slide photo that went viral not from Teton Pass

By Jim Stanford on January 23, 2012

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Somewhere in Idaho, perhaps, but not Glory Bowl.

The photo of a massive pile of avalanche debris widely circulated this weekend turns out not to have been taken on Teton Pass.

Showing a plow’s width cut through a 20-foot-high wall of snow, the image served as a powerful dissuasion to skiing the backcountry, as well as a commendation to WyDOT staff on a job well done opening the highway.

The image was posted Saturday by Matthias Hans Joachim Richter, a pilot who lives at Devil’s Tower, according to his Facebook profile. He attributed the photo to the pass and advised, “Please be careful out there folks!”

By Sunday morning, the photo was everywhere, as friends shared it on their Facebook pages, inviting discussion and oohs and aahs from their circles. Victor, Idaho, residents were some of the first to share. Among those who reposted it were media figures such as Jackson Hole Radio, Mary Cernicek, Bridger-Teton National Forest spokeswoman, and Teton AT.

A true journalist, Sam Petri wanted to see for himself and perhaps post his own photo on Instagram. Petri phoned friend Tony Birkholz and said, “Let’s go admire this big pile of snow like a couple of rednecks.”

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burgers sizzling as high-end biz MacPhail’s

By Sam Petri on June 14, 2011

Comments: 36 Comments

MacPhail's has taken over the former Taco Bell. The burger joint will offer creekside tables out back, which might appeal to tubers floating Flat Creek.

Five months after Taco Bell crunched, wrapped and supremely split town, a new burger joint that promises to serve locally raised beef on custom-made buns is working to open in the location by July 1.

Owner Bruce Bollinger of Victor signed a lease in April and has been working to revamp the fast-food shell into a 40-seat restaurant that serves burgers, fries, beers and milkshakes in a casual, sit-down environment that’s cheaper than The Bird, he said. (So, despite readers’ pleas, there will be no In-N-Out.)

Workers hung signs for the Broadway business, named after Bollinger’s grandmother, Agnes MacPhail, earlier this month. The restaurant is not a chain.

MacPhail’s is one of several moderately priced eateries opening this summer as Jackson’s once-booming luxury economy flounders. Burke’s Chop House on Glenwood recently relaunched as The Garage, ditching fine dining in favor of burgers, pasta and simpler fare. Pinky G’s is gearing up to open in the Pink Garter Plaza, replacing the former Cafe Ponza pizzeria.

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it has been this kind of a season

By Jim Stanford on March 23, 2011

Comments: 10 Comments

Brian Modena shreds the deepest powder ever. Click to enlarge.

Did I write something about spring the other day? Snow melting?

It sure felt like I paid for it yesterday, lashed by winds and driving snow on a hike more evocative of January than March. Cold, with snowfall rates of up to three inches per hour. Skiers reaped face shots of radioactive powder.

Avid snow statistician (and “Future Primitive” DJ) Eric Balog reported Monday that of the 115 days Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had been open this season, it recorded new snow on 87 of them. Updating that stat with the 28 inches that fell since then, including yesterday’s whopping 22 inches, the resort has reported snow 89 of 117 days, or 76 percent.

No wonder the seasonal disorder affected among us are fleeing to the desert.

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powder fever

By Jim Stanford on January 21, 2011

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Big mountain free rider Sam Petri gets deep in the Teton backcountry.

Powder junkies have been on a serious bender the last few days. There was a lot of hubbub in November and December about the quantity of snow; lately the quality has been exceptional. As in, the sport of skiing can get no better.

And it turned around so quickly. What was a heinous rain crust on Monday became a deliciously deep and light feast Wednesday. And Thursday, for those willing to brave single-digit temperatures and wind gusts to 40 mph, the snow was the silkiest, more air than water.

The Tetons have received nearly three feet of snow this week, and a lot more is in the forecast. The base depth at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is approaching 100 inches, traditionally the benchmark of a great season.

The Snaz has a photo that captures the wonder. And JHMR has been compiling a gallery of early-morning face shots.

Among those hiking Mount Glory on Wednesday was 70-something-year-old Rod Newcomb, who spoke for the hordes gorging on sunshine and knee-deep powder: “We might not get another day like this.”


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WyDOT to continue plowing pass parking

By Jim Stanford on December 2, 2010

Comments: 10 Comments

Rotary plow in action on the pass.

Despite frustration with skiers and snowboarders on Mount Glory, the highway department will continue plowing the parking area atop Teton Pass.

Jamie Yount, avalanche technician for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said plows will keep clearing room for skiers to access the backcountry. But Yount questioned the decision making of those dropping into avalanche paths on stormy days when the danger is high. Three times in two weeks, skiers or snowboarders triggered slides that reached Highway 22; no one was hurt in the incidents, but twice Teton Pass had to be closed to clear the debris.

“I just can’t believe that on high-hazard days, blizzard conditions, people are skiing Glory Bowl,” Yount says. “I just can’t wrap my head around what they’re thinking. It seems crazy to me.”

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