Wydaho Snow: 11.14.15: Teton Pass Snow Summary On A Stoney Spray Day

Gut of First Turn, Mt Glory. 11.13.15
Gut of First Turn, Mt Glory. 11.13.15

The Johnny Cash classic “Sunday Morning Coming Down” seems fitting today as I nurse a trifecta of hangovers brought on by my addiction to los tres emes: montañas, mujeres, y mota.  Ohhh yeah, and alcohol.  On top of that, what little snow we have has been hammered by skiers and sun.  It was good while it lasted despite being extremely shallow: if that doesn’t sum up the typical ski bum romance as well I don’t know what does.  🙂

As always these reports focus on snow *quality* and whatever the heck else I feel like writing about.  These reports do not focus on snow *safety* or avalanche conditions.  At this stage of the winter there is no safe snow, especially now that variable, breakable, zippery suncrusts cap a few inches of fluff on rocky, deadfall-strewn slopes at upper elevations.  At lower elevations you’re better off walking.

There’s still some goodness hiding on shady slopes at mid and upper elevations but the low hanging fruit has been plucked.  Fortunately the forecast looks good: a chance of snow starting tonight through the work week.

Yesterday Maestra and I lapped near Edelweiss with Royal T. We ran into Tom T and were graced by an invitation to ski with a true sensei.  We also ran into Z, and it was great to see him out getting after it.  Topping off the day we met up with The Manimal and The Pamimal.  Quite the social ski if you ask me!

The Claw, upper rockpile, 11.13.15
Frog Dog depth sounding The Claw’s upper rockpile, 11.13.15

The Maestra and I got way too froggy on Friday the 13th and needed to rein ourselves in, so yesterday I pumped the brakes and did a little community service by beginning the process of teaching a talented snowboarder how to ski.

I am a reformed snowboarder who switched to skiing ten years ago and haven’t picked up a yay tray since.

Sliding through steep snow feels as fabulous now as it did two decades ago when I first dropped into borderline bottomless in O Chute at big*, bold*, beckoning* Coffee Mill Ski Area in Wabasha, Minnesota.  The memories burn into my mind.  I love snow sports, and I hope you do too.

Day One.
Having fun on day one. 11.14.15

I’m still grateful to Nerdia Kaliszewski for teaching me how to ski and the basics of being a decent ski bum.  I am now returning the favor to my angelic climbing partner, Royal T.  Watch out, boys: if you mess with her you mess with me.

I am pleasantly surprised to see many diehard snowboarders giving the sticks a try now that fat floppiness has taken over modern ski design.  I’m not anti-snowboarding, but I don’t ride with boarders anymore due to the limitations of the platform.  As the Wydaho backcountry becomes more crowded, getting further out, traversing between shots, and slapping the skins on multiple times is my new norm.  Safety is a factor too: if I get buried, I want my partner to be sliding and sidestepping atop the debris in search of me, not slogging through it on foot.

I am also disturbed by the snowboard culture’s emerging sideways stance best summarized as “sustainable slednecking”: corporate climate kookiness combined with carbon spewing, noise polluting destruction disguised as recreation.  Recreating what?  The speeder bike scenes from Star Wars?!?

Are you sponsored, bro?!?
Are you sponsored, bro?!?

I see egos driven through deep drifts by dead dinosaurs.  I see hypocrisy glorified: save the planet, slay the powder.  I hear a coming cacophony of bratty braaaaps and will witness snow slaughtered in the steep and sacred solitude where earning turns makes them so much sweeter and more meaningful than the mere sensations of sliding on snow and that feeling of flying.

If sled shredding is marketed to the masses what will the backcountry look like a decade from now?  What impact will this have on the wildlife, including free range humans?

Any gorilla can get good with the assistance of lifts, helis, and sleds.  Many ride better than I ever will, but tricks are for kids — specifically, spoiled sports who can afford to get hurt.  I respect people who earn their turns and their living.  I respect people who respect the mountains regardless of how well they ride.  I have no respect for rapists, especially when it’s our mountain mama they’re molesting.

Skis are tools.  Snowboards are toys.  Snowmobiles are obnoxious and destructive.   Corporate-sponsored athletes are cogs in a machine that seeks to consume everything sacred.  Competition is worth less than worthless.   Sorry I’m not sorry for spraying a bit.  It’s just one of those days.  Rant over.

Have fun out there.  I might lay low until we get more snow, but las montañas están llamandome.  Vamos a veer.

The Claw. 11.13.15
The Claw. 11.13.15

*The words “big, bold, and beckoning” are a catchy radio slogan that cannot adequately convey the fabulousness of Coffee Mill Ski Area when seen through the eyes of a 14 year old boy from small town Minnesota.

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7 thoughts on “Wydaho Snow: 11.14.15: Teton Pass Snow Summary On A Stoney Spray Day”

  1. your a douche bag…..I snowmobile, lift ski and backcountry ski….That dino fuel gets your car and ass to the mountains, heats ur house and makes ur skis and everything you use in the backcountry….you, like most other ” im better than you cuz I earn my turns” people are the ultimate hipocracy.. We all use…we all consume…we all invade the backcountry….except you of course…

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    1. Hey Steve! Thanks for the comment. You misspelled “you’re” when you called me a douche bag. I have cleaned out a few vaginas, but not enough to earn such a prestigious title.

      I don’t mind people burning fossil fuels because I know carbon emissions are the least of our worries from a human pollution standpoint and that geoengineering is currently changing the climate much more than human carbon emissions. I don’t feel guilty about using oil because I know that technologies which render fossil fuels obsolete have been suppressed for over a century. Hemp plastic could replace oil plastic. Etc.

      You’re absolutely right when you say that snowmobiles invade the backcountry. I am not opposed to sleds as long as they don’t harass the animals, drown out the vibes with noise pollution, and totally rape the snow in places people like to ski. I’m not opposed to people using sleds on closed roads or to access remote terrain. If people want to go diddle around with helicopters and snowmobiles on ice caps they have my blessing. My problem is sleds slaying peaks with such easy access that people on foot ski them regularly. Jet skis don’t belong in the swimming pool, so to speak.

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  2. Thank you for making it possible for me to ski vicariously – I was that 14 year old kid ( too many years ago…..) hitching rides and working concessions in the morning in exchange for a lift ticket to the real skiing at the top ! Keep on keeping on – this old lady appreciates it . Your Friend in Montana

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