Winter 2016 / 2017
Issue Number Twelve
Issue Number Twelve
03 Travis Rice throws down in Alaska for his new cinematic feat, The Fourth Phase.
WORDS: ROBYN VINCENT P H OT O : S C O T T S E R FA S / R E D B U LL
istorically, during the final push to send Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine to press, art director Olaus Linn and I sporadically peer sideways at each other. Our faces reflecting a diabolic computer glow, we take stock of the narratives that comprise this annual journal; this scrolling love letter to Jackson Hole. Typically, just before insanity sets in (when the coffee flows like water yet we yearn for something stronger), we like to discern the magazine’s overarching annual theme. Following one of our grueling nights of work this year, the revelation arrived via a 2 a.m. text message. Still glued to my laptop editing, I refrained from throwing my phone across the room and instead picked it up to see what pressing thoughts Linn had for me. “It’s the journey issue,” his message read. “Seriously—think about how that applies to every piece in the magazine.” Dammit Linn, you’ve done it again. Indeed, in JHSM’s twelfth issue many of our snow-obsessed contributors eulogize the far-flung places, both geographic and internal, where snowboarding has taken them. These locales include the Arctic Circle for
a precarious sail-to-snowboard quest; a sled dog powered Greenland expedition; a treacherous multi-day trek to snowboard Wyoming’s highest peak; a day in the Tetons that afforded one grieving rider the chance for closure, and a Wyoming road trip that traced a path into the past, long before steeze and tall Ts. While many of us have sated our desire for alpine exploration by way of travel, there is one place in particular snowboarding has taken me that I am most grateful: the place that, if you’re lucky, you join me in calling home: Jackson Hole. But let’s be honest— luck has nothing to do with it. Old timers will be the first to admit, “Living in Jackson has traditionally been a trial by survivor,” as longtime resident Mark Nowlin recently told me. While at one time Jackson Hole was a daunting place to plant roots because of its sheer remoteness and long, harsh winters, today residents confront a different set of challenges. As climate change tightens its grip here—and across the globe—milder, shorter winters are becoming the norm. This, of course, is a grave concern among residents and snowboarders alike, as Jackson Hole’s economy, flora, fauna and legendary cowboy powder hinge on a legacy of seemingly endless, unforgiving winters.
A historic housing crisis also adds to the stressors of living in Jackson Hole. Today, it is a regrettable rite of passage for residents to live in their cars or camp for months at a time because they cannot find a place to live. Though many apparently have the resolve to embrace this unglamorous lifestyle because no matter what mountain range you’ve traipsed and lollygagged through, nothing compares to having the Tetons in your backyard. Yes, living in Jackson is still trial by survivor. And this issue of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine encapsulates that unnerving resilience of our local populace. Yet people who spend their time in this area’s mountains are also softened by their stunningly harsh surroundings—they are socially and environmentally conscious, introspective, resolute fun-seekers armed with a fierce sense of stewardship. They relish in fighting to protect this place because they realize one immaculate truth: Life in Jackson Hole is the ultimate journey. See you in the snow.
Robyn Vincent is a Jackson Hole journalist and the sleep-deprived, travel-obsessed editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. @TheNomadicHeart
Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine
the cre w
06 WyPy is just a bunch of kook snowboarders. Read about â€˜em on p.76 Photo: Wade Dunstan
Robyn Vincent firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Tillotson email@example.com
Olaus Linn olaus.co
CHIEF OF MEDICINE
Jenelle Johnson ON THE WEB
Caroline LaRosa firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER
Copperfield Publishing ADDRESS
PO Box 3249 Jackson, WY 83001
Bryan Iguchi CONTRIBUTORS
Halina Boyd Ryan Dunfee Ben Gavelda Rob Kingwill Elizabeth Koutrelakos John Mikeska Jeff Moran Sam Morse Blake Paul Rachel Eden Reich Randy Shacket Josi Stephens ILLUSTRATIONS
Ryan Dee Iuna Tinta
Nic Alegre Mike Artz Ryan Dee Aaron Dodds Wade Dunstan Chris Figenshau Ben Gavelda Tristan Greszko Ryan Halverson Jason Heney Rob Kingwill Elizabeth Koutrelakos Olaus Linn Jeff Moran Rachel Eden Reich Scott Serfas Nayla Tawa
Issue Number Twelve
All things feel possible under a big Wyoming sky. Find out who passed out first on p.76 Photo: Wade Dunstan
COVER ARTIST: BRYAN IGUCHI
Josi Stephens - P09
THE ROAD TO RIGHT HERE
Ben Gavelda - P12 CONVERTED
Ryan Dunfee - P14 DROPPING NEXT
Jeff Moran - P16 YOUNG GRASSHOPPER
Ryan Dunfee - P18
Sam Morse - P22 THE GALLERY
Photographers - P25 A TALL WINDY ORDER
Halina Boyd - P50 COLD RUSH
Rachel Eden Reich - P56 THE BROTHERHOOD
Robyn Vincent - P62
Rob Kingwill - P66 WARM WOUNDS
Elizabeth Koutrelakos - P72 WY WANDER
John Mikeska - P76
Randy Shacket - P82 GOPRO FAILURE
Sam Morse - P85 THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE
Robyn Vincent - P86
HOLE LOT OF GRATITUDE
Blake Paul - P92
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bryan iguchi C O V E R A R T I S T:
