Groundhog Day in May with tram set to reopen

When the tram reopens, skiers must hike out of bounds to access terrain. Locals receive free tram rides till June 17, and half-price tickets after that.

Skiers and snowboarders should enjoy good coverage and fresh powder when the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram opens for the season Saturday.

Meteorologist Jim Woodmencey is calling for up to 8 inches of snow by Sunday, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center has rated the danger as moderate. Shredders might want to pack a neck gaiter, with temps in the teens and winds of up to 45 mph …

Wait, isn’t it Memorial Day weekend, time to hit the beach and fire up the barbecue?

Oh, that’s right, it’s Cold Wet Days, the traditional kickoff of “summer” in Jackson Hole.

Not since the thaw of the last Ice Age, perhaps, has Mother Nature conspired to create such surreal conditions in the Tetons. The snow depth in Rendezvous Bowl today measures 158 inches — 16 inches deeper than when the resort closed for the winter on April 3.

Ah, summertime in the Tetons. Wine Fest, anyone?

There is so much snow, and potential for slides, that for the first time in its history the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has resumed issuing forecasts. Today’s advisory:

A cold front that passed over the area early yesterday morning has kept temperatures at the higher elevations in the upper teens and 20s. Pockets of dense wind slab up to 18 inches in depth exist at the upper elevations. These wind slabs could be triggered by humans who venture into very steep couloirs, cliff areas and beneath cornices.

At least the endless winter comes with a bonus: free lift-served skiing! Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is offering free rides to locals (Teton, Sublette and Lincoln counties, with ID) till June 17, and half-price tickets after that.

There is a hitch: Skiers and snowboarders must hike to out-of-bounds terrain such as Cody Peak to the south. In-bounds turns are prohibited. (Although, as of last week, it appeared that one could skin up the mountain and ski just about all the way down Gros Ventre.)

JHMR is pitching sightseeing for tourists. While it might be nippy, there are few opportunities in America to catch a ride to 10,450 feet for such a stunning view.

Old West Days starts today with the Mountain Man Rendezvous and other events. Score some beaver pelts and coyote furs to help keep warm! A complete schedule of events can be found here.

For those looking to drink away the chill, the Rotary Wine Fest is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Snow King Center. Sample the fruits of more than 400 vintners from around the world. Tickets are $35 at the door; proceeds fund $100,000 worth of scholarships for Jackson students and educators.

Hey, I got you, babe.

(Title nod to this movie)

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Posted under Holidays, Ski Resorts, Sports, Weather

3 Comments so far

  1. murph May 27, 2011 1:02 pm

    i think the resort missed a huge opportunity this year. to be able to offer turns in the bowl this summer /winter.some locs would have purchased daily passes after jun 17. hell i bet you could ski the bowl late into july

  2. js May 27, 2011 1:15 pm

    I’m not sure the resort’s lease with the Forest Service permits that. In fact, JHMR neither encourages nor discourages riding the tram for skiing or snowboarding this weekend. It merely is providing access, and as long as people respect the closed in-bounds areas (marked with barricades), the resort has no control over where riders go.

  3. js May 28, 2011 4:52 pm

    There was a tram line this morning. Seven months of winter, and they still have the fever!
    http://www.powdermag.com/stories/jackson-hole-in-may-an-epic-event/

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