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Hundred Days

Split Decision



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12/09/13: Split Decision

Photos and Writing by: Ben Glatz

The almighty snow dance has been working here in Jackson as witnessed by the recent storm that left over two feet of fresh snow in most parts of the Tetons and Snake River Range. With new snow come new complications. So what do fresh powder, deep persistent weak layers, and wind slabs all have in common? These factors have led to multiple natural and human triggered slides and elevated avalanche hazards from the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. Mount Glory avalanched so big that it put debris on Teton pass. The high risk avalanche factor weighed heavy on my thoughts and led me to use conservative notions for the week.

ben_25_short_01, backcountry skiing, grand teton national park, ben glatz

It was time to put the split board away for a few days and head to the village to lap some bumpy but powdery turns. Early season at the resort has been loaded with fun events, great turns, and great friends. Opening day was filled with “Pilgrims and Indians” chasing each other down the mountain. The conditions were sub-par but the stoke was high as winter vibes loom just around the corner. Lazy Eyes and the Tram Band put on great shows during the free community day and it seemed the entire town invaded JHMR for the day! The recent storm that led to cancelled flight and long treacherous drives in and out of Teton County could not have come at a better time because it pushed the reset button for the resort after the community took the area by the Casper lift down to the rocky soil.

A few days with restless legs on the chairlifts and it was time to head back out into the backcountry. My buddy and I put a game plan together to travel up low angle trees in GTNP and check the snowpack the entire way up. We decided that it would be best for us to stick to an area with a crux angle of about 30 degrees.

We packed up the morning of the 3rd and set out for the 20 minute drive north out of Jackson. As most of you know, the Park funding was slashed over the past year so it is free admission because the guard shacks are not manned. We drove through the park gates and headed towards our parking destination at the Taggart Lake Trailhead. We had dreams of what we were to ski as we had no visual due to the storm that still mingled in the mountains of the Tetons. Our goal: “25 Short”. The run gets its name from the elevation of 9,975 (25 ft short of 10K).

A skin track led the way for the first third of the tour. After that it was a painful couple thousand feet of breaking trail in fresh storm powder. A couple of hours later and we finally reached our summit. The biting cold had our bindings frozen, our hands numb, and our minds ready to drop in for a giant descent. Bottomless turns and face shots of powder had us smiling like little kids.

Our frigid bodies hopped in the car and headed over to Dornan’s to thaw out over a local brew. Another successful mission in the books due to conservative line choices, good friends, and good snow.


ben_25_short_01, backcountry skiing, grand teton national park, ben glatz

Benjamin Rossetter finds some deep snow in the low angle trees on 25 Short

ben_25_short_01, backcountry skiing, grand teton national park, ben glatz

Ben Glatz gets his turns in front of the camera


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