Thursday, February 13, 2014


The annual "mancation" to a new ski destination had arrived, the crew made up of an environmental consultant, a software developer, a computer system designer, an emergency room doctor, an engineer and a bartender/ski bum.  The age spread was from 26 to 62.  We met in Jackson, Wyoming and proceeded directly to Driggs, Idaho where we spent the night after shopping for our meals and a fine dinner at a local restaurant.

Our destination was the Commissary Yurt on the backside of the Teton Range.  It snowed the previous week and was snowing everyday were were up on the mountain.  The entry was relatively easy, an ascent of about 1500 feet over five miles, but it is still difficult for someone out of shape.  There's such a great feeling when one rounds the corner and there's our destination.  Several of us went out and did some scouting that evening in preparation for the trip up Beard Mountain the following day.  A glorious sunset with the snow covered trees and clouds brightly lit in the last rays of the sun!

Day two was spend ascending and skiing down the untracked powder on the west flank of Beard Mountain. Hours spent on the ascent for perhaps 15 -20 minutes of pure pleasure floating down the mountainside.  Turn around and do it again.  By mid afternoon there was no time to do another loop so it was time to return to the yurt for appetizers, beverages and my turn at dinner.  It began snowing again after sunset.  Just like the night before, when all went to bed, I went outside for a cigar with some tequila and a concert recording.  No chance of my falling off the bunk bed since I had the cot that sat low to the yurt floor.

New powder blanketed the trail for our return trip to the vehicles.  Once back on the access road, we had to pole and skate ski back to the vehicles.  That's work too.  We dropped our packs and loaded up the skis, heading over to Grand Targhee for a half day of skiing on powder covered runs.  The snow was coming down hard, creating whiteout conditions on top of the mountain, feeling our way down until the appearance of trees gave us something to judge our movement by.  Our legs were exhausted by the time 4 PM came around and we completed our last run of the day.

The next day and a half were spent at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.  More snow, more powder runs, more fine dining, more drinking.  The one guy on our crew who lived in Jackson knew where the secret stashes of fresher snow were located, often on the steeper slopes on the fringe of the ski area, often in the trees.  A great time was had by all.

After a half day of skiing, I and one other boarded a plane and departed for home Sunday evening.  We felt every bump and shift in the wind aboard our small aircraft.  I was happy to touch ground back in Colorado.  Discussion have begun as to where we might consider going for our next ski mancation in 2015.

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