trekking the tetons over spring break. Jackson, Wyoming
Spring break is always a great time for a road trip and a good excuse to sample outdoor adventures in other areas. With that in mind, my wife, Molly, and I headed east to Jackson, Wyoming for a week of outdoor adventure. Arriving in Jackson Friday afternoon, we went straight to Teton Village to register for the Randonee Rally Race to be held the next day at the Jackson Hole resort. I signed up for the race division that was set to climb a total of 6185 feet. We woke Saturday morning to clear, cold, sunny skies, which was a shock to the locals after a near record breaking snow year. Driving out of town to the race, the Teton Range lit up in a glorious alpenglow. Nez Perce, Buck Mountain, Coudveil Dome, Teewinot, and the South, Middle, and Grand Tetons were all out in full beauty. After a brief warm-up, the race started with a mixture of mostly alpine touring skiers, a few telemark skiers, and one split boarder trekking up a groomed slope.
Randonee Rally Races are very popular in Europe, attracting thousands of competitors to various events across the continent. The sport is in its infant stages in the US. There are about a dozen races that take place at different ski resorts across the country. I can envision a super fun Bend race on a warm and sunny day in the spring after the mountain has closed. The race could start by heading up the back side of the cinder cone. Skiers would take then take their skins off and ski down the cone to a gate at the bottom where they would put their skins back on. The race would culminate by climbing the rest of the way to the summit of the mountain before carving turns down to the finish line at the base of the mountain. Combine this with a shorter, recreational race, a corn-8 competition (like a powder-8 competition but on corn snow) a barbeque, and a celebration of ski touring, and The Bend Spring Corn Festival would be born.
The potential Bend event logistics were going through my mind as I skinned up the initial groomed run on the far right of the Jackson Hole resort. After completing the first climb, I ripped off my skins, quickly transitioning to downhill mode. A fast groomed downhill led to a skin track set on a powder slope. The powder slope climb led to an untracked, blower powder downhill run where the aches and pains from the uphills subsided. Another short skin and a 1,200- foot, boot-pack hike led to the resort's upper ridge. A traverse across the ridge and under a cliff band led to another transition. We skinned to another boot-pack climb that led up the famous Corbet's Couloir. At the top of the couloir, the pitch rears up requiring a ladder climb to access the upper summit of the mountain. Descending 4000 feet back to the finish sounds more fun than it was. The lower 2,000 feet were through a mix of bumps and breakable sun crust. My quads were on fire.
Later in the week, we met up with some adventurous Bend families who also road-tripped to Jackson for the week. Eight adults and four kids, all under the age of four, spent the week downhill skiing, nordic skiing, swimming and adventuring in the heart of the Tetons. Margey and Honza watched their son, Peter, age 2, make his first alpine turns. Shawn and Jules skied Jackson Hole resort with their son, Hamish. He was disappointed to only be skiing the bunny slope, since he had skied from the summit of Bachelor earlier this season. He kept pointing to the gondola saying, "I want to go there." Greg, Margie, and their son, Nolan, along with Lorin, Ray, and their daughter, Canyon, also enjoyed many outdoor adventure outings and sports in and around Jackson.
COTA Trail Building
COTA is putting together a trail building volunteer day on April 19th to work on the expansion of the Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. According to John Rahm of Sisters Trail/COTA, "We hope to complete the entire mile-and-three-quarters in that one day. The rough-in will be accomplished in the weeks between now and then - primarily by Chris Kratsch and myself - and then the hand work of tilling, adding Bentonite, smoothing and tamping will be done on the 19th." Grab a friend and your work gloves to lend a helping hand on the Peterson Ridge Trail expansion. Chris, John and others will also be working on April 12th and 13th and are looking for volunteers that weekend as well. For more information: www.cotamtb.com