Bob Peters

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Hi, all.

I know I have been pretty incommunicado since the demise of EpicSki but I'm definitely still out here (at Jackson Hole) and still skiing.

I thought I'd start a thread devoted to little reports on how our season is going. I hope to be fairly reliable about what's happening on our mountain, so here goes...

Today, Friday, November 24, 2017, was DAY ONE of lift-served skiing at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. A week ago, we were all in awe of the early season snow conditions here in JH. The Bridger Teton Avalanche Center - http://www.jhavalanche.org/viewTeton - was reporting the most early snowfall in the Teton Range since they've been keeping records almost 50 years ago.

Well, as often happens when Mother Nature has a little time to stop and reflect, things got weird about three days ago. The dreaded Pineapple Express came to visit and temps got to nearly 50 degrees here in the valley yesterday and today.

This morning, six of us collected at the bottom of the Teewinot Chair at 8:45am, only to be greeted by a cold rain and moderate wind. Hoods over helmets, wipers on goggles, hunched shoulders, etc. It was a little off-putting to have the R-word associated with opening day, but we rode up into the clouds anyway.

By midway up Apres Vous, the valley rain had turned to snowflakes and at least we were sliding on snow rather than rain slop. We skied quite a few thousand vertical feet, some in rain, some in fog, some in snow, and some in sunshine. It seemed just like a "normal" ski day in April.

Bottom line - it was outstanding to be back on snow and back on JHMR's lifts. Best of all, we skied with a longtime friend who hadn't skied the resort for two years because he had a live liver transplant a year ago and wasn't able to ski for a year before the operation and is just now getting back on the hill. I skied with him the last time he could ski before the transplant and the first time he could ski after and it felt GOOD for everybody involved.

The upper part of our mountain has incredible coverage for this time of year. The lower thousand vertical feet needs a few good storms. Considering we are still a week away from the end of NOVEMBER!, it's an outrageous start to our ski season. I've now skied at Targhee, a few days on Teton Pass, and a lift-served day at JHMR. It's all good.

Today's best turns? Easy Does It (in the fog). Smooth, huggable, low-angle turns on two inches of cream cheese on a relatively firm base. If you weren't there, you never will be.
 

blah

Getting on the lift
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Posts
124
Love the report! Heading out to Jackson for 5 days over the MLK weekend in late Jan. Keen to get the goods. Great to hear the upper mountain conditions and season are starting with a bang.
 

Tom K.

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2,599
Thanks for the reliable reports, Bob!

I'll be skiing Jackson as usual with "the boys" January 21 - 25.

We gotta meet up for a beer one of these years......
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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Posts
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Day 2 and what a difference a day makes! The temps finally got back below freezing and things seized up quite a bit. They opened the Bridger and Sweetwater gondolas as well as the Casper and Marmot chairs. That opened up a fair bit of new terrain. Early groomers were great (Sleeping Indian in particular). Some folks said some of the groomers were icy but I guess I didn't find that to be the case.

Fairly quickly, we noticed an interesting phenomenon. The warm temps from yesterday and the fairly hard freeze overnight meant that places that had not been skied so far were firm and smooth... basically pre-corn. We were able to find a whole bunch of spots like that and had a blast. Pair-a-Chutes, Barbie Woods, were really cool. We also managed to be first ones next to the patrollers who dropped the closed rope on Study Plots. Multiple runs of table-top smooth snow that was just starting to warm in the sun. OUTSTANDING!

The failure on our part was that we were so glued to the Study Plots that we completely missed the fact that they opened the Thunder Chair a little after 11am. People were riding all over Upper Amphitheater and Laramie Bowl in those same baby-corn conditions. We still managed great turns on Laramie Bowl and to skier's-right of Mouseface Rock.

Then I left at 12:30 and went fishing on the Snake River this afternoon, taking advantage of what's probably my last opportunity to catch cutthroat trout this calendar year. Had some great fishing and came home in the dark.

Fabulous day.

Best turns? Study Plots.
 

SkiNurse

Spontaneous Christy
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Hi, Bob! :wave:
 

Dave Petersen

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Nice job Bob Peters from Council Bluffs, IA (if I am remembering correctly).
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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Hi, SkiNurse. Great to hear from you. You going to make it up here this year?

Dave Petersen... that's outstanding! How many people here have even HEARD of Council Bluffs, Iowa?

Today was a very mixed bag. We had some really nice, smooth, silky turns on groomers on Casper right at 9am. Moved over to the Thunder chair after about an hour and enjoyed the groomers for a bit. Then, we ventured off piste and skied Elephant Tree (thanks for the recommendation, Tim the Night Creature!) and the skier-right edges of Rag Run. Really fun skiing on a smooth, north-facing aspect that is usually hip-deep in moguls. Excellent skiing.

We had gray skies and warm temps through the morning and for awhile it looked like at least we wouldn't see any of that cursed SUN but it came out around noon. Started to really warm up but then the clouds came back and slowed the baking.

Truth be told, we've got some very good skiing on the upper mountain but we need colder temps and snow. The JHMR made a big investment in increased snowmaking capacity this summer. They can now run 80 snow guns at a time blasting 5100 gallons of water PER MINUTE!!!! We need temps back in the teens to give the snowmaking crew a chance to cover the lower runs with white stuff. Some cold temps are coming but it would be nice if Mother Nature would bring us a deep freeze.

Today's best turns? Elephant Tree and the lower reaches of Ranger. Tie.

So far (I can't believe I'm saying this because it'll be the kiss of death tomorrow), I haven't whacked any rocks hard enough to do any damage to my least-favorite skis. Fingers crossed!
 

