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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powder, sunshine for Targhee opening

By Jim Stanford on November 23, 2013

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Frederick Reimers carves a north-facing stash above the Blackfoot lift.

Grand Targhee couldn’t have scripted a much better opening for its 45th season.

A huge crowd from Wyoming and eastern Idaho turned out yesterday to carve fresh powder beneath a brilliant blue sky. The Alta, Wyo., resort opened all of its lifts, with a 4-foot base on the north-facing slopes.

After several weeks of slogging through the backcountry and even up Snow King, shredders were elated to have lift service again. Skiers glided down runs with the crags of the Tetons and Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the distance. To the west, the view across the Gem State stretched for more than a hundred miles.

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new features for avalanche forecast

By Jim Stanford on November 21, 2013

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Nov. 10 slide on Jackson Peak.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center began issuing forecasts several weeks early this year, good timing given considerable snowfall and two avalanches (here and here) triggered by skiers in extreme terrain.

Forecasters continue to improve the website. New this winter is an interactive map on the home page that allows users to find forecasts for other mountain ranges around the West, from the Gallatins of Montana to Utah’s Wasatch and even the San Juans in southern Colorado.

The home page also has a photo gallery of recent avalanches and conditions around the region. The site makes it easier for backcountry travelers to submit observations, and new layers on the avalanche event map show closures for motorized use and winter wildlife.

While traffic on the website continues to grow, phone use (307-733-2664) has dropped off sharply, so much so that forecasters have considered eliminating the phone recording. The number of calls has dropped from 40,000 in 2010-11 to 20,000 and then 10,000 the last two winters, forecaster Bob Comey says.

The snow depth at Grand Targhee is 4 feet. Targhee, located on the west slope of the Tetons above Alta, Wyo., opens tomorrow. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which opens on Thanksgiving, has nearly 3 feet of settled snow.

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April snowier than January

By Jim Stanford on April 22, 2013

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Road sign on Pearl Avenue during last week’s 20-degree weather.

With 9 inches of snow reported yesterday and more falling today, April already has surpassed January for snowfall in the Tetons, as a typically dreary mountain spring masquerades for prolonged winter.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has measured 52 inches of snowfall in Rendezvous Bowl so far this month, compared to 45 inches for all of January, which was plagued by cold drought.

The center ceased issuing avalanche and weather forecasts yesterday but will continue to post automated readings for temperature, wind and snowfall.

The water content of the snowpack in the upper Snake River basin above Jackson Lake now measures 106 percent of average — which is about right, after an average winter.

Props to the spring break-starved prankster who made his or her feelings known about the weather last Tuesday along Pearl Avenue. For the winter weary, relief is on the way, with the National Weather Service calling for sunny and near 60 by the end of the week.

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skimming o’ the pond Sunday

By Jim Stanford on March 16, 2013

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For a second straight year, Snow King’s annual Pond Skimming Party falls on St. Patrick’s Day. And while the recent spring weather would have been ideal, perhaps even filling the pool, the snowstorm predicted for Sunday will only heighten the stakes for skimmers.

Festivities run from noon to 4 p.m., with music, food and sudsy beverages. Last year organizers poured green beer, and there has been talk of coloring the pool. Check out the resort’s Facebook page for photos and more details.

For those looking to celebrate their Irish heritage off the slopes, tonight Center for the Arts hosts the acclaimed Celtic band Lúnasa. Tickets start at $15.

And over in Teton Valley, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles throws its 10th annual St. Patrick’s party at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wildwood Room. Snake River Brewery has made a special batch of Irish stout, and The Flannel Attractions will perform.

This video is from the 2010 pond skim. To all the hardy participants, Sláinte!

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