Vertical Terrain

Wyoming Part III-B, January 26, 2022 Jackson Hole Resort

“The best place in the world to ski is where you’re skiing that day.” -Warren Miller

Most of our friends know Brinn for the amazing raft guide that he is. While an excellent kayaker, he can maneuver a raft across class IV water like his parent in a waltz. These same friends are always shocked to learn that Brinn would sell every boat we own right now if we moved to the mountains where he could pursue his first love: fresh powder skiing.

Before we met, Brinn spent two years living in Colorado where he ate, slept, and breathed skiing. Before work, after work, and even during work sometimes he spent his days carving his edges along a mountain face. He was based at Steamboat Springs, but also visited other Colorado mountains. He lived the perfect life of a 20 year-old ski bum, except for one dissapointment –he never made it to ski Jackson Hole Resort.

As the digital revolution has brought YouTube and live streaming into our house, Brinn has been able to watch his favorite events in real time instead of waiting for Warren Miller to release another film. Rather than spending his Saturdays glued to football coverage, Brinn waits for Winter X games and his most favorite annual event, the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s at Jackson Hole Resort. He has dreamed of seeing the famed Corbet’s Couloir in person, and finally, Ian’s dog race was taking Brinn close enough to JHR that he would see this famed chute up close.

When we started planning our trip, it became very clear that we wouldn’t be able to fit in every excursion we wanted to experience unless we divided to conquer. There was no way to find time for Brinn to spend a day skiing double black diamonds if he also went on our mushing tour, so Ian and I elected to go mushing while Brinn skiied by himself. Obviously I know very little about skiing, and even less about skiing out west, but I’m a big believer in safety in numbers and felt that Brinn needed a partner. He assured me that he would be able to find someone to tag along with, so we booked his rentals and lift pass and eagerly awaited the day.

Brinn has a gift of making friends easily, so I believed him when he said he’d find a ski partner. For some reason I expected he would accomplish this task on the tram the day of, but Brinn ended up finding his new buddy while we were in California! We were not the only Wyoming bound vacationers to be routed to San Francisco from Seattle. While sitting in the SF airport, we chatted with others whose vacation plans had been affected by Alaska Airlines, and Brinn made a plan to pick up his snowboarding partner early on Wednesday morning to head to the mountain.

Brinn’s overwhelming impression of Jackson Hole Resort was VERY HIGH UP. A single run from the top of the mountain to the bottom took 2 hours. All the electricity on the mountain’s lifts are powered by wind. At one point on a groomed run, Brinn’s weak leg gave out and he fell on his rear and he slid about 150 yards. Unfortunately his friend failed to capture this on video for us. But they did manage to peek over the edge of the entrance to Corbet’s. The run was closed on that particular day, but they still enjoyed the view.

Brinn usually closes down the mountain when he’s skiing, but he couldn’t make it in the Tetons. After several hours and many runs down the mountain, he finally gave into exhaustion and he headed back to Jackson. My dad had scoped out dinner options while he’d spent the day walking around town and shopping, and had decided he wanted to try burgers at Jackson Drug. He and Brinn offered to wait for Ian and me to get back from mushing to accompany them to dinner, but we were battling our own exhaustion and asked them to bring us a box home. Brinn and Grandpapa each had the elk burger. They brought home a bison burger with sweet potato fries for me, and a grilled cheese with regular fries for Ian.

Easily the most exhausting day in Wyoming, this day gave both of the boys the opportunity to check major achievements off their bucket lists. Grandpapa had his calmest day of the trip, and we all greatly enjoyed Jackson Drug despite the super high prices. None of us complained about an early bed time as Thursday was going to be almost as busy as Wednesday had been!

About ashleekiser

“For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy Join us on our family adventures as I try to tell our stories rather than bore you with more online essays.
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