By: randosteve|Posted on: February 9, 2008|Posted in: Glory, The Tetons | Comments Off on Laps on the Pass…North and South

Good backcountry protocol
Very little traffic on the Pass for a Satuday.

WYDOT made the stealth opening of Teton Pass Friday night after nearly two days of closures. I was going solo and must have checked the webcam 20 times waiting for some cars to start showing up on the webcam on Saturday morning. After a mediocre day on 25 Short the day before, I really wanted to hammer out some vert. I got tired of waiting at about 9 o’clock and drove up the pass to find about 10 cars in the lot.

First lap solo up Glory
First lap in the wind up Glory.

I headed up the bootpack with no one in sight and wondered if I would catch up to the trailbreakers. I didn’t see anyone on the way up and the wind was still hammering pretty good. After about 5 minutes at the top, another skier arrived and said the track had completely filled in already. I skied first tracks on First Turn and kept my speed up crossing the gully at the bottom. High avalanche danger is serious business…and you gotta give it some extra respect sometimes.

Laddie skis the cream
Brian Ladd skis the wind packed cream cheese on the south side.

I stuck the 6′ drop onto the road in style and walked to the top for another lap. I saw a couple friends that were headed to Columbia Bowls…so I joined them. On our first descent towards Edelweiss the snow was still pretty wind effected, though skiing well in pockets were the snow had had a chance to accumulate. We skinned up Edelweiss and it was very evident how warm it had gotten.

Skin track up to my shoulder
The skin track was up to my shoulder through here.

We skied down towards Columbia Bowls in much more consistent snow that was very reactive, bouncy and easy to manage your speed in. After re-skinning, we climbed a steep slope to another ridgeline to the west and encountered a couple sections where the track was up to my shoulders deep. Following good backcountry protocol, we spread out when we crossed the more wide open sections.

Bad cornice etiquette
A little too close to the edge of this cornice.
Good thing the slope underneath it was so benign.
The identity of the skier will remain a mystery.


Nice little moose

We skied another steep treed pitch down into Mail Cabin Creek and decide to put the skins on again and continue up canyon for some more turns. We saw a young moose that seemed to enjoy our company during transitions between laps. After logging three runs on a nice treed section we followed the ridgeline towards the road, trying to nail some lines you can see from the road that are rarely filled in…but are phat this year! We played around stomping on some cornices and one broke underneath one of us. The skier’s identity will remain anonymous in order for him to keep his pride.

Laddie skis into mail cabin
You can just see the pass road in the upper half of the photo.
With all the snow this year, these lower shots tree shots are skiing nicely.

We hitched back to the top and our rigs. The day gave me about 7500” of skiing with only 6000′ of climbing…scoring some free vert with the hitchhiking. Looks like a break in the weather for a day, but I’m back to work now and have to fiddle with some gear for Worlds.