“The Cathederal Group”
WORDS: JOSI STEPHENS PHOT O: NIC ALEGRE
ryan Iguchi has immersed himself in the mountains since turning pro in 1992. During the winter he spends his days exploring the backcountry of Jackson Hole. His time there has come to define his career as a professional snowboarder, a career that spans more than two decades. Born and raised in Southern California, Iguchi’s time surfing and skateboarding ultimately fueled his progression in park/ pipe riding. After traveling the world and competing in countless contests, he moved to Jackson Hole, stepping out of the spotlight to pursue a backcountry vision for snowboarding based around seeking the ability and knowledge to read and ride natural terrain. This commitment to the mountains started to shape not only his snowboarding but
also his art, which can be found at the Jackson-based gallery Asymbol. Using mixed mediums, he began capturing familiar landscapes and imagining new ones. For Iguchi, his art is an extension of his passion for the natural world; its vast landscapes, mountain topography; the fluid movement of precipitation, rivers, erosion, and breaking waves. Iguchi’s art can be found throughout the snowboarding industry. The trenches he digs can be found in the Tetons and surrounding mountains of Wyoming. He lives in Wilson, Wyoming with his wife and two sons. js Josi Stephens loves words, art, horses and naps. @Mustang_Josi
About Asymbol In the universe that is professional snowboarding, Travis Rice’s star shines among the brightest. Asymbol was born in 2009 out of Rice’s frustrated quest to find artwork to adorn the interior of his personal home. This experience inspired him to build a bridge connecting the highly respected image-makers in our culture with people who want to own their work, yet never had a way to do so before. Artist and close friend Mike Parillo provided the spark that ignited the Asymbol idea and turned the company into a reality. Asymbol is a family affair, proudly based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. www.asymbol.co
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the road to
right here Balancing pavement, patience and mindfulness on the chase for something white.
W O R D S & P H OT O : B E N G AV E LDA
Issue Number Twelve
he ebony winter night shrouded the windows of my cab as I pulled off the I-15 for fuel somewhere near Idaho Falls, Idaho. After cutting the engine’s grumble and stepping outside, I heard the sound of rushing fluids slapping the greasy asphalt. Weary and unsure of what was leaking from my 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins, I phoned my mechanic buddy back home. Could it be this beast’s water just broke and it’s going into labor? Upon further inspection, I discovered it was just a leaky water pump and not a breached baby lamb. With the reassurance from my mechanic: “You’ll be OK… for a bit,” I decided to push on into the night to meet the storm brewing in Revelstoke, BC. With my eyes on the engine temp gauge as the outside temp dipped to 10 degrees, I pushed on a few more hours and pulled off in Lima, Montana, crawling into my camper for the night. I woke up to sub-zero temps and opted for making coffee over my frozen gypsy shack in the warmth of the rest stop. With the water pump about done it meant there was no heat in the cab. The hot coffee did little to cut the bone chilling cold. I watched the outside temperature gauge dip further into the negatives with only the windshield’s glass separating me from the negative 15-degree sting and 70 mph wind chill. I quickly pulled over to throw on Sorels, a down jacket, gloves, beanie—all the riding essentials and more—just to drive. Somewhere outside Butte, Montana, I saw my engine temp gauge ping upward—the pump had fully blown. I immediately pulled over. There I was, with a beat up old diesel, camper and snowmobile in tow, in the middle of a frozen nowhere.
I could ramble about the road a lot—the beautiful locations it leads us to, the mechanical failures of the machines that take us there. I could recommend books on tape, podcasts, or obscure rural towns to enhance the travels. But this story is about where snow takes us and why. Whether you know it or not, or like to admit it or not, snowstorms carry more than snow with them. Stocked in that floating mass of moisture hangs anticipation, escape, credit card debt, hospital bills, bliss, friendship, cheers and so much more. The impact travels far beyond the white flakes that fall. Towns, lifts, lives and dreams are built around winter weather patterns. Whether you chase powder or not, the behavior of winter storms ultimately influences our own actions.
“There I was in the middle of a frozen nowhere.” Think for a minute where you live and how snow and mountains have led you there. Maybe that one epic powder day during that one trip made you move. Perhaps the scroll of snowboard edits made you search out terrain park paradise in Summit County, Colorado, or Tahoe, California. Possibly you were fortunate enough to grow up in the foothills of a world class riding area like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and can actually afford to live there. Maybe you broke it down by math, calculating the long running list of snowfall averages at said spots. You could’ve even debated drive times and chose your residence, career or school accordingly. You might have taken a job in Southern California, then fought to return to the mountains.
