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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words of wisdom for autumn trails

By Jim Stanford on October 8, 2013

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Stewardship of trails requires some restraint.

Anyone who has ventured onto shaded or north-facing slopes in recent days has discovered muddy trails, so wet with melting snow in places that even careful foot passage is nearly impossible.

It’s frustrating when mountain bike season comes abruptly to an end, even more so when pathways are closed by a government shutdown. But there still are several good options (South Park Loop, anyone?) for getting a wheeled workout, especially on a road bike.

From Friends of Pathways:

Riding in mud can wreck the tread on the trail by leaving ruts that dry into hard bumps. This in turn contributes to erosion and further damage, while creating unrideable and hard-to-fix trail surfaces. If you are leaving a visible rut, the trail is too muddy to ride!

Varying weather conditions during the spring and fall can be especially critical for trails. You can still get out and ride and walk the trails, but please be aware of wet trail and very muddy spots. If you see that it is too wet, dismount your bike, push your bike through the mud, and walk on the edge of the trail.

Please don’t ride around the mud spots either; this creates an unsustainably wide trail and can even create two trails in one spot.

Perhaps it’s best to save the mountain bike for Moab or other points south.

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here’s why refuge pathway is closed

By Jim Stanford on April 14, 2013

Comments: 47 Comments

North Highway 89 pathway near Gros Ventre River last fall.

To the chagrin of many cyclists, the Highway 89 pathway north of town along the National Elk Refuge is closed until April 30.

The closure is part of the deal Teton County arranged with the refuge to build the pathway in 2011. Despite a recent plea by cycling advocate Tim Young to open the path early, the refuge is sticking to the specified dates.

The path offers a velvety-smooth ride 10 miles to Moose and another 8 miles to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Only the portion along the refuge, between Jackson and Gros Ventre Junction, is closed from Oct. 1 to April 30 each year; the park sections presumably are rideable when free of snow.

Although it may seem aggravating and bureaucracy at its worst, there is a rationale behind the closure. To better explain it, county pathways coordinator Brian Schilling provided the following list of frequently asked questions. The bottom line: Be patient, people, and let the refuge finish studying impacts.

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cold not a record; PPP nordic leg on

By Jim Stanford on March 25, 2013

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Temperature at the airport.

Today’s chilly morning, with a temperature of -8 degrees at Jackson Hole Airport, made for lots of annoying “I’m glad I’m on spring break” Facebook posts, but it was not a record, according to meteorologist Jim Woodmencey.

The record for March 25 in Jackson is -27 degrees, set in 1965, he said.

The meteorologist noted colder temperatures in Bondurant (-18) and at Yellowstone Lake (-19) this morning. The lows may have been even a few degrees colder before dawn, he said.

The recent blast of winter has ensured that there will be a nordic leg for the 38th annual Pole Pedal Paddle on Saturday. The Jackson Hole Ski Club will set a course at the base of the mountain by the Teewinot and/or Eagle’s Rest lifts.

Today is the deadline to register for the PPP without paying an additional $15 registration fee. Sign up to participate individually or with a team here.

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design begins for Wilson riverside park

By Jim Stanford on April 26, 2012

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Rendezvous Lands Conservancy park is outlined roughly in green. The 40-acre property abuts the 11-acre BLM parcel to the south that is slated to be transferred to Teton County. Click to enlarge.

Around Christmas, as parties negotiated the final terms of a deal, I apprised venerable outdoors columnist and cult fishing legend Paul Bruun of efforts to create a park along the Snake River near Wilson.

“This is the biggest thing to happen for the river since …” I said, struggling to put the deal in perspective.

“Since forever,” Bruun finished the sentence for me.

The 40-acre property acquired by Rendezvous Lands Conservancy — located upstream of the Wilson bridge, on the northwest bank — will be a jewel for recreation, a place where the community can interact with the river in a setting likely nicer than the old Wilson Beach.

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