After the Big Mountain Snow Safety course, I intended to keep driving North and spend some time in Montana. But Jackson fully sucked me in. I have some close friends there, I made lots of new friends, and the snow just kept falling from the sky… so stayed as long as I could before needing to be in BC. Highlights include..
- 5+ inches of snow nearly every day
- Skiing with one of best and oldest ski friends, Nate Carey
- Making so many new friends, you know who you are
- Alone time in the cabin
- Fixing my heater in the van
- Skiing two different side country zones off Jackson Hole Resort that I’ve always wanted to ride
- Bootpacking Glory in Teton Pass countless times
- Leading two new friends into GTNP which was symbolic of my growth
- And so much more
My time in Jackson was absolutely incredible although I had one very intense day. It was a Friday and it was my last day in the cabin. The prior day I cleaned the heck out of the cabin and that night slept on the floor on a sleeping pad so I could leave the place spotless. I heard the nightbefore that my cousin’s father passed away (my ex Uncle?). I was so saddened by the news. And at 5am on this Friday I googled his name and read that he had taken his own life with a Smith and Wesson revolver. This detail I was fully unaware of and I absolutely could not (and still can’t) believe it. This all came after two other deaths in my family so I was already feeling so raw. It hit me harder than I would have realized. I was heartbroken for my cousins and their family.
It was a very cold morning and I proceeded to carry my belongings from the house to my van. I opened up the van and snapped the metal handle to the sliding door of the van. Are you kidding me? This was symbolic of how I remember feeling about getting into my very cold van, completely broken. The vey expensive heater that I purchased for the van was not working and I could not figure it out. It was literally so cold that I was not sure I would be able to continue onward.
But, I had a plan to meet my friend Nate so I was heading to Jackson Hose Resort. On the way, he called me and let me know that he was running a few hours late. This was okay because it gave me time to try to work on the heater. I called the service technician for the heater about a thousand times and finally got him on the phone. This was like my tenth time on phone with him and I proceeded to rip the inside of the van apart so I could access the heater. First I removed the fridge, then the face plates of the heater to reveal the circuit board. We started messing with the circuit board but couldn’t get the thing to work. After about 1.5hrs, Nate shows up. I am about to give up on the heater completely, but Nate insists we keep working. Finally, we fix the heater and celebrate. I went from such a low low, to such a high high after fixing the heater.
After fixing the heater, Nate and I went and skied some absolutely epic lines the JH side country.
The highs continued.During this time, I was also making a plan to ski an buddy Austin who lives in Jackson. We hadn’t linked up yet on this trip so I was excited to ski with him. We made plan to ski tomorrow, Saturday. After skiing with Nate, I called Austin to check in and make a plan for tomorrow. Austin proceeded to tell me that he was caught in an avalanche earlier in the day. He and his partner were airlifted by helicopter out and his buddy was flown to Salt Lake City to the ICU. Holy Fuck. I was back low. This hit me hard as well.
All in all, this was a super gnarly day, one that I hope not to forget. The emotions were so real and raw and all over the place. So much good, so much sadness, all in one day.
My time in Jackson was special. The community took so much care of me. Elizabeth was my first Jackson Hole Angel, but so many more arrived just when I needed them.
Photo Credit Above: Brian McGoegh
After 2+ weeks in Jackson, it was time to book it to BC where I had plans to be by March 4th. Onward again.