These are all things we as snowboarders have contemplated at least once in our lives. The urge to chase snowfall can tear at our stomachs when we scroll through the feed of places getting hammered, the bragstagram posts, the snow depth tallies. It’s a test of our patience, of our choice of residence in the meteorological place of space. When it’s not where we are, we cringe. When those flakes are piling up outside our window, we rejoice. But peace can be found in both places, though that’s the true challenge. This past winter I logged nearly 20,000 miles of pavement in search of snow. I don’t mind long hours behind the wheel or wind ripping through the cab. I enjoy loud music and viewing the beauty of the rural West through my windshield. But this amount of travel is rough, whether it’s the inherent dangers of driving, the strain on the senses, pollution, or financial burden that come with it. While pinging from spot to spot, I missed some storms and scored on others. There were times I wished to be couch-bound, anticipating the next storm. But waiting for snowfall forces us to reflect, to slow down, and to soak in our surroundings. In the end, I made it to Revelstoke, BC, a day late and missed the storm after a tow and repair in Butte, Montana, set me back. But in the end it’s not about how many powder days you chalked up, it’s a matter of making it all worth the wait. bg Ben Gavelda is the 2016 National Hermit Crab Race Champion. @bengavelda
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converted A day on Teton Pass that carved the cold white road to enlightenment.
Infamous skier Ryan Dunfee dragginâ€™ knuckles.
WO RD S : RYA N D U N F EE PHOT O: OLAUS LI NN
Issue Number Twelve
t was a year after the lust first took hold of me, when snowboarding crystallized to become everything I imagined. The first part—the desire for something more—arrived after slogging up the Glory bootpack on Teton Pass with my friend Sam. I had been a skier my whole life, and on that day I stood on the summit of Glory with two poles and two skis. Sam, meanwhile, had a SnoPlank—a bamboo snowboard with no edges, the length a child’s sled. After years and years on big long skis, I was sure Sam’s board had the crush-worthy ability of nothing more than a snowshoe. Back to the bootpack. It was the kind of deep, dark, stormy January morning where the wind is blowing so hard it blisters your cheeks. The creases in the palms of our gloves froze solid. Conversation was futile, lost to the ferocious breeze blurring the horizon between Sam and I as we climbed higher. But on these mornings in the truest part of winter as the dawn breaks the grey haze over the Gros Ventre, the snow is as light as it falls in the Tetons, sapped of almost all its moisture from the hundreds of miles of dry, brittle farmland to the west. Surrounded on all sides, it was the kind of snow you swim through. Instead of floating above it you move within it. “Dropping!” I hollered. With each turn, the snow climbed over my knees and swallowed me to my stomach. Ecstasy. Then Sam dropped, his board hovering along the snow, not even enough weight to break the surface. The tail of his board would swing out, skimming its shadow above the snow. Sam laid hard into his heels, erupting the snow ahead and all around him in an explosion of white, erasing any trace of him. On my skis, I watched speechless as he
repeated this cycle of turn-poof !-disappearreappear-turn-poof !-disappear all the way to the bottom. It looked like a dream in motion, the way the snow swallowed him instantaneously, over and over. That was it. I had to snowboard. A year later, I was hiking the same bootpack on a similar dark, wind-loaded January morning. Cheeks again blistered by the wind, conversation between partners lost to the snow—only this time, that edgeless bamboo SnoPlank was latched to my back. At the top, I strapped into the tiny pow surfer and wobbled down. With only a month of snowboarding under my belt, I jiggled back and forth, struggling to hold an edge on the scoured ridge. My friends dropped first, their bodies quickly melding with the swirling, powderwashed fall line. When they turned off the run to watch me come down, I inched the tiny board forward, certain I’d tumble onto my face. The SnoPlank began to lazily tunnel through the deep snow. Then, as I picked up speed, the nose reappeared and the board came level with the surface. The increasing speed woke my instinct to turn, and within half a moment of setting that first heel-side edge, I was fully, blindly, head-to-toe, block-the-goggles barreled. I was speechless again, except this time it was my own experience, my own turn that was the subject of wonder. I couldn’t feel the ground. I couldn’t feel gravity. I lost all focus, and could only catch up enough to experience, on that ageerasing sensory level, the brink of the cold, the batting of the wind, and the bounding of snow crystals as they collided with my face; millions of them on their way skyward.
