The Tetons are too tiny for the cancerous Arc’teryx Academy

arcteryx academy 3

Last Saturday my backcountry ski partner and I encountered 73 other skiers while skinning up an avalanche prone peak in Grand Teton National Park.  The vast majority of these folks —  approximately 69 of them — were paying customers, pro skiers, photographers, and Exum guides associated with the 2nd annual Arc’teryx Backcountry Academy.

Overcrowding was the norm on many peaks in GTNP last week due to the influx of folks associated with the Backcountry Academy.  This year’s Academy was limited to 300 customers, up from 240 at the inaugural event last winter.  Many of these customers will certainly return to Jackson Hole — with friends — for winters to come, stoked to share their newfound knowledge of the Teton Range.

As backcountry skiing continues to grow in popularity it is inevitable that the Tetons will see more wintertime traffic, but an annual event generating marketing hype, creating repeat customers for guided ski tours, and essentially selling the secrets of this sacred mountain range is guaranteed to exponentially escalate the onslaught.  The Arc’teryx Academy is doing exactly that.

By day the Academy offers Exum-guided tours with Arc’teryx athletes and clinics covering everything from “How to Ski a New Line” to backcountry photography.  By night the Academy hosts happy hours, movie premiers, live music, and even a “JACKSON EXPOSED” photography contest challenging six pros to “capture the essence of the backcountry ski and snowboard culture that surrounds the Tetons.”

This “captured essence” will be bottled up and used to sell more Arc’teryx outerwear, Exum-guided adventures, Atomic skis, Scarpa boots, Suunto watches, Yeti coolers, and assorted other products sold by the Academy’s dozen or so corporate sponsors. The Academy is also supported by the controversial 4JH Lodging Tax, which uses public funds to attract more visitors to Jackson Hole amidst already record-setting crowds.

The Academy has been heavily promoted in the ski media, and even has it’s own social media app. Craftily marketed as an educational, community-oriented experience, the Academy is also a corporate spectacle exploiting the Tetons and disrespecting local backcountry ski culture and ethics.

For example, as I experienced firsthand last Saturday, Exum and the Academy profited handsomely by running 8 groups of 6-10 skiers up one mountain simultaneously.  Isolated, smaller groups of 2-5 are more typical of  guided ski tours in Tetons.

Large groups — and especially large groups stacked atop one another — are frowned upon by local skiers who generally travel in groups of 2-4.  This is due to obvious avalanche safety concerns and a sense of respect and secrecy similar to surf culture.  Bringing 300 clients to the Tetons for a four day gangbang is like showing up on the North Shore of Oahu with a few busloads of novices paying big bucks for surf lessons.  At best, it’s an annoyingly uncool way to make money.  At worst, it’s deadly.

But hey, let’s look at the bright side: the Academy served free beer from 4-6 at their nightly happy hour events!

It’s called PR, people.

If the #ArcteryxAcademy is normalized, accepted, and continues to grow it can only exacerbate serious issues already facing Jackson Hole’s passionate community of backcountry skiers.

There is already a constant warning from WYDOT that Teton Pass may be closed to skiers due to overcrowding and kookiness. An annual profit-driven event specifically designed to import and school hundreds of highly motivated folks with more money than snow sense will not improve this situation.

There is also a push to close more peaks in Grand Teton National Park to skiers due to concerns that increased wintertime human presence is affecting the native Bighorn Sheep population. More guided parties and visitors encouraged/empowered to “ski a new line” in GTNP will not improve this situation.

Absurdly high lift ticket prices ($160 per day!) have made access to the Teton backcountry from JHMR cost prohibitive to many locals, and — due to kookiness and overcrowding — a few more key parcels of private property at the base of the Tetons have been closed in recent years, limiting access to some of the best zones around.

Meanwhile, there is no apparent will by regional branches of the federal government to improve wintertime access to the mountains around Jackson Hole.  Is GTNP considering the possibility of opening the entire park loop road or even extending access to Jenny Lake? Nope. Is the USFS pushing to limit snowmobile access to more of the National Forest? Yep.

Already plagued by these concerns, the last thing we need is for the Tetons to become the official training grounds for the planet’s growing legions of backcountry novices.

Even if the looming threat of more closures wasn’t a issue, the Tetons aren’t nearly as expansive or accessible as many people perceive them to be.  The total area of the Teton Range is ~400 square miles, but ~300 square miles of the range is difficult to access or otherwise not good for skiing.


The total area accessible to day-tripping skiers spanning from Taylor Mountain on Teton Pass to Cascade Canyon in GTNP is only ~54 square miles, and that includes JHMR, areas blocked by private property, and a couple of zones already closed to human access for wildlife’s sake.  Generally, the western slope of the Tetons are too low angle or inaccessible for good skiing.  The mountains surrounding Grand Targhee Resort adds another ~10 square miles of skiable terrain for a grand total of ~64 square miles.

jackson hole skiing

The mountains accessible to day-trippers from the three winter trailheads in GTNP  cover an area of only ~27 square miles, and that includes the eastern aspects of all the high peaks, which — to say the least — don’t accommodate crowds very well.

teton park skiing

This is the area that Exum and the Arc’teryx Academy seems most intent on exploiting for profit.  These incredible mountains should not be for sale, at any price.  That’s why Grand Teton is a National Park.

