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Jackson Hole 2/22-2/25/21

mikec142

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I just went on the JHMR web cams. Even though the lines are pretty reasonable compared to the pix you have posted, I'm still stunned at what they are at Thunder and Sublette on a Wednesday afternoon.

I skied JHMR 28 years ago as a kid and again about 5 years ago as a family. The more recent trip was in the third week of March and other than the tram, there were virtually no lines. Obviously that was a month later in the season, but still...
 

Tonyr

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I just went on the JHMR web cams. Even though the lines are pretty reasonable compared to the pix you have posted, I'm still stunned at what they are at Thunder and Sublette on a Wednesday afternoon.

I skied JHMR 28 years ago as a kid and again about 5 years ago as a family. The more recent trip was in the third week of March and other than the tram, there were virtually no lines. Obviously that was a month later in the season, but still...

I mentioned in a different thread that I was there a few weeks ago over a random weekend from a Thursday to Sunday. We skied in the afternoons on Thursday and Friday. Each line on the mountain was about 15 minutes which was doable. The tram was always over an hour wait everyday I was there. The weekend was pretty much unskiable, waits were 40 minutes consistently at every lift on the mountain. On Sunday morning starting at 8.30 am both gondola lines were over hour waits so I opted to wait close to 40 minutes on the Teewinot lift line thinking I'd ski right over to the Apres Vous chair and ride that side of the mountain. That line when I got over to it was a solid hour so I skied down the bunny slope and called it a day at 9.15 am. I don't think I'd ever try skiing Jackson again in February over a weekend unless I hired an instructor to ski with so the lines could be skipped. The terrain is outstanding as everyone knows the line though have gotten out of control.
 

mikec142

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I mentioned in a different thread that I was there a few weeks ago over a random weekend from a Thursday to Sunday. We skied in the afternoons on Thursday and Friday. Each line on the mountain was about 15 minutes which was doable. The tram was always over an hour wait everyday I was there. The weekend was pretty much unskiable, waits were 40 minutes consistently at every lift on the mountain. On Sunday morning starting at 8.30 am both gondola lines were over hour waits so I opted to wait close to 40 minutes on the Teewinot lift line thinking I'd ski right over to the Apres Vous chair and ride that side of the mountain. That line when I got over to it was a solid hour so I skied down the bunny slope and called it a day at 9.15 am. I don't think I'd ever try skiing Jackson again in February over a weekend unless I hired an instructor to ski with so the lines could be skipped. The terrain is outstanding as everyone knows the line though have gotten out of control.
On the trip I was referring to...we had a guide the first day. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the $. We probably wouldn't have been as adventurous if we hadn't gotten a great lay of the land from our guide first. The line skipping is a bonus too.
 

Zand

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Wednesday report...

Left the hotel at the crack of 8 and could tell it would be another epic crowd day as traffic was backed up on 22 approaching the light. Arrived just after 8:30 ready for another epic bluebird powder day.

Plan was to get to the upper mountain as quick as possible. Hopped right on Teewinot with no wait when I walked up, then waited a couple minutes for Apres Vous for a nice cruise down Werner to Teton. Was greeted with a 10 minute line right at the 9am opening, so traversed from there right over to Thunder.

Thunder was also already sporting a 10-15 minute line. I checked the webcam and the masses had not reached Sublette yet so,decided to head that way and took the Grand woods. Lots of nice deep powder in there as there was probably another 6" overnight on top of the 12" or so that fell before yesterday.

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First run off Sublette, I intended on hitting Alta 1 but there were no tracks in Alta 2 when I looked from the lift. Alta 1 had a conga line going down it so I moved to Alta 2 and one person managed to get to it first, but 2nd tracks were still totally epic and knee deep the whole way.

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The line was staying in the 5-10 minute range so I stuck around and did a couple laps on Laramie from under the lift. The same line I saw that was untracked yesterday was still untracked today. And yeah...face shots every turn. Right under the lift. And I was still able to go back and do it again with totally fresh tracks. Unbelievable, best runs of the year bar none.

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After the 2nd Laramie run, the line was past the bathroom hut so I decided it would be a good time to head for the Hobacks. With the tram running reduced capacity and most of the Sublette crowd intent on lapping that stuff, the Hobacks had very few customers. And yes, that meant untracked snow from when it opened up all the way to the bottom. Yesterday's crusties were noticeable near the bottom but with a foot of untouched powder on top, who cares? I had to shake myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. One of the best side country areas in the country and perhaps the most beautiful, and I'm in there with no one around and untouched snow. Pics will be in a separate post because I took too many.

Headed up Sweetwater to Casper Restaurant for lunch, then did a lap in the Teton woods. Snow wasn't quite as good over there and I was starting to feel pretty exhausted. I figured one of the best ways to stay fresh and rest up between runs was to stand in line for 15 minutes every time, so I headed for Thunder.

For some reason, the line wasn't so bad at Thunder this afternoon. 10-15 minutes at most, plus the occasional entertainment of someone hucking that cliff above the loading area. Started with Riverton Bowl which still had a ton of untracked and is a fun run in general.