The board turned back to point straight down the fall line—I’m not sure how. I was only observing what was happening, trying to take it all in, to comprehend it, watching my body shift across the face of the mountain over this sliver of time, and the world reemerged. Brought a little closer to reality, I had the odd thought of breathing again, and my lungs burst out, sucking in air desperately. But something dry, cold and soft was wadded up in my cheeks, blocking my esophagus. I spat with the bit of breath I’d been able to pull in. A thick wad of snow shot out, falling until it collided in a soft smack with the billions of other crystals below. It wasn’t a movie, it wasn’t a Transworld cover, it was me, right there, on my own two feet, on a snowboard, riding snow so deep I was choking on it. The entire run—every turn—unrolled in this seemingly endless faceshot-laden dream. Most of the run, in fact, I rode completely blind, engulfed by snow that erupted all around me, that took me away from the world anytime I edged the board even a few degrees from the fall line. I arrived at the bottom overwhelmed, every nerve ending electrified. There, lying on my back in a snow bank along the highway, snow angel-style, I hollered like a fool, born anew. I had become a believer.
Aspiring to surf the Earth since 2016, Ryan Dunfee is former managing editor at Teton Gravity Research now working at the Sierra Club. @ryandunfee85
Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine
dropping next Ladies and gentlemen, meet Neo Emery. WORDS & PHOT OS: JEFF MORAN
Neo Emery grabbing mute and spinning frontside at JHMR.
Issue Number Twelve
here’s no real science in selecting which young rider is Dropping Next. It’s a rather simple decision: a Jackson Hole shred who not only stands out on snow, but also in life. Some years it’s a tough choice. This year, however, it was about as easy as it gets. Neo Emery is Dropping Next. Fourteen-year-old Neo has been a member of the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club’s ( JHSC) Freeride Program since he was old enough to be on the snowboard team. Since day one you could tell he was not only going to rip, but that he’d also look good doing it. As @lilneo_123 grew, his style and approach to new terrain developed well beyond his years. Look no further than his last two seasons for proof of his prowess. Neo is a regular on the podium at Wednesday Night Lights Rail Jams as well the regional USASA series in slopestyle, halfpipe and boardercross. He annually qualifies for USASA Nationals in multiple disciplines and has won his age group in the Dick’s Ditch Banked Slalom three years running. Most notably, Neo has earned the title of JHSC’s Snowboarder of the Year in both 2015 and 2016—a feat very few of his predecessors have accomplished. Of course Neo rips. You wouldn’t be reading about him if that weren’t the case. But it’s his personality, drive and modest approach to snowboarding that really set him apart from the pack. Neo is the perfect example of someone who let’s his riding do the talking—a rare characteristic in our current “look-at-me” digital culture. He’s humble, creative and works hard to make it look easy. No ego, just pure stoke day after day.
The kind of dude everyone wants to ride with. When asked about Neo, JHSC’s former head snowboard coach Andy Lex said he has his own style “that doesn’t mimic anyone else’s. It’s totally inspired by what feels good.”
“He snowboards because he loves it, not because it’s cool.” Neo’s shred roots run deep in Jackson Hole. His father, Robert (two-time winner of the Freeride Program’s “Rad Dad” award) was part owner of Jackson Hole’s iconic Illuminati Snowboards brand with Lance Pitman. Ironically enough, Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine got its start as an Illuminati Snowboards catalog.* Neo was only two years old when JHSM came to life and now 12 years/issues later, he’ll be charging through the 16/17 season with Head Conspiracy Theorist Lance Pitman as his new coach on the JHSC Snowboard Team. “Illuminati” is the plural of the Latin word Illuminatus, which means, “enlightened,” and that’s exactly how you’ll feel after seeing this kid shred. jm *Read John Rodosky’s interview with Lance Pitman in the 2014/15 Issue Ten of JHSM for more on this magazine’s genesis.
Jeff Moran was JHSC’s head snowboard coach and Freeride Program director for 10 years. Now he’s just another kook scraping all the snow off the trails.. @jeffmoran76
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Aaron Lebowitz, founder of Soul Motion Snowboards.
young grasshopper Three ways to change how you look at snowboarding this winter. WO RD S : RYA N D U N F EE P H O T O : WA D E D U N S TA N
Issue Number Twelve
“You could ride the same run all day then change to a radically different board, and all of a sudden, you’re riding a different mountain.”
But this trend is not just to please the faithful followers of Taro Tamai (of the legendary Gentemstick); it’s changing how people ride, and how they look at the mountain. Two of the young sensei of this new philosophy are Aaron Lebowitz, founder and head shaper at Missoula’s Soul Motion Snowboards, and Jackson local Alex Yoder, who’s taken a left turn from the gnar-above-all-else style of snowboarding in the Tetons and sought its more artful, sensual counterpart in every transition. All riders, Lebowitz and Yoder posit, can benefit from this new world of board design.
1 Forget the fall line and stop thinking linearly
“For the longest time, boards were designed to conquer the mountain,” Lebowitz said. “They were built to go straight down the fall line, like a skier. But there’s 100 turns that could be made in the course of that
he encourages them to take when they head out on a demo board. They’re also leery of the shorter boards he wants to put them on (Yoder is six feet clean and rides a tiny 141 regularly).
same experience … and each turn is its own, slow-motion moment.”
f there is one lesson to be learned from pro-snowboarder Rob Kingwill’s 2016 PowWow (aside from the fact that Kinger knows how to orchestrate a damn good soul shred session), it’s that there’s no shortage of new, unique snowboard shapes. During the annual board demo event where the leading and most innovative snowboard manufacturers come together, I noticed decks shorter, wider, with more of a setback stance and a swallowtail than what I brought from home. Yes, the surf influence is all the rage this winter.
