February 21, 2007

Intermediate Day, Jackson Hole Style...

Well today was an "Intermediate" day, I tried hard to avoid one of these on my programme but the web page that let me build the programme forced me into it ;) Still, it didn't seem to be too much of a problem because, of course, this is Jackson Hole and normal classifications don't apply*. Today was a Jackson Hole Intermediate day...

In summary: trees, powder, alta 1 chute, more trees, more powder, expert chutes, more trees, more powder, tower three chute, more trees, more powder, paint brush, more trees, more powder a groomed trail in there somewhere I'm sure...

The way this repping lark works is that way before our slot starts we create a programme, here's mine, which includes days of various difficulty levels. Assuming people of the right level turn up on the day then you have to ski to that level; so if it's a glorious powder day but you have a low intermediate day on the programme and 11 BASI trainers turn up and so does Aunty Betty (who's a low intermediate) then, well, you're destined to spend the day skiing with Aunty Betty and sticking to the groomers... If, however, only the 11 BASI trainers had turned up then you could all go jump in Corbets all day and that would be just fine.

We had anouther 15cm of snow last night, it snowed most of the day and the vis was reasonable to poor. This morning I arrived at the meeting point and the guy I've been skiing with all week was there as was another guy and his son. The first thing the new guys said was "what level are you today?", I told them, "Oh, we probably should have come yesterday then..."... A brief discussion ensued and I determined that they'd skied here six year's running and skied most things except Corbets... It was two minutes until the official meeting time and we gave Aunty Betty another 10 in case she was running late due to the snow on the road; she never turned up so we skied an advanced day. Woo!

We started with a run down under Apres Vous, the Gondola line was pretty large and, well, there's plenty of stuff to have fun on off of Apres Vous if you know where to look. We stayed on piste, I took it easy, they kept up and were in control and skiing well, I cranked up the pace, rinse, repeat. Next time down we took the choppy stuff and trees between the groomed trails. Next time down we did Saratoga. Next time, we traversed into the Moran Woods and headed for Casper. Two runs down through the woods and someone wanted a drink of water, we'd dropped too low for the Casper restaurant so cut down through the trees to the base.

One coffee stop later we were in the Gondola and on our way towards Sublette (which was open today!). Given that the new guys had skied here so often I suggested that they should come up with suggestions for routes if they knew any good ones; they were both very strong skiers so this didn't worry me. The first new thing I learned today was that you can do a long traverse and a bit of a climb from the Gondola and then drop into the bottom of the Cirque and then head down to Thunder. This was much steeper and more fun (open powder face with lots of new snow) than the runs down through the gulleys and trees that I had previously been using to get there...

Up Thunder and down towards Sublette via the trees next to Grand. On the way up the new guys talked about the Alta Chutes which had previously looked rather bare, today they looked stacked with snow... From the top of Sublette we dropped straight down to the East Ridge chair and headed up to the top. One down skiers left of Rendevous Bowl, in the open trees, and one down the middle (nice powder) and then the wind and cold made us decide to go lower. Down Central Chute into Cheyenne Bowl and then along the "James Bond Traverse" to pick up half of Pepi's run and then off through the trees down to Sublette.

Back to the top of Sublette and this time we took Dog Face to the top of Pepi's Run and the dropped down Alta 1. Nice snow, good pitch, narrow, fun. Back up Sublette and right at the top again but this time along Tensleep Traverse and down to the Expert Chutes. Again, good snow, etc. From there we dropped down to Thunder and the took Lower Tramline to the base. Time for lunch.

After lunch we took the Gondola and headed back to Thunder via my new route. Thunder was quiet, there was wind high up and plenty to ski here so we looped on Thunder and did Tower Three, Hoops Gap (variations) and Paint Brush. Each finished with a fast burn down the relatively groomed lower half of Amphitheater. One last trip to the top and then we dropped down to Sublette via the trees to skiers right of Grand. Sublette was closed, as expected at 15.45 and we skied some excellent, mostly untracked, powder on Rawlings Bowl, South Colter Ridge and Buffalo Bowl (creeping left and down) before dropping on to Union Pass and taking the Union Pass chair back towards the base.

Time for beer.

(* as found on the Jackson Hole trail map, where they're explaining the colours and gradings assigned to the runs: "This is a system specific to Jackson Hole and does not reflect the same degree of difficulty as similarly rated trails at other ski areas."

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Posted by Len at February 21, 2007 07:55 PM | Categories: Season 2 - Ski Days , Ski Club of GB Rep
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