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Hundred Days 021: Hiking Snow King at Night



Day 021: Hiking Snow King at Night

For many in the Valley, skiing is as much about the uphill as it is the down. Hiking or skinning on Teton Pass, in Teton National Park, and in the side-country of JHMR is an integral part of the mountain experience that you just can’t get riding lifts. It’s on the boot-pack and skin-track that one taps into a highly aerobic meditative state: Left foot: inhale. Right foot: exhale. Left foot, inhale. Right foot: exhale. On and on, up the snowy staircase until that’s all you know, your former life left a 1,000 steps below you at the bottom. When reaching the top, panting, you drop your pack, don a jacket, and refasten your boots. By the time you catch your breath, the floodgates have opened: Endorphins surge your brain, thick and intoxicating. At that moment of overpowering bliss, you click in and ski.

Unfortunately, this season’s snowlessness and high avalanche risk has not been conducive for enjoying such hiking-induced ecstasy. But there are options. If avalanche risk has made you wary of venturing out the gates or up on to the Pass—as it has me—the moving meditation you seek is actually not hard to find. Snow King has excellent options for both skinning and hiking. And though there are few powder turns to indulge in on the way down, night-skiing by headlamp while beholding the modest glow of downtown goes equally well with the hiker’s high you earned on the way up.



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