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Next was Tower 3 which was decent, but getting pretty bumped up and even a rock or two popping out from the insane amount of traffic it gets. Glad I was able to hit it a few times Monday when it was in better shape. Followed that up with Paintbrush. It started snowing moderately at that point. Unfortunately not enough to freshen things up but enough to make visibility difficult and once Paintbrush opens up into the Amphitheater bowl, the flat light gets ugly.0224211413.jpg

Next run was down the Thunder Liftline and into the woods below Thunder in search of leftover powder with moderate success. A few decent pockets anyway. Headed down Laramie next run hoping to end the day with a few Sublette laps, but it was still sporting a 20 minute line and I decided to just ski right past. Was going to head back to Thunder, but was sucked in by a pretty untracked Rawlins Bowl. The top was great, just like the Hobacks but it got crusty and tracked out pretty quickly and I didn't have the energy to enjoy much of the run. But the top was worth it I guess.

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Finished up the day with a groomer off Apres Vous and then hopped in the woods under Bridger. Actually some real nice lightly tracked woods skiers right of Sundance as well as higher up near Ranger. Fun ending to the day.

Down to just one more 1/2 day unfortunately as I fly out at 3:00 tomorrow. And it'll be the first non powder day of the trip. Shitload of traffic on the ride home, took 45 minutes to make the 12 mile trip. Jackson is turning into Colorado real fast, just...you know...it snows here. Stay tuned for those Hoback pictures!
 

Edd

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Never been to JH. These conditions are mind-blowing. Awesome TR Zand, thanks for sharing.

Does anyone know of plans for JH to increase uphill capacity? Waiting an hour is complete horseshit.
 

Zand

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Zand - how much do you think the longer waits are due to the reduced covid lift loading vs. the place just being a mob scene when it snows?
I was here for a week in February last year during an equally snowy period and it was nothing like this. I think the reduced tram capacity is a huge factor. The line has frequently been over an hour while last year it was never more than 3 cars. Also last year I never waited more than 5 minutes for Thunder or Sublette and everything else was ski on. Not even going to bother with the tram this year, not worth waiting an hour for it when I only have 3.5 days and limited runs due to lines as it is. No singles line is also a decent factor in the regular lift lines.

I think it's definitely straight up busier as well. Never saw this kind of traffic to and from the resort last year (although I'm sure some people are avoiding the bus). A lot of the locals are blaming the bad season in Colorado for the crowds (like...very loudly), plus I think theres just more people skiing this year period.

I think the locals attitudes towards people is funny depending on where you are. Everytime I'd tell someone in Utah I'm from the east, they'd start insulting me and telling me I have no idea what powder is and all we have is "blue ice" (kinda got some of that in Colorado as well, which is funny because Summit County gets less snow than northern VT). Here in Jackson, they're very friendly to easterners, but none of them hide their disdain for people from Colorado (and I think that's where most of the Ikon hate comes from as well).
 

Tonyr

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Never been to JH. These conditions are mind-blowing. Awesome TR Zand, thanks for sharing.

Does anyone know of plans for JH to increase uphill capacity? Waiting an hour is complete horseshit.
I haven't heard anything but another large lift at the base that gets you up to mid mountain would be very helpful. So would an another lift to the summit which would help ease the tram lines. Snowbird does it right from that perspective, they have 3 lifts that get you to the top so you don't have to rely on using the tram everytime.
 

Zand

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Unless it isn't. Had the longest, hardest run of my life last year when the snow just sucked in there. Once you enter, there is no escape.
Gotta be kinda careful with the Hobacks. They face due south and end up at a lower elevation than most terrain at Jackson. I like to either ski Colter Ridge (which is similar but can be bailed out of) or Saratoga Bowl (also kinda low and south facing) to make sure it's not going to be too crusty. Or ask a host or ski patroller.

As they say in Jackson..."if you don't know, don't go!" Obviously referring to the backcountry, but good advice on how to approach the 2000 vert no bailout Hobacks too.
 

kingslug

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Its funny when westerners say we don't know what powder is. um yeah..like Jay Peak, Stowe , SB, Gore, WF don't get any.
A lot of these people are from the East and have forgotten. I just tell them that I've been coming out west for 20 plus years and know a bit about powder...
 

Zand

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Crowds should be light this morning...currently -17 outside!

This place gets crazy cold when the wind stops blowing. Then once the sun hits the slopes it's instantly like 28.
 

mikec142

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Never been to JH. These conditions are mind-blowing. Awesome TR Zand, thanks for sharing.

Does anyone know of plans for JH to increase uphill capacity? Waiting an hour is complete horseshit.
This thread has been a really enjoyable read for sure.

I was there in 2016. I believe that the Teton lift was brand new at the time. Since then, they replaced a lift with the Sweetwater Gondola. Not sure of any plans for more.
 

jaytrem

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Does anyone know of plans for JH to increase uphill capacity? Waiting an hour is complete horseshit.

Seems like the more capacity they add, the worse the lines get. That being said, I seem to recall plans for a lengthy lift between the tram and gondola.

Thanks for the report Zand!
 

eatskisleep

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What Does that run for a day? Sounds like it was money well invested!
On the trip I was referring to...we had a guide the first day. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the $. We probably wouldn't have been as adventurous if we hadn't gotten a great lay of the land from our guide first. The line skipping is a bonus too.
 

mikec142

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What Does that run for a day? Sounds like it was money well invested!
It was five years ago so prices may have gone up. But if I recall correctly, with tip, all in it was $900. Expensive but if you consider that it was essentially an all day group lesson and guide for my family of four, it was money very well spent.

As an aside, I just looked on their website...today, before tip, what I did would run $945. I think I tipped him $100 and bought him lunch.
 
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