Like Snowbird and then some. This time the tram goes up 4000 vertical in nine minutes and once you're up there it gets gnarly. A little fresh snow the day before I arrived helped soften the edges and a day off gave my legs a welcomed reprieve.
Benny from Salt Lake put me in touch with Joel in Jackson Hole. They're in a shop owners' ring or something - Ben with Milosport and Joel with Jackson Treehouse. Both cool shops. I never did get to ride with Joel, but he lent me a board more suited to Jackson: a 162 instead of my 155. Many thanks, no one likes submarine-ing.
Before I get to the riding, a word about the accommodations. The Hostel in Teton Village is the best value I've ever stayed at for a ski resort. Warm rooms; bathrooms in every room instead of every floor; a nice community area with TVs, pool table, ping pong, fireplace, tuning area, two refrigerators, microwave, slow cooker (but no stove?); a five-minute walk to the tram and all for around $40 per night. Now that is with a four-bunk room, so you're rolling the dice on roommates. How long are you really going to spend in the room, though? Hopefully not long. Hopefully it snows.
It did for me, anyway. Unfortunately, a bit of trouble with my voucher foiled my plan to get on first tram. I'm not a morning person, so I thought my slopeside room would give me my first shot at a 'first' something. First tram is so much easier than first chair. Did I mention they fit a hundred people in those boats? Not a place to have bad gas like I did at Snowbird. I blame the medium-rare chicken from the night before. Seriously. From a restaurant. Lucky I didn't get sick and file suit. I held it in like a champ, though. Anyway, I settled for among the first five trams. Still a good amount of fresh to be had.
I can't stress enough how hard it is to ride 4000 feet at a time when I'm only used to 2000. All it took for me was two tram runs and my legs were violently reminding me of their fatigue. Then to the gondola (only 2700' vertical). Tree stashes were still giving up pow slashes and the best I found were at the top of the gondola. One place I had to check out was Dick's Ditch, one setting of the Natural Selection contest a few years back. Now, during Natural Selection, they had feet of powder while I only had a few inches, so it looked totally different, but the layout was still there. Hip here, tree bonk there, rock hop, cat track, repeat. Long and deep like a Tolstoy novel. After a couple tries there I wandered around the rest of the mountain, but things were getting bumpy. I made a point to see every side of the mountain just for future reference and when that was done, so were the lifts.
From there on out, the weather turned to spring conditions. Ma Nature hit the Head and Shoulders for a flake free weekend and the sun lit up the mountain like some equatorial beach. My final day was a full-on mellow-park chill sesh. After a few frustrating attempts at finding snow that wouldn't make my teeth rattle, I settled on the mini park. A few stalefish trashcan taps later and it was time for après beers and elk steak.
I couldn't possibly order the buffalo steak with this guy staring me down.
See ya later, Jackson, glad I had the chance! You know I'll be back for a replay next year, especially if I can score some of those cheap, silent auction lift vouchers (see 3b) again.