Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Big mountains with little snow

I met my brother S__ to ski for a couple of days in Wyoming.  This was a trip I could ill afford from a schedule perspective, but my rule is never, never to miss a family weekend.  (It's a rule born of living 3000 miles from my closest immediate blood relative.)

The snow was pitiful for the second year in a row.  Trees and rocks sticking up all over the hill.

Jackson Hole mountain is extraordinary.  Big, wild, and scary.

A few observations, in no particular order:

1.  I can tell I'm getting older, and enjoying it, when I like standing on top of the hill and admiring the view as much as I like skiing down the hill.
2.  S__ observed that skiing technique has passed us by, and he's right.  I grew up learning a turn that is basically a skate-step combination, permitting me to accelerate into the arc of the turn and ride the ski's rebound into the next turn.  Modern skiing appears to be a process of throwing one's weight to initiate a turn.  When a skier does it well, it's pretty amazing to watch.
3.  I can tell I'm getting older, and enjoying it, when I get as much pleasure out of watching S__ ski as I do out of skiing myself.  Partly it's because I appreciate good skiing (and he skis well).  (Here too.)  Partly it's because over 35 years of skiing -- a rough guess says 350 days in that time frame -- 95% of my turns have been within 200 yards of S__.  I am pretty sure I can feel his skiing nearly as tangibly as I can feel my own.
4.  You know you are skiing in Wyoming when you find yourself two valleys outside of the ski area boundary and you are skiing moguls.


  1. I keep trying to carve on parabolics. It's like stepping on a slingshot . . .

  2. I find Grand Targhee in Idaho on the opposite side of the mountain more interesting and better snow on average than Jackson Hole, although not nearly as chic. At the opposite end of the state, there is some decent skiing near Centennial, Wyoming near Laramie.

  3. I drove in to the base of Grand Targhee a few years ago. It looks like a great hill, with just the right attitude. Thanks for the recommendation.