Posts filed under ‘Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’

Your Guide to Cody Peak

I have a photo of Cody Peak framed on the wall of my office. Whenever I need some inspiration I take a moment and ponder the mountain. It is so iconically Jackson and the terrain on it will challenge every fiber of your being. If you have ever skied off of the tram or Sublette chair at 892143_656237218345_1706851057_oJackson Hole Mountain Resort you have most likely notice the jagged peak to the South. Cody Peak is an extreme skier’s dream. With access just outside of the ski area boundary and a short boot pack, average joes can access terrain that is seen in extreme skiing movies. The peak is not for the faint of heart and I would recommend only for expert skier with extensive backcountry experience. There have been countless avalanches on Cody Peak as well as avalanche-related deaths on the peak. It is out of bounds, therefore you will need to have appropriate avalanche training and gear in order to ski the peak.

Cody Peak has numerous aesthetically pleasing lines. From the open powder field known as the Powder 8s to the extremely steep Pucker Face and narrow couloirs and chutes with names like “Once is Enough”, Cody has tons of skiable terrain. To reach Cody you leave the resort through the upper gate in Rendezvous Bowl and follow a mellow trail along the ridge to the bottom of the boot pack.

The HikeCody Hike

The Cody Peak boot pack is the scariest boot pack in the Jackson Hole sidecountry area. Depending on how much snow there is the first part of the boot pack can be more like a rock scramble.. with ski boots on. It’s a heart pounding experience. Plastic soles with no tread on icy rock is not a good combination. This, coupled with the fact that the peak is avalanches-prone means that it isn’t a good choice for early season skiing. The peak is best skied 10856563_791366682815_3695880803945005684_o(1)with a lot of snow, when the boot pack is more than likely to be filled in – with the exception of a few spots where you will need to scramble over rock outcroppings. Additionally, the peak is very susceptible to wind. If it is blowing more than 15MPH you most likely will not want to hike Cody, where you will be pummeled by wind during your entire hike.

Once you are above the scramble the hike becomes very mellow. You will hike down the ridge and around the back side of Cody Peak. Once you get to the top of the ridge you will have to make your decision on what you want to ski.

The Lines

There are 6 lines that you can ski off of the bootpack on Cody Peak.Cody Peak Named The first line that you will approach is called Pucker Face. It is an extremely steep face with a cliff ban in the middle. From the top all you can see is a roll over, right where the cliff ban is. It’s rather nerve wracking, not particularly knowing where the cliffs are. This face is also very prone to avalanches, so if you are the first one to ski it make sure you do a proper risk assessment.

The next line that you will reach is a bowl called No Shadows. It’s popular entrance is on the skier’s right of the bowl. Next up the ridge is Four Shadows, another steep bowl which is typically plagued by a large cornice on the top. The best way to enter Four Shadows is at the highest part of the bowl on the right hand side. Four Shadows and No Shadows are north facing, which means that they are good options during a drought when all of the southern aspects are baked or frozen. Up past Four Shadows is a north facing chute. Central is a hair raising, narrow no-fall chute with a mandatory air at the bottom. If you can ski it you most likely are a pro skier or should consider changing your career.

From the top of Four Shadows there is a bootpack traverse over to the south side of the peak. The first couloir that you reach is called “Once Is Enough.” With a sketchy entrance, this steep Once and Twice on Codyno-fall couloir is one of the most well known lines in the Tetons. You can see the line from the road, it’s the line in the notch of Cody Peak when viewed from the South. It’s a popular line to ski in the spring when the sun warms the snow and creates edgeable corn. If you look into Once and decide that it’s a little much for you, head up the peak further (to the East) and take a look at “Twice Is Nice.” As you can gather from the name of the line, it’s a more mellow option to Once with a nice hanging powder field that narrows into a choke. This steep line is equally fun during the springtime. These lines drop you into No Name Canyon. If you are looking to extend your day, keep right at the exit of both of the couloirs and take the traverse over to No Name.

