Today I received my very own, unrestricted ski pass to (trumpet fanfare) “The White Strip of Death” at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “The White Strip of Death” is not unique to Jackson, but a technical skiing term to describe man’s attempt to open a ski resort on a predetermined date come hell or high water. In our schedule loving society, this is accomplished with numerous artificial snow machines directed along one trail. Skiers, jonsesing after nearly four months of snowlessness, flock to this solitary rock-flecked trail in droves. This is where the death part comes in.
The never-ever skiers. The “honey, I’ll teach you to ski” couples. The nine-year-old straight-liners. The full-face helmet “I’m here to huck” shredders. All of these personalities converge and attempt to share one trail. Some of us refer to this as “the human slalom”, but that’s a desperate attempt to make lite of a sad situation. The situation being, of course, snowlessness. With a 24″ base and 0″ new in the last 144 hours, we optimistically report the mountain as “open” (as of yesterday) and skiing conditions are “packed powder”. Of course, those paying $2,000 for a pass (and those working for it) would appreciate some “real powder”.
So did I pony up $’s for the privilege of a chair carting my happy self up the hill? Nope. For my pass, I’ll be skiing with those wonderful 7-14 year-olds during peak times. If you’re planning a ski vacation, make note. Peak times at a ski resort (any U.S. ski resort) are between Christmas and New Year’s, President’s weekend (February 13-15) and Spring Break (otherwise known as “March”). The rest of the season, us locals get the mountain to ourselves. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the way we want it.
Bookmark of the Day: Bridger-Teton Backcountry Avalanche Hazard & Weather Forecast