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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Posted under Environment, Sports, Weather

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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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avalanche kills skier on Pucker Face

By Jim Stanford on December 26, 2013

Comments: 26 Comments

Crown of the avalanche on Pucker Face. Click to enlarge.

A massive avalanche on a cliff face killed skier Mike Kazanjy today just south of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Kazanjy, 29, who recently came to Jackson from California, triggered the slide at about 1 p.m. on Pucker Face, according to the News&Guide. Several members of his party helped dig him out, and rescuers tried to revive him with CPR, to no avail, the paper reported.

The slide comes after a fast-moving storm deposited more than a foot of snow in the Tetons before Christmas. High winds topping 70 mph buffeted the peaks, creating dangerous conditions.

Today’s Bridger-Teton avalanche advisory warned, “At the mid and upper elevations, backcountry travelers could trigger recently developed wind slabs up to 30 inches deep in steep, wind-loaded terrain.”

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Jackson Hole to offer day of free skiing

By Jim Stanford on November 26, 2013

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Tram worker Mark Hannon captured this image on Oct. 29, when Jackson Hole Mountain Resort already was looking pretty wintry. Click to enlarge.

After sweeping up accolades from national publications, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will give back to the community with a Free Ski Day on Friday.

Yes, free skiing and snowboarding at the Teton Village resort.

Teewinot, Apres Vous, Casper and Marmot chairs will be running. Guests are asked to make a donation of $1 or more, which will be given to Teton Adaptive Sports and Friends of Pathways. The resort will match donations up to $5,000.

The START bus will run to the village for free, parking in the Ranch Lot is free, there will be free clinics for adults and kids, and various eateries will offer $1 food and beverages. Jackson Hole Sports will wax boards for $1.

The promotion hearkens back to the time, as late as the 1990s, when the resort used to offer a nonprofit benefit day at the start of each season.

Enjoy the free amenities while you can. The price of a single-day lift ticket will be as high as $117 this winter.

(Photo via JHMR)

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