Last, but not least, are the Powder 8s. This open powder field can be access by either skiing the North facing lines on Cody (Pucker Face, No Shadows, Four Shadows or Central), and then traversing over to the bottom of the bootpack, or by hiking the bottom of the bowl at the base of Cody Peak. The Powder 8 bootpack is relatively short and steep.. I mean, sweet. From the top of the Powder 8s you can ski the powder field or traverse over to No Name Peak or drop into No Name Canyon. The Powder 8’s are popular to lap.

So there you have it. I have skied all of the lines on Cody Peak except for Central and Once. The terrain is heart pumping and exhilarating. It is really amazing to have such challenging terrain just steps outside of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundary. If you are a serious backcountry skier I definitely recommend fitting a hike up Cody Peak into your trip!


February 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Hiking Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is known for their steep ski trails and relentless vertical during the winter season. 10498645_739268298395_2997857251376472587_oHowever, during the summer season you can hike 4,139 vertical feet    uphill to the summit of the famed ski resort. If you think that their double black trails look intimidating during the winter, wait until you see the terrain during the summer! Some trails look completely unskiable. For example, Alta 1 is a sheer rock face, the Expert Chutes are huge craggy outcroppings and Toilet Bowl looks like it’s better fit for a rock climber than a skier. But don’t worry, there is a trail system and access road that allows you to hike among these double black diamond trails. No climbing harness necessary.

We begin at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, Wyoming. There are a few trails that can take you to the summit. Wildflower TrailCurrently, the bottom half of the Summit Trail is closed while JHMR is preparing to install a new chairlift. The alternate route is up the Wildflower Trail, a meandering trail that has beautiful vistas, park benches and of course, wildflowers when they are in season. The trail starts in the base area just to the right of the red Bridger Gondola. After about 3 miles, the Wildflower Trail meets up with the Summit Trail, which is essentially the access road for JHMR. The road switchbacks up the mountain and is the main trail used to access the summit. The total mileage of from the Wildflower Trail to the summit via the Summit Trail is approximately 6.6 miles long (one way).

If you prefer a single track trail I would suggest hiking up to the top of the Gondola and taking the Cirque Trail to the summit. There will be signage on the Summit Trail on how to access the top of the Gondola (approximately a mile after joining the Summit Trail from the Wildflower Trail). A local favorite is hiking down from the top of the tram to the top of the Gondola via the Cirque Trail or Summit Trail for drinks on the Deck. The Deck doesn’t open until 4PM so nothing is open at the top of the Gondola until then.

The Cirque Trail is steep and becomes a little bit of a scramble after you pass the top of the Sublette Chairlift. Canyon and Cody PeakFor the skiers who know Jackson Hole, the trail follows the East Ridge Traverse trail. For those with a slight fear of heights or prefer something more mellow, I would advise sticking to the Summit Trail. The summit trail passes the top of the Thunder Chair and then traverses into the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl and up to the top of the Sublette Chair, where it has one long traverse across the bowl and then zigs back up to the top of the tram.

At the top of the tram you can enjoy a delicious waffle at Corbet’s Cabin, snap a few photos and then decide whether you would like View from the JHMR Summitto take the tram down or hike down. Hikers can take the tram down for free. Conversely, some people prefer to take the tram up the mountain and then hike down to the base. Downhill only hikers must pay for a ticket for the tram. Unfortunately (for me), dogs aren’t allowed on the tram. However, dogs are allowed on the mountain, which isn’t the case for any of the trails in the neighboring Grand Teton National Park. For a trail map and a list of all of the trail descriptions visit Jackson Hole’s website. As always, bring bear spray, food and plenty of water on your hike.

