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Jackson Hole Advice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
With snow almost absent in the NE, we're heading to JH in february. Normal base here is Loon. have skied at Beaver Creek. Looking for advice on what trails at JH are good for solid intermediate skiers that can ski most any blue and some black trails. Prefer trails with scenic appeal. Any help will be appreciated.
post #2 of 26
Advance on the mountain from the skier's right to skier's left. Work the solid blues off the Apres Vous quad first. Then try the Casper Bowl Triple. All of those are good wide pitches and usually lower traffic than the rest of the mountain. Then try going off the gondola... Lupine Way to Amphitheatre Bowl. The lower part of Gros Venture is an absolute blast, a natural half pipe almost.

A few other notes. Double blues are rated that way usually because they're ungroomed and have bumps. Also, the traverses are rated blue but some can be narrow and long and all are only a means to getting to another chair, not official runs.

Overall, I will say this is a great mountain for solid intermediates. It's challenging in a good not frightening way and I guarantee you will be better skiers when you get back to Loon.
post #3 of 26
All you need to know...

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=13762
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=16592


seriously... best intros to Jackson skiing you'll find anywhere. buy Bob a beer...
post #4 of 26

bob's beer

After reading "The Unoficial Guide" I have big urge to buy Bob beer(s).
I'll be at JH Feb 10-Feb 18, Skidad55 what are your dates?
Maybe we can make some turns together and forget about this NE 55 degree horror.
And Bob, if you are thirsty sometimes mid February I'll be more than happy to meet you for drinks!
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidad55 View Post
Prefer trails with scenic appeal. Any help will be appreciated.
I think every trail, slope and bowl has incredible scenic appeal. Have fun.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrcka View Post
After reading "The Unoficial Guide" I have big urge to buy Bob beer(s).
I'll be at JH Feb 10-Feb 18, Skidad55 what are your dates?
Maybe we can make some turns together and forget about this NE 55 degree horror.
And Bob, if you are thirsty sometimes mid February I'll be more than happy to meet you for drinks!
Just pm me. If I can get away to make some turns, I'll certainly do it.

As for scenery, my favorite blue-to-lower-black runs are:

St. John's
Gros Ventre
Grand
Laramie Bowl
Rendezvous Trail

And prettiest of all (assuming a clear day) but definitely more of a black is Rendezvous Bowl.
post #7 of 26
My two favorite things to point out to visitors is the bucking horse and rider nordic track in the meadow below the base area and Sleeping Indian mountain across the valley. Both are best viewed from the gondolla looking down the mountain.
post #8 of 26
I've not been to JH, but I will say from the photo galleries it looks absolutely stunning!!

The older I get, the scenery in skiing ranks!!!! JH has got that!
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sadly we are in the week following (school vacation week). Leave me a note pinned to a tree somewhere


Quote:
Originally Posted by vrcka View Post
After reading "The Unoficial Guide" I have big urge to buy Bob beer(s).
I'll be at JH Feb 10-Feb 18, Skidad55 what are your dates?
Maybe we can make some turns together and forget about this NE 55 degree horror.
And Bob, if you are thirsty sometimes mid February I'll be more than happy to meet you for drinks!
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have a long plane ride this week to contemplate all these choices...

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
All you need to know...

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=13762
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=16592


seriously... best intros to Jackson skiing you'll find anywhere. buy Bob a beer...
post #11 of 26
I second the positive review of Bob's guides. I took them with me last year, and will again this year.

(Bob - if you feel like writing another chapter, I've been wondering about the headwall. Any insights?)

vrcka - I'm going to overlap with you. I'm at JH Feb 6-12 (not including travel days). The middle four days Th-F-S-S are Steep&Deep camp, but I "had" to tack on an extra ski day afterward to get decent flights. Might be fun to do a couple runs together.

Anybody else here going to be there?
post #12 of 26
I have heard that at JH you can sometimes ski right by wild animals like elk, moose, and deer. Is this true? If so we are in for quite a treat next year!
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiE View Post
I have heard that at JH you can sometimes ski right by wild animals like elk, moose, and deer. Is this true? If so we are in for quite a treat next year!
So I've heard. If you do, give them a wide clearance. Moose are big and they know it.

THe closest I've come is seeing one from the Tram.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiE View Post
I have heard that at JH you can sometimes ski right by wild animals like elk, moose, and deer. Is this true? If so we are in for quite a treat next year!
Deer are all over the mountain during the spring/summer/fall, but pretty much leave for less snowy locations during the winter.

