We woke up to about a foot of fresh. I was salivating, jumping up and down like a pogo stick. It was ony 7am but I wanted to get to the tram. Dave did too and we met Brad in the tram line at about 8:30am. We were on the borderline for first tram. The Patrol did an extensive bombing and control of the mountain. It took a while tand the tram line grew down to the parking lot. When it opened I was on the first tram, number 98 out of 100 people. I'm glad they put in this new tram. It rocks. As anyone who has skied JH knows, Rendez-Vous Bowl in fresh pow is unbelievable. We shredded it up. Everything seemed to work out well. You know one of those organic days. It was fun seeing Brad and Dave choose routes together. They were feeding off of each other's 20 plus years of skiing the mountain even though they didn't ski together on any regular basis. It was beautiful. The James Bond traverse was featured heavily. We got to the Hobacks and skied a North Hoback. It was creamy and perfect. We stopped near the Hoback Bench for a quick inhale. We caught another tram and skied another lower face, this time Sublette Ridge. By noon Brad was cooked and had to leave for work. Dave and I rode trams all day and finished it off with two beautiful runs in Corbets. The last tram of the day I was number 92. As we exited Corbets, Walter Stessel was sweeping for Patrol. He liked the fact that the old guys had closed down Corbets for the day. Dave was talking to him, I remembered him, and he invited us to join him on his sweep. OK one more hike up. Where to? Ambassador Ridge which was closed. He said that this was the line Doug skied when he was busted by patrol and kicked out of the resort while he was wearing his JH Ski Ambassador jacket, thus the name Ambassador Ridge. Walter said have at it. We thanked him and we skied waist deep powder down the ridge line. Walter continued on his sweep. That was a real generous gesture. Old school baby. So it went -bell to bell -first and last trams of the day. It doesn't get any more JH than that.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday March 28
So Dave and I met up with Brad Gamble at the Village Cafe-the old Bear Claw and the only structure still remaining since the 80's. It was a welcome sight amidst all the new buildings. Damn the place looks like a resort and not just a ski area. First person I see from the old days is Rob Woodson. He and I took some mountain bikes into Teton National Park to scout out terrain for mountain bike touring in the summers. That was over 20 years ago and he did have a succesful touring business for a while but not in Teton Par. I remember riding up to a butte and looking over to see a herd of bison. We were exhausted from riding, lying on our bellies looking down at these beautiful wild animals. It was so pure. What a memory. We walked by Benny Wilson on our way to the tram. Brad said, You remember this guy? Benny shouts out, "Rich Morse, how the hell are you?" Brad tells him I'm coming up to Alaska too in a week. And Benny shouts out, "Sweet, this is going to be so much fun!" We walked on to the tram and the day began in earnest. It was a typically cold windy no visibility, throw everything at you kind of day. We shredded some old favorites. Rendez-Vous Bowl to No No chute to Bernies. We hit up Bivouac Woods. It was cold, windy and the surface changed from windblown powder to crud to crap. Jackson Hole was just as tough as I remembered but the runs seemed to get longer. We finished up at the Moose. A storm was coming and the anticipation was building. I got a real taste of the Hole on my first day. "Walk on trams" all day. I loved that-no waiting- and I love the saying.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I arrived late Thursday night into SLC. I cribbed with the Tate's, Les , Mike, Charlie and Margeritte. We woke up to some spectacular scheduled openings at Alta. The storm from the previous three days had dumped over 40". The patrol was very cautious about opening up areas because of the huge windloading of the snow. Leslie and I hiked and skied two baldy shoulders out the gate through ballroom and we were in the first wave. It was creamy spring powder. It had a certain bite to it but this is still Utah so it was light. On the second run we were able to coordinate and hook up with Josh Rabinowitz and his son Ethan. Leslie and I were hoping for a PQ ski too but he was off with Jamie Preston. So we skied the groomed on our way to check out the Apron on Devil's Castle. We tried to get Josh and Ethan on our hiking program but to no avail.
So Leslie and I said goodbye and started hiking once more. The boot hike up was steep but the steps were perfect. I had never skied the Apron so I was very excited. It skied beautifully. A nice pitch and again creamy knee deep pow. Ah I like creamsicles. I skied two more Devil's Castle's with Leslie but we approacched it from th traditional side. Both of us have hurting left hips so the two gian hikes from this side of the Castle really balanced out the torque I was feeling in my left side. We just had to make it all even out. So four runs on my first day with fresh powder and fresh tracks., I felt I was off to a good start and my ski legs would be coming back under me shortly. I blew out of Alta and SLC by 4:30pm. I think I left Joshie scratching his head wondering why I wasn't so casual and laid back about my schedule. I was on my way to Jackson Hole after a 22 year absence. It took me this long to finally get the right head to go back. As I entered Teton county and I saw the sign with a big 22 posted on it. I shouted out,"22". That's the number for Teton county and also the number of years it has been since I left this magical place.By 9:00pm I was at Dave McCandless house in Wilson. I stopped in the Stagecoach to get a six to go and the place was dead except for some locals. It still smelled the same. Daveand I hung out and talked and went to bed in anticipation of the snow that was beginning to fall.