July 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Skiing Corbet’s Couloir

Described as one of the most rowdy in bounds run in the United States, Corbet’s Couloir is not for the faint of heart. It has also earned the award of “America’s scariest ski slope.” With a potential drop of 10 to 30 feet, it is on the bucket list of most die hard skier and snowboarders. To reach the famed couloir you need to take the tram up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Once out of the tram, head into Corbet’s Cabin for some delicious waffles. Your choice of waffles include waffles covered in nutella, raspberry jam, butter and brown sugar or peanut butter and bacon. Between each scrumptious bite of nutella drenched waffle (my favorite), take the time to muster up the courage to ski one of the craziest lines of your life.

Once you are fortified with delicious waffle, ski the ridge on the left hand side (towards the tram) until you reach a roped off area. Take a few deep breaths and ski into the entrance. There is typically a line of people, waiting to ski it. If there aren’t any other people around I’d advise you to be a little Imagecautious. People may not be skiing it because the landing is super icy and you may want to reconsider skiing it. My favorite time to ski it is during the spring when the snow is a little more forgiving. Typically, by the end of the season there is a goat path into the couloir, created by skiers that side slip the drop. One year the side slip was so defined that as long as you could make the bank turn you could ski into the couloir. Other years it has a smaller drop (3 to 5 feet) than coming off the top of the couloir. It definitely requires dexterity but if you are a strong skier you should be able to accomplish it.

Once you are in the coulior you can spend some time hanging out in the cave on the left hand side of the run. During the springtime there is typically a crowd of skiers in the cave drinking beers and watching the spectacle that is Corbet’s – epic falls, amazing saves and great executions are all fun to watch. If you prefer not to ski the coulior I recommend that you ski the East Ridge Traverse into Tensleep Bowl and look up at the people trying to ski it. Or you can ski up to the edge of the couloir up top and watch people from above while your palms sweat.

I have skied it numerous times, primarily in the spring, (see photo on right) and a classic line is to ski Corbet’s to the Expert Chutes and then traverse into Toilet Bowl and finally ski Dick’s ACorbettsDitch to the bottom of the mountain. They call this line the Bamboozler run. If you are going to ski Corbet’s you should definitely try to complete the Bamboozler run. Without stopping. Haha, just kidding. Even if you aren’t the best skier around, if you love to ski you definitely need to at least stick your tips over the edge of Corbet’s and then take a deep breath and imagine skiing the famed run. Nothing beats the nerves that you have just before skiing a big line. It’s definitely earned its place as one of the most scariest ski runs in America.

March 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm 1 comment

Granite Canyon Hike

There are many gorgeous canyons to hike through in the Teton Range – Cascade Canyon, Paintbrush Canyon and Death Canyon to name a few. Granite Canyon creates the north border of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, one of the local ski areas. The canyon leads you from the valley floor up 2,000 feet to the open fields behind the ski resort and then to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain should you choose to continue that way up the trail.Summer Tram

The trail is typically hiked from the top of the Tram down to the base of the ski resort. You can purchase a ticket for the tram at the base of the mountain for $26. For a $6 off coupon follow this link. The hike, while all downhill, is rather long (12.75 miles long to be exact) so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t in good physical shape or has small children. Also, I wouldn’t suggest that you do this hike if you are flying in from sea level and it is your first day in Jackson. The summit elevation of the Rendezvous Mountain (top of the tram) is 10,450 feet and that can be a challenge if you aren’t yet acclimated.

From the top of the tram you head south towards Cody Peak until you see a trail sign on the right hand side indicating the direction to Marion Lake and Granite Canyon. Almost immediately you enter Grand Teton National Park. From there you lose elevation quickly via a series of long switchbacks.

After about 2 miles of downhill switchbacks (with one small uphill one thrown in) Image  you will reach a number of open fields. At the trail junction take a right to head towards Granite Canyon. You get a good view of the back side of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and some of the surrounding mountains. In June to early July the field is filled with gorgeous wildflowers. When we hiked it last weekend there were some flowers but most had already bloomed and died. However, there was some active wildlife – we saw a deer grazing in the field as well as a momma ruffed grouse with her babies.