Part of this is simply self-preservation; as you age (and perhaps become more wise?) you’re not going to charge and huck like you did in high school (sorry). The other part though is connecting with that feeling of flow between turns, or as Lebowitze describes it, the moving meditation. “It’s trying to connect with that moment of snowboarding, that first time you strapped in and just went, and the motion of the mountain carried you down,” he said. While some of it is decoupling our ambitions from the technical challenges we’re naturally drawn to as our skills increase, it’s also changing the challenge: improving your execution of the turn, improving how well you read the side of that gully and set that carve. It’s these micro-challenges, not the first descents, which will keep snowboarding fresh for a lifetime.
There’s a lot to learn from surfing “Surfing’s been around for a lot longer than snowboarding,” Alex Yoder pointed out. Indeed, surfers have been thinking about, obsessing over, and tinkering with board design for much longer than their snow-footed denizens. As the de facto North American ambassador for the ultimate boogie soul boards, Japan’s Gentemstick, Yoder explained that most people are skeptical of the narrower stance
“But it’s about allowing your body to be open to a different feeling,” he explained. “You could ride the same run all day then change to a radically different board, and all of a sudden, you’re riding a different mountain.”
Think about a quiver, or at least set yourself for mellow days “Having a quiver is first of all, a privilege,” Yoder was quick to note. “But it allows you to have different experiences on different days based on what mood you’re in. Some days, I don’t feel like getting extreme, and I’ll whip out a tiny little board that’s only going to want to go slow, a second or third-gear board, versus always being on a sixth-gear board that wants to straight line Cody Bowl.” Just as surfers might break it up and leave their quad at home in favor of a lumbering longboard, Yoder encourages riders to seek out a range of boards that allow them to have a blast every day no matter what. Because sometimes it’s just about making those soul turns. rd Aspiring to surf the Earth since 2016, Ryan Dunfee is former managing editor at Teton Gravity Research now working at the Sierra Club. @ryandunfee85
Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine
snowed in Trading logic and reason for one day of euphoria. WORDS: SAM MORSE I L LU ST R A T I O N : RYA N D EE
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“If you guys get on this chair, you’re gonna be stuck in Silverton for a long fuckin’ time!”
e all have those days in the mountains that in memory seem more the stuff of dreams than reality. The rough edges fade, tedium reaches its half life, and all that remains is a canvas of white that burns like a secret flame for the rest of our lives, following us into our dreams, offices and long summer seasons. It’s that moment, usually on the heel edge, where everything clicks and the love for making turns transforms into a life-defining obsession. Jackson Hole is legendary for producing days like these, where you hit that peak flow and the ecstasy of powder riding becomes everything. It’s the feeling you get early morning on a deserted South Hoback run, burning the fall line in frenzy, seeking out the hallowed nooks that seem more church than hillside. It’s the feeling you get with friends at the top of a long Glory bootpack, bereft of haste, when you finally strap in and let gravity say more than words ever could. It’s the moment powder brings us together, on the chairlift, on the run, in the backcountry, when friendships are consecrated through hoots, hollers and screams of joyful, fearless abandon. While these moments in Jackson Hole have cemented my love affair with snowboarding,
my primer arrived before moving to the valley in the mythical dale of Silverton, Colorado, in January 2008. It was one of those classic storm systems where the NOAA forecast read 100 percent snow for the foreseeable future. Looking back, it was unwise for me to head deep into the mountains a day before my spring semester was to begin at Fort Lewis College in Durango. But sometimes the irresponsible decisions are the best ones to make. Compelled by the forecast, I hitchhiked over Molas and Colbank passes. The morning after my impulsive midnight hitch, I awoke to find a San Juan snowpocalypse—20 inches of powder on the streets of Silverton—and that was in town. By 6 a.m., my partner in crime Ron and I were mobbing his truck through deep drifts up the mining road to Silverton Mountain. The snow intensified. We got to the base, and it was ghostlike and deserted, save the sound of snow-muffled generators in the distance. The snow intensified. We crawled up to the yurt, swimming our way through wind drifts 30 to 40 inches deep. Falling through the structure’s threshold, Silverton co-owner Jenn Brill greeted us with a congratulatory grin for being the first ones to the mountain. She
knew better than anyone what we were in for. We drank coffee, dialed in our kits, then went down to the deserted two-seater, and waited. The snow intensified. Over the next two hours, the line behind us grew, bombs echoed through the canyon, and the snowfall took on a silent, downward intensity. Then the chair began to spin, groaning to life with a labored hum. Patrollers went up to make their cuts and when they came down, they weren’t the same people. And then it began. Riding first chair on such a day is the best it gets, though deciding what to drop can be maddening—it all looks good. But this was one of the rare days at Silvy where everything was open, including liftline and the adjacent RMYF, a 2,000-foot avalanche path with consistent pitch the entire way. Our choice was obvious. Unloading the lift, skating frantically to the entrance gate, my heart was ready to explode. I clipped in and hopped up. Time melted away. My past woes, my future worries, all of the things that resonate in the constant din of the human brain crystallized, then shattered, and I found peace. That morning, Ron and I lost ourselves in
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the aesthetic purity of riding. Time faded, each turn lasted only moments, but also an eternity. Every run, we lived and died. Gods were born and prayed to, then forgotten, only to be born again. I lost track of who I was and what I was doing; there was only the turn, and the timeless meditation that accompanied it. This was a love that could never be taken from me, and I promised myself I’d guard it with reckless, savage abandon for the rest of my days.