We’ve already seen what excessive guided mountaineering has done to the Tetons in the summertime.  Now Exum and Arc’teryx are actively expanding wintertime operations.  Hopefully, some Exum guides can see the writing on the wall and are wondering if getting paid a couple hundred dollars per day is worth what will be lost.

To put the size of the Tetons into perspective let’s compare it to the ski terrain accessible at one of several excellent backcountry ski destinations in Canada: Roger’s Pass between Revelstoke and Golden.  There dozens of 4000-7000 foot peaks drop right down to the highway offering ~128 square miles of accessible ski terrain.

rogers pass

Some of the terrain on Roger’s Pass is densely treed or too craggy, but the same holds true of the ~27 accessible square miles in GTNP.

Comparing the ~128 square miles of easy access on Roger’s Pass to the mountains of coastal and central BC it immediately becomes clear that Canada is utterly stacked with thousands of square miles of huge, snowy peaks.

BC mtns 2

This prompts an obvious question: why is a Vancouver, BC based outerwear company blowing up the relatively tiny Tetons?

Canada is blessed with thousands of square miles of backcountry ski terrain, several world class ski resorts, several ski towns similar to Jackson, at least a dozen helicopter ski operations, countless lodges and huts tucked away in remote zones, and hundreds of certified mountain guides.  Additionally, Canada still has real glaciers, which could be an excellent asset to the Arc’teryx Academy’s crevasse rescue classes.

Maybe — just maybe — Canada would be a better place for the Arc’teryx Academy.  Or Alaska!  Or Siberia!  Or Kazakhstan!  Or Antarctica!  Or anyplace with a lot of snowy mountains to explore and very few people doing so.  At the risk of sounding like a NIMBY, anywhere but the Tetons would be preferable.

Perhaps Arc’teryx could use the profits from selling $500 jackets to civilians and cushy government contracts to outfit the military to build it’s own Hogwart’s School of Backcountry Wizardry way up some remote fjord somewhere.  The Academy could charter a cruise ship out of Vancouver, host spectacular parties every night, and accommodate 1000s of skiers up there!

Yes, I’m cracking jokes because a sense of humor can be helpful when dealing with difficult subjects.

Bottom line:  When the crew from Arc’teryx heads back to the relatively limitless peaks of British Columbia with pockets full of cash and digital archives full of marketing materials the issues of access and overcrowding in the tiny Tetons will still remain.

You are free to let them know how you feel about the situation.  Here’s who to contact.

One Love.  Peace.

arcteryx academy contacts

justin sweeny

rogers pass skiing


A Friendly Reminder for Mayor Pete Muldoon and the Jackson Hole Climate Advocates

Tonight, January 20th, 2020, the first public meeting of the Jackson Hole climate advocates will be held at 7pm in the beleaguered Pink Garter Theater.  After attending the recent Mountain Towns 2030 meeting in Park City, Mayor Pete Muldoon and associates are looking to rally the troops and reduce Jackson’s carbon emissions, to achieve carbon neutrality, and to transition the Hole towards a post-carbon economy.

While this goal sounds rather lofty and unrealistic, it could actually be surprisingly easy to obtain.  All we have to do is build up our own band of masked marauders like Antifa or young servants of the state reminiscent of the Hitler Youth and empower them to:

*blow up all the runways at local airports.

*trigger landslides blocking all roads into — and out of — Jackson Hole.

*burn the Village and all other tourist businesses.  Granted, this is not very environmentally friendly in the short term, but when facing a planetary meltdown, ocean boiling, Venus Syndrome, doomsday scenario the ends are said to justify the means.

That is what we’re facing, right?  And it’s happening now!?  And it’s all due to CO2?!?!  So our storm troopers must also…

*repeatedly fire long guns into the engine compartments of all combustion driven automobiles, machinery, and equipment.

*disable and dismantle all unsustainable electrical systems, gas utilities, and wood stoves.

*convert all the recently abandoned mansions into passive solar and geothermal heated greenhouses (not barns — we can’t have too much livestock farting, after all).

*disband government due to lack of tax revenue from economic activity.  Government is, after all, the biggest polluter on the planet.

*religiously ban plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic packaging, plastic housewares, plastic recreational equipment, plastic tampon applicators, and all things plastic.  So it doesn’t end up in the ocean — which is only 700 miles away, mind you, and getting closer every day as sea levels rise —  we can burn huge piles of plastic like the Nazi’s burned books.  The hoarding or use of plastic will be punishable by death.

*promote localized tribal warfare and… cannibalism!