At the next trail junction you will take a right to get into Granite Canyon. I must be honest, it isn’t the most spectacular canyon in the park since you rarely get a view of the valley and the mountains surrounding the canyon aren’t particularly spectacular. Of course it is pretty though,Top of Granite Canyon and unique in it’s own way. The things that the canyon has going for it is that it is rarely traveled so if you are looking to get away from the crowds it’s a good hike and it is very convenient since there is easy access via the tram. We hiked up the canyon (I’m not a big fan of downhills) and the pitch once you hit the fields back down to the valley is very mellow. We were able to cruise at a pace of almost 3 miles per hour. Which we probably wouldn’t have been able to sustain if we were in any of the other canyons.

The trail through the canyon does follow a Granite Canyonstream which has some beautiful cascades. Also, if you are an avid skier you get a good look at some of the backcountry lines off of the side of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Once you reach the bottom of the canyon you follow the Valley Trail back to the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

As always, bring your bear spray and plenty of food and water as well as some warm layers and a rain jacket. Plan to make a day of this hike so you aren’t rushed and have time to take in the scenery and serenity of the backcountry.

July 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

Gaper Fools Day in Jackson Hole

Every year April Fools Day brings an onslaught of harmless pranks and tomfoolery across the US. In the “peter pan” town of Jackson Hole, where every resident refuses25690_533852942415_3389928_n to grow up, it is only natural that its residents take April Fools Day to a whole other level. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort the locals descend on to the hill in bright neon onesies, jeans, rear entry boots and snow blades. While we appreciate the skiers who visit our valley, sometime their attire is downright hilarious. Some people feel like if you go skiing once a year, why invest in a good ski jacket and pants? Why not just use an one piece that you bought in the 90s, or a pair stretch pants from the 80s? So in turn, us locals dress up like those visitors. While this day may seem like a jab to our visitors, it really presents an opportunity to escape the rad bro get ups and just have some good old fashion (literally) fun.

The term gaper is derived from the gap present between the goggles and hat or helmet. Unfortunately, this feature is indicative of an individual who rarely skis or who is learning how to ski. It may seem a bit pretentious, but Gaper Day is all about having544771_605769575905_2097734183_n fun. You get to ski in a pizza, mess around in the lift line and laugh at yourself and others, a lot. The best way to witness this spectacle is to head to the “Thunder Bumps” on the Thunder trail located under the Thunder chairlift. By mid day there will be a party at the top of the trail, people eject out of their skis and drink beers while watching fellow gapers do tricks off of a small jump. To get a taste of what you’re in for check this video out (fast forward to 2:30 if you want to see people skiing off of the jump). Ultimately, gaper day is about having a good time.

After the mountain closes, head to the base in front of the tram. The ridiculousness continues off the hill and into the evening.

As with anything in the ski industry, there is no shortage of alcohol involved, so make sure you partake responsibly. Skiing intoxicated can be quite dangerous. Thanks to the amount of hotels, restaurants and bars who own property in the area the liquor laws extend to the base area. You can walk around with an open container from anywhere, the liquor store, a bar, your backpack, etc. without getting in trouble. Though I will caution you, make sure that if you do drink, DO NOT DRIVE. Take the START Bus. The police are aware of gaper day and they tend to increase their presence on the road. Above all, go have a good time and dress appropriately!

March 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm 2 comments

On Mountain Dining at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a relatively small ski resort by western standards. No matter where you are on the mountain you can access the base area in 20 minutes or so. However, on weekends, when the lines in the base area are long, sometimes it is nice to eat lunch up on the mountain. I grew up brown bagging it in New England – my dad would bring a backpack full of sandwiches, chips and cookies up to the top of the Cannon tram and stash it in the corner of the cafeteria. But these days I find myself either stashing a Cliff bar in my ski pants to stave off my hunger until Apres Ski or wandering into one of the three on mountain dining establishments. Each eatery has different types of food and a different vibe.

