Carving the Turkey

Buck Mountain view

Today Ann and I skinned up a 3,300 foot slope in Grand Teton National Park, and rode down an aesthetic cliff-walled couloir called the “Turkey Chute”. Though the center of the chute was pretty tracked up from previous skiers, the sides were full of untouched old powder which we happily sliced and diced. Just as sweet as the line itself was the spectacular scenery of Avalanche Canyon, with its surrounding ramparts of Buck Mountain (above), Mount Wister, the South Teton, and Nez Perce.

Snowboarder: Jack Brauer
That’s me laying out a savory carve on a steep powdery wall. Photo by Ann Driggers.

Skiing the Turkey Chute
Ann Driggers skis down the Turkey Chute, with Avalanche Canyon below.

Skiing powder under Buck Mountain
Ann Driggers skis the powder with Buck Mountain looming overhead.

Special thanks to Ann for visiting this week and motivating me to get off my ass and into the mountains for some surprisingly good riding!

Down the Martini

Hiking a steep snowy mountain

Ski hiking in the Tetons

Another great day in the mountains today. After a quick 4,000 foot ascent courtesy of the Jackson Hole tram, we exited the backcountry gates and hiked south along the ridgelines past several peaks until we got to our destination: the so called “Martini Chutes”, named for their appearance of humungous martini glasses – triangular bowls narrowing into tight chutes.

Snowboarding the Martinis
Jason King rides into the big bowl. The warm weather today made for some great springlike snow conditions on this southeastern slope; the snow was pretty much just like spring corn – smooth and just soft enough to lay out some nice big carves.

Snowboarding into a chute
Jason makes his way into the “stem” of the Martini chute – a narrow steep slot through the cliffs.

backcountry skiing
Skier: Ann Driggers.

snowboarding
Jason, pumped on the 4,000 foot descent into Jensen Canyon.

Powder Surprise

Skinning up

This morning I went out for a backcountry hike with my GJ ski buddy Ann Driggers, aka “The Annimal”, who is visiting Jackson with some friends for the weekend. Since it hasn’t really snowed much here in over three weeks, I had very low expectations for the snow quality today. Even so, I was still not enjoying the hike up the ridgeline on the crusty sun-baked old snow, with prospects of a terrible ride back down. The wind was cranking pretty hard out of the east, blowing the fresh 1 inch of snow over the ridgeline onto the western side of the mountain. With that in mind, we decided to drop in the unknown (to us) western face, to maybe get some semi-decent snow.

Skiing powder
Much to our surprise and delight, the slope was smooth and powdery! The wind must have really worked its magic, blowing in maybe four or five inches of smooth firm powder. Not only that, but the line we dropped into turned out to be a great wide open 3,000 foot descent!

backcountry snowboarding
I was hooping and hollering like a little girl on the way down, so stoked to score such a sweet unexpected line. (That’s me; photo by Ann).

snowboarding powder
Me again, enjoying the powder carves.

Skiing backcountry powder
Ann, with the endless Snake River Range in the background.

hauling ass on a splitboard
Here I am going fast.

Powder turns
Ann and our powder turns. What’s that? Preserve the powder? No way!

So, on a day that by any prediction should have been mediocre at best, we ended up scoring great snow and great descent. I tend to be such a powder snob that when it hasn’t snowed in a while I usually just forget about riding and work at the computer for days on end. Today made me realize that perhaps I should work a little less, and ride a bit more, regardless of my weather predictions!

Check out Ann’s blog for more photos and a better write-up.

Vacation Back Home

This last week I took a vacation from Jackson to go home to Ouray, see some friends, and help track up the three feet of fresh snow there! I went splitboarding on the same mountain for four days in a row, riding different untracked lines each day. It felt great to be back in the San Juans for a little while… I love those mountains. Here’s a few skiing and snowboarding shots from the trip.

snowboarding an untracked couloir
Mike Bryson carves into a beautiful untracked chute.

backcountry skiing colorado
Matt Wade skis the pow.

backcountry skiing in the San Juans
Tom Kelly skis a line next to the trees. Notice the tantalizing, but insanely dangerous, San Juan terrain in the background!

skiing powder
Jay Godson enjoying the freshies.

San Juan skiing panorama
Skinning up the ridge of my favorite mountain. That big crossloaded face in the center was virtually off-limits to sane people due to the avy danger; however, if you want to see a headcam video of me hauling ass down that face last year in more stable powder conditions, see here (the second descent in the video).

skiing powder in the San Juans
Tom Kelly slashes the powder.

Alright Albright

Hiking Albright Peak

On Saturday I met up with Forrest Thorniley (a fellow Colorado splitboarder) and his buddy Mike to ride a sizable line in the park. The weather was awesome… sunny, calm, and warm. I was even able to hike the entire way in a T-shirt!

Jack Brauer snowboards

Forrest took this shot of me carving the ridgeline. The snow was a little bit sun crusty. It was ok on a board, but I’m glad I wasn’t skiing (as usual… hehe).

Check out more of Forrest’s photos from the day here.