Because — let’s be honest here — despite being ~95% uninhabited, the Hole, like the rest of this beautiful planet, is hopelessly overpopulated, and the only way to get remotely close to carbon neutrality is by eliminating as many carbon-spewing creatures as possible.

Malthus was right(!!!) — we’re all gonna die due to overpopulation — even if the last 220 years of technological innovation have kinda, sorta proved him wrong.

Speaking of technology and history, there’s also this sort of thing to consider:

Article from the Toledo Blade, 1956.  Courtesy of
Article from LA Free Press, 1972.  Courtesy of



New York State Digital Library
New York State Digital library


Regardless of whatever “inconvenient truths” history reveals, you climate advocates can count on my help in your efforts to tighten the noose around humanity’s… *wink, wink*… carbon emissions.  Full truth told, I’m hoping to be able to sign up to work with the #JHCarbonKillers Youth Group at tonight’s meeting.  7pm at the Pink Garter Theater.

We ski bums, rednecks, and mountain folk are eagerly awaiting your initiatives: we’ve spent recent decades learning to scavenge, survive, and even thrive on adversity, so, I say, please, by all means necessary, plot us a course straight into the post-carbon heart of darkness.

What’s that you say?  You find that approach a bit excessive?  You still want to drive cars, fly in planes, ride ski lifts, get rich off of tourist income and real estate scams, hire Mexican and Moldovian slaves at poverty wages, get fat thanks to prepackaged foods, celebrate consumeristic holidays, sleep in heated homes, sip ice cold cocktails while screwing your insignificant other in the sauna, scrub the guilt off with a long, hot shower, and enjoy all the carbon-dependent comforts and conveniences which you, your children, and pets have grown accustomed to?

OK!  No problem, I’ve got another idea on how we can totally cut carbon emissions!

We can start our own — shhhhhh! — “secret society” complete with secret handshake, secret code-words, and secret symbols.  It won’t be a “conspiracy” because we’ll be secretly working to save the planet, NOT for power, profit, or personal satisfaction!

By plotting together we’ll quickly infiltrate organizations and take on positions of power and influence.  We’ll work behind the scenes to tweak the political, educational, economic, financial, food, and healthcare systems ever so slightly — and slowly, almost imperceptibly — in such a way that the vast majority of Jacksonites won’t even notice what’s happening!

We’ll make the essentials more expensive — food, fuel, housing, healthcare, etc. — until disposable income becomes a thing of the past for the working class.  Less disposable income means less consumption.  Expanding scarcity and institutionalized poverty will be great for the planet!  It’s been scientifically proven.

Implementing carbon taxes will be a crucial step towards bringing about planetary poverty.  Right now the entire economy — in fact all of society — has been made so hopelessly dependent on carbon that by raising taxes on things like carbon fuels and fertilizers we can effectively control the availability and price of everything, most importantly food, jobs, and even the value of human life.

We’ll put specially formulated chemicals in the food, water supply, and medicines designed to make *most* people docile, dumb, sickly, and infertile.  Sure, there will be “cures” for all these necessarily evil chemicals, AND… we can sell these cures to fund our planet saving efforts!

We’ll take over the media and the schools and use both to push our opinions.  Just in case you’re not sure, here’s the script that WE ALL HAVE TO STICK TO, no questions asked:  The biggest environmental problem facing humanity is climate change.  In fact, it’s the only environmental issue that really matters.  Climate change is going to destroy the economy, threaten national security, and eventually kill us all… ANY… DAY… NOW!!!  You PARENTS and KIDS should be especially scared!!!  And, most importantly,  CO2 is the ONLY factor of ANY importance CAUSING climate change!  It’s been scientifically proven by projections based on computer models, after all!

By making more people poor, sick, infertile, stupid, and selectively uninformed (aka brainwashed) we will not only make ourselves more powerful, and our control system more “sustainable”, but the planet will also be, effectively, saved.

Sure, this tactic is practically guaranteed to work in Jackson, but to really save the planet we’ll have to gradually scale up our “secret society” scheme to the county, state, federal, and global level.  Such a system of control couldn’t possibly already exist, so it’s up to us to do what we can.

All gentle ribbings aside, as a student of history concerned about how humans have been and are currently changing the climate (and weather), I am hoping to make it to tonight’s event.  This friendly little post is going up this morning to let all you CO2-centric climate “scientists” know that real science is never settled and never excludes all other factors to focus solely on one thing like CO2.

The climate change agenda scam is so blatantly obvious that no one possessing a hint of imagination and critical thinking is buying it.  The proposed solutions coming from the top down are so blatantly scripted and scammy that they will never succeed.  The proposed solution of carbon taxes would only serve to further empower the most wasteful and blatant polluters on the planet: overgrown governments.  The other proposed solution — geoengineering — would give those same overgrown governments free rein to play god with our planet’s weather and climate.  What could possibly go wrong?

For more information check out WEATHERMODIFICATIONHISTORY.COM

Max Mogren's Real News, Resolutionary Views, Trip Reports, and Gear Reviews. Based in Alpine, Wyoming.

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