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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park road to get consistent grooming

By Jim Stanford on January 29, 2014

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Skate skiing is an easy glide by the Tetons.

For skinny skiers, the Teton Park Road is about to get smoother.

Teton County has reached an agreement with Grand Teton National Park to groom 15 miles of the road for Nordic skiing. The county will groom at least once a week between the Taggart Lake parking lot and Signal Mountain Lodge.

As with other trails around the valley, the track will accommodate classic and skate skiing. Donations to the GTNP Foundation, a private nonprofit, will pay for the service.

The road is closed to vehicle traffic during winter. While a popular destination, the park has groomed it only sporadically in recent years as funding and staffing have allowed. Winds tend to eradicate the track quickly.

Jackson-Teton County Parks and Rec will groom on Saturdays and perhaps other days as well. The park will continue to augment the service when possible.

The agreement makes sense for tourism. Skiing or walking along the park road is one of the few premier activities in winter outside the ski resorts.

Besides, there are never enough excuses to go to Dornan’s.

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Chasing Ice screening at Walk Hall

By Jim Stanford on January 15, 2014

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The film chronicles shrinking glaciers.

Staffers at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort have organized an inaugural Eco Night on Thursday, featuring a screening of the acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice is photographer Jim Balog‘s attempt to chronicle the rapidly changing Arctic landscape. Balog placed cameras in some of the harshest environments on Earth and shot time-lapse images of glaciers for three years. He found mountains of ice disappearing.

Also at the intersection of skiing and climate change, writer Porter Fox will be in Jackson on Saturday night promoting his book Deep, which ponders diminishing snow and the sport’s uncertain future. Fox will sign copies of the book during a party at Q Roadhouse, and Lazy Eyes will perform.

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