bə-lō'nē mō'gəls(n.pl.) 1. A group of drinkers with a shredding problem. 2. The combination of snow, booze, and metal.


Headwall Hiking (Round II)

After the fun had yesterday up on the headwall and the overall blown out status of both I and BP's legs, a 800 step hike straight up sounded like a perfect idea... twice.  Conditions were worse than yesterday.  Snow was crispy and harder and the light was much much flatter.  But the hike path was ever more packed than yesterday.  With a better choice of gear and hydration, we put our heads down and charged on up. 

I hit the top line twice and found some good snow and easy turns.  Cupid was convinced there was a way through the cliff line that would let us hit the good snow we came up there for.  Sure enough after following the lines of a ski patroller who shot down, we found the line.  After the second hike up we followed the line down and hit some of the best snow of the trip.

The lower mountain might have been a bit gnarly today, but sure enough, if you hiked for your turns, you could find some awesome stuff.


Hiking for Pow (Jackson Christmas Day 3)

After a quick run down (read 35 minutes of riding) from the tram to the base, the conditions just weren't there.  So we headed out to Apres Vous and found some decent cruisers that were still intact.  Again though, cover pushed away quickly and it felt quite North East style.

So, the 11:00 A.M. daily plan went into effect:  Beers at the summit of the Gondy.  Because of the crazy inversion here, the -4 at the base was actually closer to 25 at the summit.  Unbelivable sun too made for an amazing chill session.  Shockingly enough, I got antsy.  I kept glancing behind the Gondy building where the hike up for the headwall is.  A long packed out trail stretching up through the trees and climbing some 1000 feet to the top of Casper peak.  Cupid was content will chilling so I grabbed the board, stripped off a few layers, and started the hike.

Initially, I thought I might only hike up a few dozen feet and take a quick pow turn in the untracked, but easily accessible area.  As I started trudging up it though, the packed out trail - due to skiers boots - made for an easier hike.  It was like a stairmaster from hell, and the altitude didn't make it any easier, but all and all, it was doable.  With my head down, I just kept plodding away.  In minutes, silence and the bowl opened up more and more.  Great powder could be seen and now I realized how I was really up there.  Perhaps an avalanche beacon would have been a good idea...  Don't worry, I'm sure I could count on Cupid sitting at the bar to save me.

Eventually I saw a higher pitch and thought I might make it to there.  After a few instances of this I figured I climbed several hundred vertical feet, and was continuing to make good progress.  Finally though, I called it quits once another super steep pitch started.  I saw a good area that still had a lot of snow and few tracks and shimmied over to strap in.  Now, I noticed just how far I climbed and how gnarly the terrain got.  It also dawned on me that I had no idea which way to go down, and no idea where the cliffs were. 

As Ski Patrol famously told us, "Taste Death, Live Life."  So, with that attitude, I dropped in and make some sick pow turns if I do say so myself.  Then, I realized I was now in it, and was standing in front of a mondo cliff.  Now, I knew I really should have figured out where the safe line is, and had no choice but to unstrap myself and hike up a bit and then over.  The precipice I creeped across got gnarly and gnarly and I had to traverse over some 100-200 feet.  Finally, I saw what looked like a rideable way down.  Though, it was definitely the gnarliest chute I've ever considered going down.

Back into the board, pointing the nose down and making a few jump turns, I launched down the chute and somehow popped out on the otherside.  Finally I had a view of the top of the gondola where I started the hike and make some slow turns through the lower bowl.  Success.

Once Justin got off of work for his ski break, we made a beeline for the hike up Casper we did yesterday.  Today though, the waist high we trudged through was packed where we stepped from yesterday and access was way easier.  The Re-Session was on and many fun rock hits were had.

All and all, a great day of pow and fun on what everyone else bitched about as an awful day of hardpack.


Santa Shreds Jackson (Ho, Ho, Ho)

Today, Santa came to Jackson.  Okay, it was me in my crappy Santa suit still covered in beer and liquor from Santarchy 09.  But, Santa came ready to party.  Again, the mountain's early season conditions, while not ideal, were awesome off the second tram car.  Ridding down Rendevous Bowl at 9:17 A.M. is a good thing.

Great runs were head in the early morning hour and exploration occurred.  One trip found us down a bowl lacking snow but having many many bumps the size of Volkswagons.  

The Santa suit though, is a very good.  While most greeted me with a smile or a Merry Christmas, a few scrooges just looked irritated.  They get coal.  As does the child that smacked Santa with his glove.  I know where he sleeps.  He will feel Santa's wraith.

After a very festive round of warm rumplemeinze and Silver Bullets at the Bridger Gondy, Santa and Cupid were feeling quite loose.  The intoxication though lead to finding some great lines through the woods.

Sidecar came out in style, grabing a pair of skis and hitting Teewinot.  Later on Justin Credible showed up and hiking missions commenced.  Up a line above Casper and again above Moran Faces.  A short 10-15 minute hike through waist deep snow led to the best turns of the trip. 

What will the rest of the week hold?  Powder hikes?  Spicy Margs?  I'm sure all of the above.