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Hundred Days



The Mountain Pulse Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is riddled with local lessons that are better to learn early than late. Don’t rest in the bootpack. Don’t go out of bounds without gear and knowledge. Don’t cut in the Tram Line. PRB hydrates at elevation. They go on and on, new social mandates scribed daily by wizened locals behind the curtain. There is one lesson, however, that we all learn quickly, smacking us like a doctor does a newborn’s behind: No matter how great of a skier or rider you think you are, there will always be someone here that goes bigger, charges harder, and is just downright better than you. This is nothing to feel bad about. It simply speaks to the bounty of talent honed in this remote outskirt of America. The point is, sometimes we forget this fact.

As the season progresses, confidence grows till it borders on arrogance. Legs that were once flimsy switches are now 150 year old tree trunks. Lungs that once wheezed and screamed in pain on bootpacks, are now like locomotive engines chugging uphill with systematic power. We become ravenous for the super steep and technical.

All this is humbled in an instant, watching some unknown Jacksonite sending a mindboggling line down something you never even considered on the table of possibility.

I was reminded of my crotch-level spot on the Jackson Hole totem pole today, after hiking to Casper Bowl. As I scoped my line, I looked to the south where three skiers were perched over what looked to be certain death. So precarious was there location, I imagined seeing their potential energy building around them like a supernatural force field. Below, a few narrow shoots formed by burly exposed rocks conjured images of broken teeth and compound fractures. Waiting for them to drop in was like waiting to be punched in the face: I kept blinking, hoping not to miss the blow coming.

Unable to cope with the brewing suspense, and unwilling to shout out “Would you send it already?!”, I went on my merry way, descending a line that now seemed overly unimpressive and tame.

There lies the beauty of Jackson’s terrain and community: there will always be another peak to sack, and there will always be someone to push you there.

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