With a two season streak of record high snow falls, and an average far exceeding that of Europe, me and Vegard figured Jackson would be a safe bet for snow in january. Having experienced saharan conditions in Europe the previous season, we set aside a month and waxed our powstaches in anticipation of the coming faceshots as we set off after new years.
Two weeks in, the Pucker Face slide, which quickly went viral in the snow starved lower 48, was the most notable snow related event. While the rest of the US was starving for snow like a runway model, Jackson still had a base. Which in turn was an avalanche death trap.
Any hikes into the backcountry were quickly ruled out, and so we spent our days bouncing between moguls, playing ping pong and drinking beer kindly provided by our fellow skiers at The Hostel. Being 20 years old in the US we were pretty much as privileged as a school kid in detention class. It was dumping in Whistler, and we couldn’t rent a car to get to the heavenly fluffiness or buy beer to help us forget about it. Logically we were freaking out.
The locals, however, were weirdly calm about the alarming lack of snow. The ones over 25 even turned down our pleas to pay their way to Whistler as long as we could rent a car in their name.
– Don’t worry. The snow will come. It always does.
Matt Baker, a long time local, told me one evening I was crying my heart out over snapping my pow skis in the park (yeah, the conditions were that bad. I was skiing park in Jackson).
And he was right. The ancient norwegian proverb, “always listen to the advice of local, experienced mountain folks who know their shit”, turned to be true once again. Our anxieties were buried in the driest, fluffiest powder I’d skied since Japan. While the big mountain was still to risky, the tree skiing was top notch. And as is the case at most resorts, the fun stuff rarely got skied. Even inbounds we found untracked landings and virgin pillows.
Then, powstache fluffy and white, testament to a legendary run, Vegard landed a bit quirky on his signature above-the-liftline-impress-the-ladies misty 7 off a cliff and tore his ACL.
-Ah, shit. Sucks for him. There goes that film project. I suppose we can use him being on crutches to score some sympathy points at the apres ski. Guess I’ll keep shredding. No friends on a pow day!
I thought flying off yet another cliff, expecting the welcoming embrace of chilled ecstasy, landing on a rock that was.. Well. Rock hard. I just missed hi-fiving Vegard as he left the clinic half an hour prior to the ski patrol dropping me off. Total PCL and MCL rupture.