Elk are actually kind of rare on our mountain any time of the year. They tend to congregate a couple of miles away in the river bottom timber along the Snake River. You can, however, take a winter sleigh ride through several thousand of them right on the outskirts of the town of Jackson. http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge/

Moose are quite common inside the ski area boundaries during the winter. Your best chances of seeing them are the Aprez Vous area and the lower runs off the Teewinot and Eagle's Rest chairlifts. It's also quite common to see them along the Union Pass traverse, which is the collector road that runs along the bottom of the Hobacks and the Lower Faces. If you're skiing the Hobacks and the Lower Faces, look closely in the trees on either side of the Union Pass traverse as you're skiing along to the little chairlift. As mdf said, don't try to get close to a moose in the winter - they tend to be pretty disagreeable.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

(Bob - if you feel like writing another chapter, I've been wondering about the headwall. Any insights?)
The Headwall is accessed by a boot pack, either up Pepi's Bench from a gate in the Cirque or from a steep boot pack behind the new restaurant at the top of the Bridger Gondola. The average time to of booting is about 15-20 minutes, but this varies a huge amount depending on your physical condition.

The Headwall is in a funny category; it's gate-accessed but within the avalanche-controlled part of the mountain. Therefore, it's *usually* pretty safe to ski but was once the site of one of the most enormous avalanches to ever occur inside a ski area in North America.

It's fun skiing, especially if you can be one of the first folks to get there after a new snowfall. It's a little funky if the visibility is bad because there are very few trees or rocks to provide definition. The other thing that makes it interesting is that it's a pretty convex slope up high, meaning that you can't really see what's below you as you're making your first few turns. That can be a little disconcerting, especially if you're new to the area.

The other bad thing about the Headwall is that it faces primarily southeast. That means that as soon as the sun comes out, the snow will probably start to get affected. It can be REALLY bad conditions at times.

The skier's-right main gully on the Headwall has a new name this year. It's the spot where Doug Coombs and the JH Ski Patrol had a bit of a disagreement about ten years ago (when the run was a closed area) and Doug ended up having his lift privileges revoked for a couple of years. That run is now named "Coombs".

If you've got a beacon, I would wear it if I were skiing the Headwall.
post #16 of 26
Hey mdf,
Our first ski day will be Sunday 11th. I will PM you when I get there so we can figure out the way to make some turns together. It is my first time in JH, I'll probably have the widest grin on my face and huge appetite for snow since I am starving here in New England.
post #17 of 26
Bob -

Thanks for the info. I had read about the Coombs history, but never saw it mentioned that was the very spot he was busted. I like it.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret the beacon warning. Is this your low-key, dont want to interfere
with anyones right to make their own decisions way of saying I shouldn't be up there? (I'm not backcountry trained or equiped.) Or at least that I should only be there when there is no point to being there (i.e. no snow)?

The convex shape also ties into something else I was wondering about -- is someone just "clucking around" up there in danger of getting cliffed out?

vrcka --
Sounds good. (Does the fact that I bring a computer on a ski trip say something bad about me?)
IIRC from your trip planning thread, you are staying in town, right? I'm at the Village Center Inn, since their price was about the same as a cheaper place in town plus a rental car.
post #18 of 26
i just got back from jackson. I love those mountains and the area is just as nice. Jackson is a more challanging mountain than most but i think you will be fine. If you tend to stay more skiers left of the gondola you will find more manageable terrain. If you want a bit of a challange while getting one hell of a view in awesome terrain head to the hobacks. i honestly think anyone who can ski groomers and survive bumps can ski this area. It isnt too steep any you seldom need to watch your line.

all in all youll have fun
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Bob -

I'm not quite sure how to interpret the beacon warning. Is this your low-key, dont want to interfere
with anyones right to make their own decisions way of saying I shouldn't be up there? (I'm not backcountry trained or equiped.) Or at least that I should only be there when there is no point to being there (i.e. no snow)?

The convex shape also ties into something else I was wondering about -- is someone just "clucking around" up there in danger of getting cliffed out?
mdf:

That's a really tough one to answer.

My opinion is clouded by the fact that I was an eyewitness to the massive (actually, massive isn't a massive enough adjective) avalanche that came off the Headwall at the end of February, 1986. That sight is indelibly etched in my brain and ever since then I won't ski the Headwall without a beacon.

Now, a great deal has changed in that 20 years. The Headwall is skied constantly now AND controlled for avalanches. It's *probably* completely safe to ski without a beacon almost any day of the season. It's also a much more accessible location than it was, considering that now the top of the Bridger gondola sits right at the base of the Headwall and there's a main ski patrol location right there.

I guess my answer is that I'm not going to *tell* you to go ahead and ski there without avy gear. I'm known for being over-cautious, so take that into account. I can tell you that it's probably skied dozens of times a day by people without gear.

As for the convexity, that only lasts for about three turns. There's really nowhere to get cliffed out on the main body of the Headwall. If you're hiking up Pepi's Bench however, don't decide that you're pooped before you get to the top and ski off to your right. That would be a pretty major cliff. If I can remember to do it, I'll post a photo of the Headwall and the two main routes to get there.
post #20 of 26
Just my .02. If Bob suggests wearing a beacon in a specific location, I'd think pretty hard about skiing it without a beacon & avy pack. And the knowledge needed to use them (although in this case you are likely betting on friends and others knowing how to use them ).