CDOT’s gonna close the passes. It’s now or never, people!”
Coming down from the powder high several runs later, we rested our legs in the base yurt for the short duration of a few breakfast pints. As we settled in next to the crackling wood stove, Aaron Brill bursted into the yurt like a drunken yeti.
A Ska Euphoria later, I was back at the base of the double-seater. I had no place to stay in Silverton, no plan to fall back on. The sensible thing to do was leave.
“If you don’t leave now, you won’t be able to!” the Silverton Mountain owner yelled into the den of powder hounds, scoundrels and dirtbags. “This system isn’t letting up—
But no one stirred. I readied the hammer for another lap, and in delighted mirth I realized my current situation epitomized the old San Juan saying: “In Silverton, when times are good, you don’t wanna leave. But when they’re really good, you can’t.”
But powder days like this don’t instill people with much sense. They seduce the bad decisions out of us, one irresponsible choice at a time. The lift beckoned to me like a midnight booty call that you definitely should ignore, but can’t.
Waiting for the chair, the liftie yelled to the crowd: “550’s closing in 45 minutes, if you want to get home tonight, YOU NEED TO LEAVE NOW.” We held firm, and made no move to call it, we couldn’t, no matter the consequences. Just before we got on the chair the liftie looked at us and grinned. “If you guys get on this chair, you’re gonna be stuck in Silverton for a long fuckin’ time!” Caked in snow, we grinned back and said nothing.
Sam Morse is a wordsmith/snowboarder who likes bad puns, good books and cooking tacos. @s.a.morse
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gallery Spectacular snowboarding photos for your viewing pleasure. P H O T O S : S C O T T S E R FA S / R E D B U L L , C H R I S F I G E N S H A U , J A S O N H E N E Y , B E N G A V E L D A , RO B K I N G W I L L & R YA N D E E
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Issue Number Twelve Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Location: Russia
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Photo: Chris Figenshau Rider: Halina Boyd Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Rider: Eric Jackson Location: Alaska
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Photo: Chris Figenshau Rider: Jimmy Goodman Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Jason Heney Rider: Jason Elms Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Ben Gavelda Rider: Cam FitzPatrick Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Ben Gavelda Rider: Mike Basich Location: Mt. Baker
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Photo: Rob Kingwill Location: Greenland
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Photo: Rob Kingwill Rider: Seth Wescott Location: Greenland
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Photo: Chris Figenshau Rider: Halina Boyd Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Jason Heney Rider: Scott Adams Location: Wyoming
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Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Rider: Travis Rice Location: Russia
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Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Rider: Pat Moore Location: Jackson Hole
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Photo: Ryan Dee Rider: Jon Grinney Location: Jackson Hole
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a tall windy order Summiting the highest peak in Wyoming and making peace with its wild surroundings.
WORDS: HALINA BOYD PHOT OS: CH RIS FIGENSHAU
nce a year Jones Snowboards awards one of its athletes a budget to embark on a backcountry expedition in his or her backyard. The Wind River Range contains some of the most remote wilderness not only in Wyoming, but all of North America. Nestled right in the middle of the northern portion of this 140-mile-long, 40-mile-
wide range is Gannett Peak, the tallest mountain in Wyoming. When I learned I had won the grant, I started mentally organizing my crew. I needed to find unique, adventure-minded individuals who wouldn’t mind a little suffering (OK, a lot of suffering). Every time I talked to someone with
experience traveling in the Winds, I was met with expressions of awe followed by concern. “It’s big… it’s beautiful… it’s a really long walk,” was the general consensus. This only fueled my interest to explore the region, considering the primary access points are an hour and a half from my home
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Jimmy Goodman descends Gannet Peak in Wyomingâ€™s Wind River Range.
