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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after the burn

By Jim Stanford on August 8, 2013

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A cyclist descends the West Game Creek trail through an area of forest scorched by the Little Horsethief Fire. Photo by Brenton Reagan

Eleven months after the Little Horsethief Fire burned the back of Snow King, nature is rejuvenating itself.

Twice this summer I’ve been fortunate to ride with friends the newly improved West Game Creek trail that descends from the top of the mountain.

The first trip, back in early July, revealed a moonscape of burned-out trees and soot on the ground. Thanks to the efforts of the Forest Service and volunteers, the trail was in surprisingly good shape. Lupine and other wildflowers were blooming in places.

I returned last weekend to find fields of fireweed in the burned areas. Beyond the pink blossoms stood perfect stands of high grass. A hum was audible: bumble bees buzzing through the forest.

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trails, tunes await festgoers

By Jim Stanford on July 19, 2013

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Steve Jones descends the new 38 Special trail into Teton Canyon.

One of the perks of the Widespread Panic weekend at Grand Targhee — redeeming the festival from just total hedonism — was trying out some of the new mountain biking trails at the resort.

Targhee has been improving its trail network in recent years, adding signage for the Quakie Ridge Loop in Rick’s Basin and Lightning Loop to the south. The Mill Creek downhill into Teton Canyon also has seen a substantial upgrade.

Now there are a couple of well-marked routes going up and down Peaked Mountain. Accessed from Lightning Ridge, the Peaked trail climbs in gradual switchbacks to the top of the Peaked chairlift before linking up with 38 Special, a long downhill full of banked turns. 38 Special descends into Mill Creek, and riders can continue all the way to Teton Canyon or climb back to the resort.

There’s also plenty of lift-served downhill biking on the front of Fred’s Mountain, for those who prefer to do their climbing via a chairlift ride.

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Posted under Environment, Ski Resorts, Sports

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Snow King seeks zip line approval

By Jim Stanford on January 22, 2013

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Today the Jackson Town Council will consider a request by operators of the Snow King Ski Area to build a zip line on town land at the bottom of the mountain.

Snow King first floated the idea last May, and the reaction (here and here) has been less than enthusiastic.

This clip, apparently a promotional video made by the manufacturer, illustrates how the zip line would operate. Snow King has provided little information about the design, other than a diagram showing the proposed location.

The zip line would be 700 feet long, constructed east of the Cougar chairlift and west of the ice rink. The top and bottom stations would be on two parcels of land owned by the Town of Jackson. Snow King owns the parcel in between.

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Posted under Economy, Entertainment, Environment, Politics, Ski Resorts, Sports, Town Government

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Video Blitz boosts filmmakers, nonprofits

By Jim Stanford on October 25, 2012

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Last Saturday, 1 Percent for the Tetons staged perhaps its most successful Schechter Fest yet: screenings of eight short films about the latest round of projects funded by 1 Percent donations.

Nearly 400 people — many of them friends of the young filmmakers — poured into Center for the Arts to watch the clips and vote for their favorite. The above video, by KGB Productions, was the funniest — no surprise, given that KGB are the professional makers of Wyoming Triumph. Because it was voted best by the audience and a panel of judges, the video won an additional $1,000 for the filmmakers and $1,000 for the Candyland Trail built by Teton Freedom Riders.

1 Percent is continuing the Blitz with online voting that will award an additional $1,000, to be split between maker and nonprofit. All of the videos are posted on the 1 Percent website, and the deadline to vote is 5 p.m. Nov. 2.

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Posted under Art, Economy, Environment, Humor

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