Corbet’s Cabin

Located at the top of the tram, it is by far the most scenic on mountain dining option (Couloir is a close second). It also has the most character, located in a small cabin that was built at the 60s, it has pieces of history pinned on the walls and it shares it’s space with the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol. There are not many tables in the cabin so be sure to be one of the first ones off the tram to nab a table. Corbet’s Cabin’s specialty is made to order waffles. IMG_5536They also have an array of snack bars, sports drinks, beer and sweets, but you really go to Corbet’s for their waffles. The have four different types of waffles: brown sugar and butter, strawberry jam and cream cheese, nutella and new this year, peanut butter and bacon. I have yet to try the PB and bacon waffle, though it sounds delicious. They serve the waffles sandwich style wrapped in tin foil. Corbet’s Cabin is a great place to go for breakfast or a midday snack.

Top of the Gondola – Rendezvous and Headwall Pizza, Couloir and Dog House

Located upstairs next to the Couloir, Rendezvous is my favorite place to eat on the mountain. It is easy to access if you are skiing Thunder, Sublette or the Tram via the Marmot lift or you may reach it by taking the Gondola. It can get pretty crowded from noon to 2 so be sure to stake out a table before getting your food. My favorite item at Rendezvous is their Vietnamese Pho. The large noodle bowl is packed with veggies and meat or tofu and filled with a mushroom broth. They are made to order so if you have an aversion to jalapenos, like me, you can ask them to make the soup without. The bowls are large enough to split between two average people or one very hungry individual. hotdogRendezvous also has a delicious salad bar, soup station and grill and sandwich station.

Coulior offers sit down dining for the refined skier who is not in a rush to get back out on the slopes. Headwall Pizza and Dog House is a good place to eat cheaply or grab some grub to eat on the fly (say, on a powder day).

Casper Restaurant

Located next to the Casper chair, the Casper Restaurant can handle a crowd. There are picnic tables outside that you can use on nice sunny days, a fireplace with two couches for those who are looking to sit back and relax as well as multiple tables on the first and second level of the building. They have a grill, soup station and their specialty, Mexican fare. I enjoy their burritos, either pork, beef or vegetarian. The burritos are large enough to share or can be devoured by one hungry individual. To avoid the notorious brick in the stomach feeling I normally split the burrito with a friend. Casper is also the only on mountain cafeteria with a full bar (Couloir also has a full bar). They have wonderful specialty drinks as well as delicious jello shots. Please see my previous blog about apres ski at Casper for details on their drink selection.

So there you have it – each one of Jackson Hole’s on-mountain dining options are unique so you can choose which restaurant best suits your needs. Some days I crave Pho, other days a burrito. Most days I crave a waffle, but I have a sweet tooth so that’s no surprise! Hopefully you get to experience all of the on-mountain dining options so that you may decide for yourself which restaurants are your favorites.

Also, as a side note – I do not believe that brown bagging is banned from any of the on-mountain dining options, but I am not positive. Just be courteous and aware of the situation.

February 26, 2013 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

So You Want to Propose in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The beauty of the majestic Tetons attracts couples from around the world. For some, they come to Jackson Hole to make a life altering decision and to proposition their significant other. This past weekend my life altered dramatically when my boyfriend of four years got down before me on one knee in front of tourists and locals alike.

It started out like any other weekend: “Let’s go for a hike off of the top of tram! I have been up there during the winter but I have yet to see it during the summer.” This past Saturday the weather was touch and go. It would go from clear skies and sunshine to looming clouds and rain in literally minutes. Even though Sunday’s forecast was clear and sunny my boyfriend insisted that we go up the tram – “We can get waffles!” he said. I had a sneaky suspicion that he might pop the question. We had been discussing it over the past few months and we determined that we were in a good stage of our life right now to take the next step. I told a girlfriend over breakfast that morning that I wouldn’t been surprised if he asked me at the top of the tram – it would be the perfect place. We met in New Hampshire at a ski resort (Attitash) and after about a year of dating I told Jared that I wanted to move out to Jackson Hole for the winter. The rest is history. Our relationship started on a mountain, a ski resort at that, it only made sense we should take the next step on a mountain.