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in Jackson Hole. Yet the grueling nature of snowboarding in the Winds deters many from exploring its vast expanse. Indeed, the Winds are a special place and demand respect from those who attempt to safely and confidently navigate the terrain. After a couple of attempts fishing for the right weather window, my crew, including fellow Jones team rider Jimmy Goodman, local Jones guide Brendan Burns, videographer Aharon Bram, and
photographer Chris Figenshau, set out on June 2nd to test our luck at documenting and riding the highest peak in Wyoming. We thought it would be a long yet manageable one-day, 13-mile tour to our base camp on Dinwoody Glacier starting from Cold Springs trailhead. Instead it became a two-day post-hole struggle fest through knee-to waist-deep isothermic snow, hillsides of rushing water, muddy dirt paths and swampy marshes. On the second
day we caught a glimpse of Gannett Peak far in the distance. Realizing the magnitude of the journey ahead, my more than 65-pound pack suddenly felt 10 pounds heavier. The amount of gear involved in this expedition was daunting. The snowboarding, mountaineering, camping, media and communication supplies added up quick. Along with our food, fuel and stoves, these proved to be the heaviest packs I have ever
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carried. Early in the trip, I stepped off a grassy knoll onto what I thought was a patch of spring slush. It turned out to be a two-foot deep isothermic pond. At that moment I succumbed to the reality of soggy wet boots for the next six days. After settling into our basecamp the evening prior, the crew enjoyed an ethereal sunrise as we embarked on our three-mile commute up the Dinwoody Glacier. Once we reached this zone, our eyes widened at
the scope of this mountain range. After six months of planning, plotting and rescheduling, we could not have asked for better conditions on our projected summit day. Heading up the Gooseneck couloir, we had perfect boot-packing conditions. With not even a breeze or a cloud in the sky, from the summit of Gannett we could look across Wyoming roughly 70 miles and see the Grand Teton dwarfed by our proximity.
Gannettâ€™s summit is a long, gradually inclining ridge that eventually tops out on its northern most point. After Brendan and Chris checked out the north couloir and deemed it too slabby for a safe descent, we headed over to the south couloir. Creamy and edgeable, the spring snow was alltimeâ€”we enjoyed perfect spring corn on our descent of Gannett Peak. The following day Brendan and I took in the view of Mt. Warren. With plenty of
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terrain options to salivate over, only the snow conditions limited our choices that day. On this morning we were working with a rain crust from the night before and rapidly warming temps maxing out around 50 degrees by noon. Mt. Warren’s couloir felt too firm, Dinwoody Peak’s couloir felt too soft, and Le Dames Anglaises couloir whispered to us with the most promise. After tying on crampons, securing our boards to our packs, and munching one
more snack to sate our ravenous hunger (which was insatiable at this point), we began the firm boot-pack up Le Dames Anglaises couloir. About halfway up the couloir the sun began to crest the saddle on this north facing aspect and with each kick step, magnificent morning light spilled down the slope until the entire ridge and couloir were aglow. It was an awe-inspiring moment—a reminder why the physical exertion was all worth it.
We reached the summit bench and agreed the couloir could use a little more time to soften. These spring-like conditions were keeping us on our toes and the bergschrunds were widening by the day. After about an hour of solar exposure, we thought we’d test the waters, and the crew granted me first descent. Unfortunately, the couloir was at a perfect angle, aspect, and time of year to hold its firmness no matter how long it baked in the sun. Barely
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holding onto my edge as I mocked down the couloir, I almost lost control while airing over a bergschrund. Time slowed down as I peered into the abyss beneath me. Luckily, before I knew it, I was back on my toes carving down the remainder of the glacier. On our exit day, after two-and-a-half miles of post-holing through hip-deep isothermic snow in timber fall zones, we chose to post up for the night at this iconic Wind
River campsite along the Glacier Trail. The following morning, slightly more mentally and physically rested, we plodded on through the remaining 11 miles. This expedition tested our mental and physical strength in every way. Yet through that struggle, and pushing myself past my perceived limitations, I eventually reached a place of peace and acceptance. Stripped of all societal distractions, only thoughts of our basic needs for survival occupied our
brainsâ€”the pleasure of eating around a fire at night, of finding warmth and comfort as we thawed out our wet bones. Itâ€™s in those moments of simplicity, those moments in nature that we ultimately discover ourselves.
Halina Boyd values time in nature with friends and does not have time for bullshit. @halinalaboyd
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cold rush Seasoned snowboarders become rookie sailors in the Arctic Circle.
WORDS: RACH EL EDEN REICH P H O T O S : R A C H E L E D E N R E I C H & N A Y L A TA WA
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Nayla, Hadley and Ben prepare to put up sail. Photo: Rachel Eden Reich
Heading back to the boat in the little dingy that could. Photo: Nayla Tawa
t was around 3 a.m. when the alarm starting going off, rousing me from a dreamless sleep. I registered our captain Ben jumping out of bed to double check the controls near my head. In my groggy state I wondered if we were headed straight for an iceberg. I could feel the boat rocking in the water, the sound of the wind against the bow. Still just a few days into our trip, it was unnerving to fall asleep to the sensation of the boat constantly drifting. Willing myself out of my cocoon, I popped my head up to see snow swirling around outside. The tight cabin bustled with sudden energy, and Ben sprinted up to the deck. A moment later I heard him yell down to Jessica: “Get dressed, we’re leaving now.”
