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Yet another Cornell Ski and Snowboard Club trip (that’s three); it turns out it is a lot cheaper to ski in large groups. Upon landing in Jackson Hole, skiers and boarders pass under a giant arch of antlers before entering the terminal. This seems like a travesty of over hunting, until you pass hundreds of bison and mule deer, and tens of moose on the road into Jackson and realize they were probably all just found on the side of the road.

For my first trip to Jackson, the legendary terrain was everything I expected it to be. Unlike most mountains, there are very few groomed trails down the mountain here in Wyoming, and even fewer breaks from the steepness of the hill. Some of the snow remains untouched until it is unskiable due to snow bake because it is hiking access only (and downhill skiers tend to be lazy).

I stayed with Cal, Andy, and Alex in a cabin-style hotel called Cowboy Village in Downtown Jackson. The town is very walkable and the streets have a wide unfinished look like the Old West. A free breakfast and shuttle to the mountain everyday didn’t hurt either. We spent about half our time on “marked” trails, which are really just sections of the mountain or bowls in Jackson, and half hiking to access the Crags and similar places. The Alta Chutes, named after their similarity to the actual Alta Chutes had excellent cover the entire trip, whereas the snow other places tended to vary drastically depending on its altitude and face direction. Except for day one, the weather was hot and sunny. We had to strip down to our t-shirts in order to not overheat on the boot packs up the top bowls. Cal’s dad skied with us and was in surprisingly good shape, beating me up some of the boot packs.

My proudest accomplishment on the trip was gathering the nerve to do Corbett’s Couloir on day two, when the snow was still decent. A giant cornice makes the route surprisingly more difficult by mid-season, and the go path was extremely skied off by the time I seriously considered doing the couloir. Joe also did it on the trip, but we weren’t skiing together. Right before I did commit, a crew of three skiers (filmed by a camera man) launched off the top of the cornice at different spots, some landing 75 feet down the trail. While my limits may never reach those of professional skiers, I think it’s safe to say they were notched up just a little with my accomplishment.