As we rode up the Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Jared played it cool. Little did I know at the time my hand had grazed across the ring box in his pocket while we rode up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Jared said he was hungry and wanted a waffle so we went into Corbet’s Cabin and ordered a brown sugar and butter waffle. He disappeared to use the restroom. After we got our waffle he told me that he wanted to get away from people and that we should walk down the hill a little bit to eat the waffle. Though I found it an odd request, I complied. As we headed down the mountain I spied two bouquets of flowers and a bottle of champagne as well as his backpack set next to a rock. As we neared the rock I said “I think that I know what’s going on here.” And then he proposed. It was surreal. His proposal was short and sweet and the next thing I knew I had a ring slipped on my finger and we heard shouting and applause. Some people got tipped off by the tram operator and were watching us from the tram dock. Others spied from above taking photos of the whole thing. Meanwhile, a girl from a hiking party ran up and asked if we wanted our photo taken. I was in a daze, did this really just happen? It was perfect, I couldn’t have imagined a better proposal! Girls, well control freak girls like me I should say, dream about how they get engaged. However, never once did I dream that I would get engaged at the summit of Jackson Hole. It was so, us. I have to say, it’s good to let your significant other plan your proposal, they may surprise you!

After a brief photo shoot we sat down on the rock and toasted to our new life together as fiances. We drank the champagne until our hands got too cold and we had to run for the tram. Once we arrived in the base area we went to Cascade to get a drink and call our loved ones and share the news.

I promise that this won’t turn into a sappy wedding blog, but the reason I am writing this post is because my fiance works at a hotel in Teton Village. There was a guest who wanted to propose to his girlfriend but didn’t know where to do it. He had told the front desk that he saw a photo on Jackson Hole’s Facebook page of a couple that had just got engaged at the top of the tram. The front desk had Jared come talk to the guy and give him some tips for his proposal. I figure people may have a location in mind when they come to Jackson or they may intend on scouting out some locations once they get here. Below are some suggestions on where you may propose to your prospective fiance:

Schwabacker’s Landing in Grand Teton National Park This location has beautiful views of the Tetons but it also incorporates a water element (the Snake River) which makes for stunning photos and scenery.

Moulton Barn in Grand Teton National Park – There are two iconic barns located just off of Antelope Flats Road. Buffalo  frequent the area and the historical barns are rustic and charming.

Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park – the lawn at the Jackson Lake Lodge overlooks (you guessed it) Jackson Lake and the Teton Range. Moose are seen often hanging out in the brush between the lodge and the water. Perk to this location – you don’t have to go far for a celebratory drink and you can even have your friends and/or family waiting in the bar for you to announce your engagement.

Top of the Tram – Don’t feel like you are a copy cat, I’m sure that Jared isn’t the first, nor the last to do it. And wow, it’s beautiful up there. Just make sure that you bring a jacket – it gets cold up there!

The Snake River Dike – If you park on the east side of the Snake River off of Highway 22 just before Moose-Wilson Road there is a beautiful walk along the dike of the snake river. The views are phenomenal and the walk may help you calm your nerves!

There are a plethora of other options that I don’t even begin to describe here – I went for the natural route. Either way, Jackson Hole is the perfect place to get engaged. Why wouldn’t you want to have a excuse to revisit the area? After Jared proposed he told me that he couldn’t wait to bring our children back to this spot where he got down on one knee. It was the sweetest thing ever and I can’t wait to come back to Jackson (if we ever leave) and do just that.

September 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm 9 comments

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