By: randosteve|Posted on: January 9, 2008|Posted in: Gear, The Tetons, Trip Planning | 5 comments

Wyoming Department of TransportationI haven’t been skiing Teton Pass much lately, but I want to give a shout out to WYDOT for keeping it open for those that skied up there during the big storms of last week.

There was a comment and some discussion on a Teton Pass webcam post last week insinuated that WYDOT intentionally didn’t plow the top parking lot that morning to keep skiers from being up there. I talked with some people I know at WYDOT and I can assure you that is definitely not the case. Bear in mind that the priorities of plowing snow on Teton Pass are as follows…first the road, then the chain up areas and then the parking lots. Instead of getting upset at them for putting a mound of snow behind your car, I would actually thank them for keeping the road even open…which can’t be easy when it’s snowing 1-2” and hour…not to mention doing snow control on the very slopes you are skiing.

One thing to consider when it is dumping like crazy out is that WYDOT only assigns one plow at a time to work on Teton Pass…and they aren’t out there all night either. I’m sure it takes two or three round trips before they can even think about moving beyond the main road after big dumps. In addition, as soon as someone parks in the middle of the lot (instead of as far west as possible) it pretty much shuts down all work on clearing the upper lot. Also…as far as the snow control work up there goes…if you think they are controlling for natural avalanches…guess again. The control work they do on The Pass is to reduce the risk of skier-triggered avalanches crossing the road…period. With they way people are charging up there, we would all probably be dead if they didn’t.

So next time you are cursing because you are having to dig out your rig…consider yourself lucky to have be able to drive up there in the first place and ski some of the easiest assessable and best backcountry skiing terrain in the country. Give them a wide birth and throw them a shaka as you hiking back to the lot instead of a snarl….and if you see them at the bar, I’m sure a beer goes a long way too!!!