I've seen gazillions of people hiking the headwall & would bet that a large percentage were not avy equipped. Nonetheless, prudence can pay... This touches on the ongoing debate about avy gear/training use in off piste inbounds areas where there is some risk of slide or treewell issues. More and more people seem to be taking the conservative route in this regard.
post #21 of 26
mdf- I am stayin in Jackson Hole Lodge in town and doing the shuttle thing. Just like to forget about car for a while...
Bringing computer on a trip is useful thing if you are planning to shoot videos and take lots of pictures. And also, checking the weather, teasing friends that work...

BTW. I know that this is not the real thing but it might help:
http://www.recco.com
I bought new jacket this year and it happened to have integrated Recco avalanche rescue system. I am not planning to do anything that involves avalanche terrain, but it is nice thing to have. Like the computer.

See you there
post #22 of 26
Well, this is no longer a JH issue, really. It is a matter of standard operating procedures for advanced in-bounds terrain. I skimmed the long in-bounds avalanche thread a month or two ago, and it was thought provoking. I'm not sure how I feel about in-bounds beacons.

(Don't want to hijack a happy thread with serious questions -- the other thread is still out there in the archives and seems to have covered the question pretty thoroughly.)
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Well, this is no longer a JH issue, really. It is a matter of standard operating procedures for advanced in-bounds terrain. I skimmed the long in-bounds avalanche thread a month or two ago, and it was thought provoking. I'm not sure how I feel about in-bounds beacons.

(Don't want to hijack a happy thread with serious questions -- the other thread is still out there in the archives and seems to have covered the question pretty thoroughly.)
I wouldn't worry about hijacking. It's a conversation worth exploring.

Basically, it's reached a point at many western ski resorts that a pretty high percentage of locals have beacons. I know that's the case here and I'm certain it's the case at many Utah resorts.

So, if I own a beacon and I'm going out-of-bounds, of course I'm going to wear it. If I own a beacon and I'm skiing inbounds but it's been snowing, why wouldn't I wear it? It doesn't take up much room and doesn't keep me from doing anything I want to do. It's just become kind of second nature for many skiers at some mountains.

Would I buy one just to ski inbounds? No.

Would I buy one to ski inbounds most of the time but to potentially start venturing ob? Perhaps.

It all depends on my disposable income, I suppose.
post #24 of 26
Having enjoyed JH last Feb for the 1st time, I can most certainly, second third and fourth the praise for Bob Peters and his knowledge of the hill. I had the honour and pleasure of spending the better part of a day and 1/2 skiing with him, and boy did I see parts of the mountain that I never would have found myself nor tried without his perfect prodding.
Wonderful mountain, competes easily with all the other 'big name' resorts in NA and although I won't be back this year, am hopeful to be back next year with some buddies.
Hi- Bob---hope you have a happy healthy 2007. Sounds like I will be back when the new tram is built ! :
D&L from Toronto
post #25 of 26
ive skied at jackson for 2 weeks now. one week last year and one this year. I vwntured ob for a day with some friends, because i knew i would have the oppurtunity to do this i took a class and bought the gear. If your looking for intermediate runs, chances are you wont run into avalanche conditions. By no means am i saying you wont, its just not likly inbounds. I would personally stay inbounds my first time out there, especially if your not an advanced skier. I didnt find anything in the rocksprings area too challanging, just a sick run, but im a bit more aggressive than you seem to be. Not tooting my own horn.

The ski patrol does a good job blasting inbounds, i wouldent worry about a slide on the resort too much.
For now Id say just ski around the mountain getting your feet under you. After your trip you WILL be a better skier, that mountain kicks you into shape. Ive improved both times i was out there.
If you run into a backcountry gate, snap a pic and remember where it is for future reference. Better safe than sorry. Plus theres always tons of powder to find in the resort boundries
post #26 of 26
madmanmlh -
You ought to find the in-bounds slide thread in the archives. Patrols do a great job controlling, but it is nature - she can sometimes surprise you.
In-bounds (unintentional) slides are exceeding rare, but they have happened and no-doubt will again. What is hard to know is if they are so exceedingly rare that we should just forget about it as a negligible incremental risk (unless we are involved in avalanche control, of course), or if we should factor it into what we do.

On a different note, I have been in Rock Springs Bowl, but it was with a guide and an instructor, and everyone was wearing a guide-service-supplied beacon if they didn't have their own (like me).

P.S. this thread, like most of them, has several conversations going on in parallel. I often find it difficult to tell who or what you are responding to. I assume most of your post was directed at me?
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