What a difference a week makes. It went from arctic to tropical weather in about four days. This Friday started off for me in Teton Park. Dave Hurley and I headed over to ski 25 Short. Dave had never skied it, and I had only been there once and was psyched to do it again. The weather wasn’t looking very good, so we decided we’d drive to Teton Pass, check the skies on the east side of the range and make a decision from there. To our surprise, Jackson Hole was sunny and warm, so we drove down to the Lake Taggert Trailhead. From there it’s a short ski south, then a 3000 foot climb to the top of 25 Short. 25 Short is the name for a knoll that’s 9975 feet tall (get it?) and it’s a favorite of the Jackson locals. There were about 12 cars in the parking lot, which seemed like a lot for a Friday.
But there is plenty of skiing in this area, so you don’t have to work too hard to find fresh lines. As we left the parking lot, we quickly overheated and were soon rolling up the sleeves and stashing the gloves. I even had to put Glop Stopper on. That’s what 35 and sunny will do to you.
By the time we skinned to the top, the wind had kicked up and it was getting cold again, but it the heat was nice while it lasted. 25 Short is the starting point of the famous Turkey Chute, which is a couloir that drops into Avalanche Canyon. There were two guys on top that were headed that way. Even though that’s on my tick list, we decided to save it for another day. The avalanche conditions were very stable, but there had been reports of several couloirs sliding in the last few days.
Looking down the South Side of 25 Short.
We skied down the East Face in some of the best powder of the year. It was real hero stuff. We skied about 1/2 way down, then turned around for another lap part way back to the top. We then skied back to the trailhead, exhausted but happy.
Then on Saturday I got to head out again, this time with Mike and Riley Rieder for a trip up to Girl Scout Camp Bowl. It was even warmer there, but the snow still seemed to be in good shape. There hadn’t been any skier traffic in the area lately so we had to break trail up. At the top, Mike and I were a bit concerned about the stability of the slope. The slope was obviously wind loaded, and with the warm weather we decided we’d better dig a couple of test pits. Our fears were completely relieved with the test results. Neither test column showed any signs of failure. It was probably the best compression test I’ve ever seen. So it was time to ski.
The snow was really good, considering how warm it had been. Not cowboy powder, but still very good skiing. We yo-yo’ed a few laps before heading back down to the scout camp. There is probably twice the depth of snow this year compared to last, so the skiing back to the camp was really easy.
The snow pack is still looking great this year. Today weather might have some negative impact, but I’ll bet it’s short lived and we’ll be back in powder heaven with the next cold snap.