Being that it is my fifth winter in Jackson Hole, I dreadfully have to admit that some of my favorite runs are getting, well, a bit boring. It's strange, because I am so incredibly privileged to live in a place like this, but after time, I have to start turning down other avenues for new adventures. Since I was a kid I always wanted to try new things, and that desire hasn't changed. I know I still have many places to explore in the backcountry via bootpack, but I have found that my desperation for a new type of terrain has started to take over -- this isn't helped by the fact that it hasn't snowed in about a month. My lovely little lift-accessed resort is now plagued with icy slopes that are just not fun on my snowboard. Maybe if I grew up on the east coast I would feel different but a Northwest girl doesn't do ice.
That being said, I was beyond stoked when my friends Halina (badass chica riding for High Society Snowboards and local outerwear company Burgess Custom) and her equally rad boyfriend Tyler Van Martin (a Salomon skier) contacted me to go on a snowmobile mission with their recently acquired sled and uber-experienced sled friend Blaine. The mission? Find location, build jump, take photos. My type of day in the backcountry! Maybe with a little snowboarding for myself thrown in as well ;)
A cold cloudy morning led us to the trailhead of Mosquito Creek, a popular snowmobile area. Of course everything took forever and we didn't end up taking off on the trail until 10 am. With six people and two snowmobiles, things were certainly interesting! I thankfully got to ride tandem, as I'd probably be a complete idiot trying to operate such a machine, nor did I want to be one of the two unlucky (sorry David!) that had to tow behind via rope on the woop-infested trail. All went well despite the lack of a third sled and we were invited by bright blue skies as we rode along.
Of course after about 30 minutes down, Tyler and Blaine decided to take off on their own and "scout" for a jump location. Okay with the rest of us, as we decided to lap a pretty little powder hill, complete with a log jump. Fun!
After some time waiting, eating, riding, taking pictures and more waiting, the boys came back. We were forced to ride up a really steep hill where the only way to not get stuck was to gun it, making for a fairly terrifying ride for me on the back! I'm pretty sure my butt was off the seat the whole time and I almost lost my goggles. I nearly pulled Blaine off the sled! Couldn't have been more thankful for those handlebars. Turns out our jump location was down in a gully area and Halina and I had a blast riding right back down. The gully was full of perfect powder and we towed behind the sleds for a bit to get to our destination.
Well, turns out our jump location wasn't quite as perfect as we thought. Scenic yes, but a good landing? Hardly. Nevertheless, it was getting late and we couldn't keep riding further into the backcountry and still build a jump, and shoot photos before sunset so that was the spot.
The crew spent some time building while I played around with Halina's splitboard. Want one so bad! I skinned around and scoped out some angles for the shots I wanted to get, set up my flash (so convenient that I just got to strap it onto the back of the sled!!) and was good to go. Soon, "dropping!!" was a familiar phrase and it was on!
Blaine gets after it on the jump.
After a fairly quick session, we packed up our gear and headed back. Tyler got stuck in the gully so I had to post-hole my way back up to the trail while Blaine helped get him out. We rode out watching the alpenglow light up the surrounding peaks.
Sharing beers at the Stagecoach after, I couldn't believe how excited I was to have shared a new experience with my friends. Of course David and I were already gushing about getting a snowmobile, but sadly that will probably have to wait. I guess that's it until our next adventure :)