The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

The White Strip of Death

The White Strip of Death at JHMR

The White Strip of Death at JHMR

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

The Sicky Sick Gnar Gnar Vocab of J-Hole

Image from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Current Website

Image from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Site

It has come to my attention over the years that mountain towns have a language all their own. Nowhere is this more true than in my beloved town, Jackson.

First allow me to clarify one important point. I live in the town of Jackson, Wyoming which is located in the valley of Jackson Hole. ‘Hole’ is an old name for valley. Jackson Hole is also the name of the ski resort (full name: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort). But please stop asking me if Jackson, Wyoming is near Jackson Hole. Just remember: locals live in Jackson, and tourists visit Jackson Hole. Some of the new kids call it “J-Hole”. They need to re-read the above paragraph or I need to get with the times. One of the two.

So in J-Hole, the bro-bras are known for dropping some pretty sick shit. Sometimes they’re just spraying, but we really do rip wicked lines with top to bottom face shots because our gnar gnar mountain IS the shit. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, see below.

Urban dictionary defines gnar gnar as: Shortened modernized version of gnarly typically used by stoners. e.g. “Dude that shit is gnar gnar.” Since Jackson doesn’t really differentiate our general population from the “stoners” (they are one in the same), I’ll go along with this one.

“Dropping” and “hucking” are ways to describe subjecting one’s body to the undeniable forces of gravity via a terrain park or just an old-fashioned cliff. In other words, jumping off “stuff” with one or two sticks attached to your feet. Incidentally, Jackson is a great place for knee operations and physical therapy in general.

Our “lines” are the routes we choose on our way down the mountain and terms like “shit” and “sick” actually mean exactly the opposite of their literal interpretation. When someone is good at sliding over the snow, they “rip”. “That chick rips” is one of the higher compliments a woman can receive in this valley.

So who are the “bro-bras”? They are the guys and gals who use insistently and excessively use these terms. When they brag/exaggerate about their brilliant gravitational defiance, the rest of us say they’re “spraying”. And nobody likes a sprayer. There is a lot of raw talent in this valley, but the coolest athletes are the ones who are secure enough with their talent to put it out there for the world to see and let the buzz build on its own- or not at all. After years immersed in this environment, it really just comes down to how much fun you’re having out there.

Amazing talented athlete video of the day: Inspired Bicycles – Danny MacAskill April 2009