teach you how to ski OB safely on your own. The backcountry course, on the other hand, does focus on that precisely, including Level I avi certification.

Mike
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
No problem whatever. I'd love to show you around a little bit. Luckily for me, my schedule is quite flexible.

I have to be available to the ski school during Christmas Week, Pres Week, and the third week of March, but you don't want to be here then anyway. Other than those dates and a fishing trip I'm doing Jan 5 to 9, I'm here in JH and can ski.

Let's just stay in touch. If you don't mind driving up here in a snowstorm, I'm certain we can find some skiing that you would like.

I. Can't. Wait.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
I. Can't. Wait.
Excellent.
post #25 of 28
If it is your first time out in JH or even if you've been there before, you should book a day with Bob. He is a gentleman and a scholar. great skier and knows the area like the plam of his hands.
If you are even thinking about going OB either with aguide or taking Steep and Deep please take a free Avalanche Awarness course at your local area (Check REI or EMS stores).
JH is agreat mountain but is like nothing you have ever skied before.
Take care and Have a great time
post #26 of 28
Dang!

Wish I'd stumbled upon Epic prior to skiing JH last season's closing day. I pretty much stayed inbounds since I was there for a weekend solo and didn't know a soul nor had never been to the mountain before. While I had a great time, it would have been cooler had I set up to meet some folks beforehand.

I have to say while I enjoyed the terrain in-bounds, some of the OB stuff Bob is talking about did look mighty inticing. Since I was solo, though, I opted for the conservative approach and mentally stashed those runs away for another day.

All that said, I did find it a bit "locals only" on closing day. I managed to ride up the very final tram and when I got to the top folks were partying hard in small, what I would call cliqueish groups. I was a bit bummed that not one person offered me a closing day beer (if you were to come to one of my "home" mountains on closing day and I was at the top with a group of friends, I'd most certainly offer you a beer!). Then again, I think I was looking a bit gaperish.

At any rate, JH has some good, varied terrain in-bounds, as pre-stated by Bob's posts.

And Bob, thanks for linking out to those guides. Now I have something to peruse for my next trip out there!

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post

All that said, I did find it a bit "locals only" on closing day. I managed to ride up the very final tram and when I got to the top folks were partying hard in small, what I would call cliqueish groups. I was a bit bummed that not one person offered me a closing day beer (if you were to come to one of my "home" mountains on closing day and I was at the top with a group of friends, I'd most certainly offer you a beer!). Then again, I think I was looking a bit gaperish.

dookey:

I'm sorry to hear that you felt the place was cliqueish. I'd like to think that's not the "normal" ambience around here. Considering the time of day on that particular day, I'm willing to bet that practically every local you saw up there was, shall we say, already heavily into the beer.

That was a pretty emotional event for a lot of people around here. The venerable old tram was done and nobody knew then whether another would replace it. I think you had a lot of groups of old friends who were pretty much reminiscing about their experiences rather than looking for "new" folks to share it with.

Anyway, come back for the last tram party in April, 2009 with the NEW tram. I'll bring you a beer.
post #28 of 28
I think your assessment is probably more likely. I didn't get any bad vibes, just felt a tad out of place/like an outsider (reminded me of when I used to go body surfing in Morro Bay during college. I never got heat from the local surfers, but you could feel a mild air of territorialism). And, yeah, I would say the folks at the top of the mountain were already deep into their beers. I watched several people just drop trou and pee on people's boots because they were already a bit lit.

I thought it was strange that the patrollers just kind of let it go, but then I overhead one older patroller telling a younger one to just ride it out and let 'em all get down the mountain when they were good and ready. I hung around for a bit, then decided it might be most prudent to start down the mountain before I got crushed by a rush of drunken revellers.

And even though I didn't have much connection to the mountain, what with the trip being my first time there and all, I did totally get chills riding up the last tram as they blasted AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top" and seeing all the people lined up on the crests of the mountain with their poles crossed and cheering.

As for 2009, consider it done. That would be sweet to get on the first tram of the new one to tie into having ridden the very last tram of the old one.

BTW, everybody in line while waiting for the final tram was great. I'd say we mildly "bonded" during the experience, although I didn't get anybody's names and we haven't kept in touch. Still, it was a thrilling experience and one of my best days of last season (up there with riding Alta for the first time).

I guess part of it was also feeling out of place and getting that urge to move to a ski town and actually become part of the "mountain" so to speak.

At any rate, no slag against your community Bob. Just a mild observation.

I'll definitely take you up on the beer offer next time I swing through, too (whether it be 2009 or sooner)!

PS
BOSTONSKI:

Depending on how many days y'all are staying in Jackson, you may very well find more than enough in-bounds terrain to keep you busy. I was only there for a weekend, but could very easily have used 2 more days to discover all the nuances of the mountain.
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