>Ron Watters, in his book “Winter Tales and Trails”, describes skiing the North Face of Table Mountain as “sublime”. That’s an apt description of what I consider to be one of the best decents on the west side of the Tetons.
Dave Hurley, Matt Leonard, and myself arrived at the trailhead about 6 am and started up the West Ridge. The trail is dry to about the 8500′ mark, where the patchy snow starts. We started skinning about 9000′ on very firm snow. The skinning was great, and we made awesome time to the top, and started skiing about 10.
Dave skinning in the early morning sun.
Matt approaching the top.
Dave approaching the top.
From left to right, Mt. Owen, Grand Teton, and Table Mountain. The ski route follows skiers right near the cliffs in the middle of the picture.
The North Face of Table should only be done in very stable conditions. But in the right condions it is a blast to ski. Rolling hills, a few narrow chutes, and some wide open bowls make for a bit of everything. Near the bottom of the face, you need to be careful and pick a good spot to cross Teton Creek. The snow bridges are getting thin, and the one we picked to cross probably left a bit to be desired. But no one went swimming, and soon we found ourselves loading up the skis for the hike out. Most backcountry skiing, you earn your turns on the hike up, this one you earn them on the hike out. But what a great day! There is still plenty of snow in the Tetons, and still plenty of great turns yet to be made this season!
Earning the turns on the hike out