Back from Jackson Hole

Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Training

Wow, that was a fun trip.  Friends Craig and Kelly joined me for some fun in the snow, though ironically, more snow came down in NYC than in Jackson Hole.  In fact, Craig and I were lucky to get out.  Luckily, our flight left just 90 minutes late, but it was due to a mechanical issue.  Two flights before us were canceled as were many more after us.  Kelly left much earlier in the day, so her arrival was as scheduled.  Some quick hits from the vacation are below:

– I hadn’t remembered doing so, but in booking this trip using frequent flyer miles, I had chosen first class for the flights from NYC to Jackson Hole (one stopover).  Previous to this, I hadn’t ever flown first class, so it was a real treat.  I couldn’t help but think about the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is bumped up and Elaine vainly attempts to join him.  I joked that Craig was suffering in the back with the goats and chickens.  With a wifi-enabled plane, I was on-line doing a bunch of stuff and enjoying wine and nice meals.  What a way to travel.

– Jackson Hole hadn’t gotten any snow in some time, so we were treated to decent but not great conditions.  And, it didn’t snow at all while we were there, so with unseasonably warm conditions, the snow quality itself deteriorated over the course of our stay.  When soft snow begins to melt, it turns into a slushy mix which we sometimes call “mashed potatoes”.  Then, when it gets cold at night, the slush freezes and the next morning, the surface is somewhat glazed and crunchy.

– Craig is a skier as is Kelly.  Sandie was going to join us (she’s a snowboarder), but she badly injured her wrist the week before and had to bail.  I brought my snowboard and considered skiing, but it was too much fun to board instead.  And, since I can go pretty much anywhere a skier can, it was no problem.

– We hit every part of the mountain except the out-of-bounds portion which required some hiking and survival equipment, e.g. avalanche beacon, shovel/axe, etc.  A fair amount of the cliff terrain was closed off due to the lack of snow, but we still found some great spots.

– On day one, I ventured past a “Cliff:  Closed” sign and not surprisingly, found myself at the edge of a steep cliff.  I managed to inch my way down on the snowboard until I found an area safe for me to jump.  That jump was between 8-10 feet (or so I figure) and I landed in some poofy, loose snow.  Some folks below were considering calling the ski patrol to help me, but thankfully, I managed to get down before they did so.  God knows my ego wouldn’t have been able to deal with that.

– On day two, I took two major falls on the same run, both of which involved all of my weight landing on my head.  Neither felt good.  This season, I began using a helmet and the decision to do so was very much validated at Jackson Hole.  I had a headache all night and a sore neck thereafter, but the headache was gone by the next day.

– On day three, Craig and I found a section off of the Sublette lift that was very steep, very tight between cliffs and trees, and full of great snow.  We must have gone down this section 3 or 4 times in a row.  I was giddy with how much fun it was.  This area of the mountain was literally an obstacle course with rocks, boulders, trees, and other elements creating utter chaos within a steep pitch.  Fantastic!  At one point, I took a bad fall and twisted so hard that I pulled a muscle in my abdomen.  As I write this, 3 days later, I’m still very sore.  Oh well, it was worth it.

– Day four was somewhat uneventful.  We were all a little tired, but we still enjoyed every minute.  We decided to take a long lunch at the top of the gondola lift given the bright blue sky and warm sunshine.  Sitting outside and enjoying a meal was reminiscent of my days skiing in Iran with my family, and one trip I took with my dad and brother in Switzerland.  Skiing in Europe and many other places is culturally different than in the US, or so I believe.  There’s a relaxed holiday aspect to it where taking a two hour lunch while relaxing outside is par for the course.

– With the Olympics on TV, and with Kelly’s love of hockey, we cut out early on days one and three to watch the US play.  We visited the Mangy Moose several times over the vacation and watched both the semi-final and finals there, the latter of which was tremendous fun despite the outcome.  When the US scored with 24.4 seconds left in the third period, the place went nuts!  It reminded me of when my brother and I cut out early from skiing in Alta in 1990 to watch the NY Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship.

– We made friends with a bunch of folks from Westchester and even ventured into the town of Jackson to join them for dinner one night.  They were very nice and we’ll likely stay in touch.

– I took a bunch of photos and videos which I’ll try to post later.   I asked Craig to take some videos of me with my camera, but they didn’t come out too well, and I’ve been letting him have it for failing me!  I took some great videos though of both Craig and Kelly including quite a few of me behind and alongside them as we sped down the mountain.  It was a major challenge to both navigate on the snowboard while keeping the camera still and pointed on them.  I kinda felt like a professional videographer!

Well, that’s it for my ski/snowboard season, save for the ski-bike-run triathlon on March 20th.  Next year, I’m considering Val D’Isere in France but we shall see.  With my sister moving to Paris, it might be feasible.

As for training, I did none of it while in Wyoming.  Today is the first day back and I have a swim/bike combo session planned for tonight, and a bike/run combo planned for tomorrow night.  I head to Chicago with some friends this weekend, so I’ll try to get in a swim session Friday afternoon before I leave, and I’ll definitely run both Saturday and Sunday while in Chi-town.  Then, it’ll be just week until the Miami Triathlon, so my training will be light and easy as I try to stay relaxed but strong in advance of the first race of the season.  Things are going to be crazy this month, but when (not if) I succeed at month’s end, I’ll be stronger for it.

Write a Comment on Back from Jackson Hole


Follow comments by subscribing to the Back from Jackson Hole Comments RSS feed.


Read more posts by