TonyC

Contact me at bestsnow.net
Pass Pulled
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The warm temps from yesterday and the fairly hard freeze overnight meant that places that had not been skied so far were firm and smooth... basically pre-corn.
That's an interesting description, rather parallel to the conditions of the upper steeps at Mammoth, which had some light rain Monday but which I skied Tuesday. Lower terrain that was actually in the sun did turn to real corn. I agree that much of the hard snow Tuesday was surprisingly enjoyable because it was smooth. It was less so Wednesday as I think it froze harder and I probably overdid it a little on day 1 of the season Tuesday.
Great reporting, @Bob Peters ! I was just looking for some honest input as I will be up there in two weeks.
You should be glad of that choice vs. anywhere in Utah or CoIorado. Targhee and the upper half of Jackson have a decent base and it will only take a little bit of snow to restore ideal surfaces.
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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You should be glad of that choice vs. anywhere in Utah or CoIorado. Targhee and the upper half of Jackson have a decent base and it will only take a little bit of snow to restore ideal surfaces.
True that. It's amazing how much snow there is above 8,500 feet on our mountain (and Targhee's as well). Below that, not so much.

We got a little bit of that snow today but probably not enough to change the overall picture. It didn't really freeze last night, so this morning was mush, crunch, punch, and glop. It was snowing (wet, sloppy-kiss flakes) pretty hard from the base of Thunder up, but we didn't stick around long enough to see if it ever amounted to anything.

Today was one of those days where I went out to test the conditions, found them less than ideal (an understatement) and packed it up after a couple of hours. This was a better day to test out waterproof jackets and pants than to actually enjoy the skiing. Colder temps are already here as I write this in the evening, though, so maybe we're headed toward better days.

Today's best turns? Gannett - much to my disbelief.
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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The cold has returned. We had 3 or 4 inches yesterday (that's all) but temps got into the high teens last night. The snow guns are going crazy and we should have another main way down the mountain (Lower Gros Ventre) perhaps by the end of this week.

We had fun today in the cold sunshine. It was a very, ummm, firm - yeah, that's the term - base underneath the new snow but those conditions are good for your constitution, if not so much for the fillings in your teeth.

Today's best turns? Far side of the Lower Cirque and Ranger.
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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And a report from today, Thursday, Nov 29...

Cold temps, high winds, and a little bit of new snow (like 2 or 3 inches). The snow was drifted into unusual places and the off-piste skiing was very good (in places) if inconsistent. The underlying base was hard as diamonds in some places and relatively pushable in others, so you wanted to be a bit flexible and feathery in the edging department.

They're making snow like crazy on Casper and Lower Gros Ventre and the temperature forecast for the next few days is very favorable. The natural snow forecast? Not so much. Still, it's good skiing in a lot of places and on the lifts I'm running into Colorado and Utah immigrants who are searching out somewhere with mostly white stuff. I guess that's us for the time being.

Today's best turns? Waterfall and Cirque below the Dead Tree. Parts of Middle Gros Ventre are honorable mention. Elephant Tree, which had been super reliable the last few days, was pretty scoured by the funky wind direction.
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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.....That has got to be kind of an unfamiliar experience for some of those folks...
True. Although two or three years ago we (generic "we", including Targhee) were getting invasions of folks from other Rockies and Sierras resorts because of low snow in Utah/Colo/Cali. That's why we're hoping for big snows for everybody - like last year!

Today's report is starting to become bit broken-recordish. The "firm" spots are getting even "firmer". Cold temps have taken over so they're making snow 24hrs/day. They're actually making progress with that and starting to fill up runs on Apres Vous, Casper, and Lower Gros Ventre.

Today's best turns? One of the resort's lowest-aspect runs anywhere on the upper mountain... Campground.

So named, I just learned last year, because way, way back when resort founder Paul McCollister was first exploring the terrain of this mountain in the middle of nowhere, he and his son spent days in the summer wandering on foot and horseback around the upper mountain. The place where Campground run is now was where they camped while mucking about. Later when they were naming the runs, the moniker "Campground" seemed extremely appropriate.

And now you know, too.
 

John O

Getting on the lift
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266
Location
Seattle, WA
I have nothing particularly useful to add to this thread other than some words of encouragement. Even though I won't make it to Jackson anytime soon, for some reason I love reading these regular updates... keep 'em coming @Bob Peters.

:daffy:
 

wyowindrunner

Getting off the lift
Skier
Posts
333
True. Although two or three years ago we (generic "we", including Targhee) were getting invasions of folks from other Rockies and Sierras resorts because of low snow in Utah/Colo/Cali. That's why we're hoping for big snows for everybody - like last year
Several years ago when I was living in the Red Lodge, MT. area, we had a 75" base before Christmas. This is pretty much unheard of at Red Lodge, generally the they get the big dumps in later in the season. The whole area was open-even Palisades- which some years does not open or just opens a weekend or two-( no snowmaking in that area), anyway, the rest of the Montana Rockies were pretty bare. Was riding up the lifts with people from all over the country who had canceled other plans to come to Red Lodge!
 
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Bob Peters

Bob Peters

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Me skiing Council Bluffs, Iowa. :D
View attachment 34269
That is so frickin' fantastic! Great looking hill and nice snow (and excellent skis as well!).

I have nothing particularly useful to add to this thread other than some words of encouragement. Even though I won't make it to Jackson anytime soon, for some reason I love reading these regular updates... keep 'em coming @Bob Peters.

:daffy:
That's really nice of you to say, John O. Thank you!
 
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