PPP registration deadline today

By Jim Stanford on March 24, 2014

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Conditions could be good for the annual rite of spring.

Competitors and fun-class partiers wishing to participate in the 39th annual Pole Pedal Paddle must sign up today to avoid a $15 late fee.

Register online or at the ski club office upstairs in Snow King Center.

The race will feature a top-to-bottom super-G at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 8-k Nordic ski at Shooting Star, 20-mile cycle to the Snake River and 10-mile paddle to the finish at Astoria Hot Springs.

As the News&Guide reported Friday, the bike leg will be split slightly to accommodate the Nordic course layout, with racers pedaling about a mile to begin skate skiing.

The forecast for Saturday is calling for sunshine and a high of 44 degrees.

Participants may compete solo or with a team, in racing or recreation classes. Fun class is judged not on time but by who appears to be having the most fun. It’s not uncommon to have chiseled Olympians racing alongside costumed beer guzzlers.

Cash prizes of up to $500 will be awarded to the top three finishers in racing class (individuals and teams), with gift certificates for rec class. Raffle prizes include a kayak from Rendezvous River Sports and 2014-15 JHMR season pass.

Entry fees are $60 per individual or $45 per team member. Fun class is $80 per team, and family teams are $70.

After the race, awards will be given at Teton Village, and Michael Franti and Spearhead will perform a free concert as part of the Jackson Hole Rendezvous.

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February snowfall just shy of record

By Jim Stanford on February 28, 2014

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Jess McMillan gets a faceful during this month’s near-record snowfall.

With 7 inches of new snow measured this morning in Rendezvous Bowl, February 2014 will go down as the second-snowiest February since record keeping began at the Jackson Hole Ski Area in 1975.

This month has seen 133 inches of snow fall in the Tetons, trailing only the infamous February 1986, when the Headwall slid to Teton Village and a ski patroller died during avalanche control work.

“This is a very close second to an unbelievable year, an unbelievable February,” Bridger-Teton avalanche forecaster Bob Comey says.

The precise amount of snowfall that fell in Rendezvous Bowl in February 1986 will never be known, as the upper mountain was closed for eight days because of avalanche danger. The 129 inches listed on the avalanche center’s website is an estimate, Comey says.

An additional inch of moisture fell in February 1986, and the mid-mountain study plot received 122 inches of snowfall, compared to this month’s 117.

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Resi to compete in Olympic GS and slalom

By Jim Stanford on February 17, 2014

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(Updated with results and slalom start time, after jump)

Stiegler will race in two events in Sochi.

Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole has been selected to ski in the Olympic giant slalom Tuesday.

Stiegler will be one of four U.S. women to compete in GS. She already had been slated to race in the slalom on Friday.

The giant slalom will begin at 10:30 p.m. MST tonight; organizers have moved up the race because the forecast is calling for snow and rain later in the afternoon. The runs are slated for 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sochi time Tuesday.

NBCOlympics.com will stream the race live, but cable subscribers in Jackson will not be able to watch because Charter Communications has failed to provide an authentication code for its mountain states customers. (Try here for live streaming via European broadcasts.)

NBC will televise the women’s giant slalom in prime time, part of a medley of coverage that starts at 6 p.m. MST Tuesday.

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in memoriam: Slim Weston

By Jim Stanford on February 12, 2014

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Leon “Slim” Weston

Leon “Slim” Weston, the iconic cowboy lifty who greeted skiers at Grand Targhee for 45 winters, died last night after a battle with cancer. He was 72 years old.

Weston’s smile, cowboy hat and long, lean frame were a fixture at Targhee since the resort’s inception in 1969. He appeared in Warren Miller films and a host of ski magazines, gaining as much of a reputation as the resort’s fresh powder. A snowboarder, he was known to give out hugs and back rubs in the lift lines.

“He is the spirit of Grand Targhee and is greatly missed,” resort spokesman Ken Rider said. “A bunch of heavy hearts over here today.”

Weston was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and had been fighting an ongoing battle. Still, he worked three days at the resort last week.

“Whatever he wanted to work, we’d let him work,” Rider said.

Weston was a farmer and rancher who lived outside Driggs. He got his nickname after riding up on his horse at the beginning of a Miller ski movie, and the filmmaker called him “Ol’ Slim.”

Rider said the resort is deferring to Weston’s family on plans for a memorial service. More information will be posted as soon as it is available.

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massive Beaver slide

By Jim Stanford on February 11, 2014

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Beaver Mountain in Hoback Canyon.

What, you were expecting this?

While many people were oohing and aahing about a slow-mo wet slide that oozed into an Italian village, a cataclysmic avalanche occurred over the weekend much closer to home, on the east side of Beaver Mountain.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reported last night that a 6-foot-deep slab released and ran 3,100 vertical feet. The center described it as “R5/D5 sized.” That’s a really big droid.

The slide reportedly carved out a new path, destroying hundreds of trees and piling debris 40 feet deep. “The air blast ran further than the debris and snapped trees estimated to be 150 years old,” the center reported.

Not to be confused with a small ski hill in northern Utah (slogan: Ski the Beav!), Beaver Mountain is located east of Hoback Junction. It is skied from time to time by Hoback locals, one of whom phoned in the report to the avalanche center. Motorists have been pulling over in Hoback Canyon to gaze at the site.

Despite its prodigious size, the avalanche was only the second-scariest news of late involving beavers.

(Photo by Phil H)

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