Icy waves crash over the deck towards the cabin windows. Photo: Rachel Eden Reich
In the 20-knot winds that had picked up, our anchor had become unsecured and the boat was uncomfortably close to the shallow, rocky shore. Just a few hours earlier over a heavy dinner, the group discussed
the weather forecast, the change in wind direction and what it all meant for leaving the protective cove we were anchored in. Due to the low depth of where we were, we could only depart during high tide, which gave us just enough margin to make it without hitting the bottom. The plan, or at least what we had decided before retiring to our bunks around 1 a.m., was to ski in the morning and take off during the higher tide at 3 p.m. the next day. In an instant, however, all bets were off and we were in for a night of sailing north in rough seas and violent winds. Hadley, Jessica and Nayla threw on their ski outerwear and ventured up on deck to pull anchor. Meredith and I popped a Dramamine before following behind. In 20 minutes, we were motoring out of the inlet with no idea where we were headed. As the crew on deck prepped to raise the sail, Meredith and I worked to secure miscellaneous ski items, gear, pots and pans, boots, and anything loose in the boat.
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Feeling nauseous as we hit the open ocean, I laid down to steady my stomach. From the cabin, I heard Nayla pop her head in and yell to get ready, as we were about to put up sail. I braced myself and with a whoosh, everything was sideways. So much for securing gear—I was now star-fished against the wall while much of the boat’s interior had migrated with me. Hanging from a railing, Meredith watched as we tilted into the water, waves lapping up to the cabin window. “Oh my god, oh my god. Is this normal?” she asked, repeating the phrase a few more times. I clawed my way up and peered out of the windows, laughing nervously. I mean, this was kind of ridiculous—none of us had any idea what normal was at this point. At 78 degrees north latitude, Svalbard sits as a remote, mountainous archipelago within the Arctic Circle. During most
of the year, it is encapsulated by ice and impossible to navigate by water. During a short window in the spring, however, the ocean ice retreats as the days lengthen, giving skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to explore its fjords and mountains by boat, and harvest it’s vast skiable terrain. As a team of five, three of us from Jackson Hole, one from Tahoe, California, and one from Sun Valley, Idaho, we were all acutely aware of what it takes to survive in the mountains. However, none of us had any significant sailing experience or had ventured to this part of the world before. Adventures can seem magical in your mind when you start planning them. For me, the draw of going to a place where mountains meet the sea, further north than I’ve ever been, seemed dream like indeed. The sailing just felt like a curious addition that we’d “figure out.” But after years of growing accustomed to almost anything the mountains might throw at me, the
Meredith and Rachel look out towards the edge of the world. Photo: Nayla Tawa
Isfjorden on a sunny day. Photo: Rachel Eden Reich
Issue Number Twelve sea became a completely different kind of challenge. Out here on the ocean, I had no bearing. We sailed until 9 a.m. through the night to find shelter in the research town of Ny-Ă…lesund. Forty-eight hours of 50knot sideways rain later, we used the same force that had kept us captive to escape. A quick shift in the wind direction provided a small window to sail further north to Krossfjorden, where weâ€™d have the protection of the fjords. As we landed and anchored in what would be our new temporary home, fresh snow icing the peaks around us, the team readied TOP:
Jessica and Rachel soak in the terrain as the clouds move in. Photo: Nayla Tawa
to go for a quick tour and explore the surrounding terrain. We were antsy from two days on the boat, our legs itching to move. The mountains around us were socked in as we hit shore in the dingy, and with only Gaia GPS to guide us, we began our ascent towards a cloud-enshrouded mountain pass. The air was silent, with just the sound of our boards and skis swishing through the new snow, ascending through a glacial valley. As we made our way towards what we assumed was a col overlooking another valley, the clouds slowly parted ways.
Jessica ascends into the clouds. Photo: Rachel Eden Reich
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Sunshine and blue sky popped into view intermittently, breaking up the surrounding white. Jessica, leading the team, climbed higher and the clouds continued to break as she reached what looked like the top. “Oh my god… get up here,” she exclaimed. Reaching the top of the col, my heart began to race. Instead of an adjoining valley, the col transformed sharply into distinctly powder filled, rock lined couloirs that dropped straight into the ocean, distant mountains and glaciers spilling into the sea beyond. As the rest of the team joined us at the top, we found ourselves in collective disbelief of where we were, and what we were seeing. Despite all the challenges and discomforts, this is why we do this. This is why we explore.
Rachel Eden Reich is a freelance marketing strategist, writer and splitboard mountaineer based in Jackson Hole. The crew gathers for a team photo.
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brotherhood The Fourth Phase delivers empirical truths for the young and old.
Mark Landvik, Eric Jackson and Travis Rice in Russia filming The Fourth Phase.
WORDS: ROBYN VINCENT P H OT O S : S C O T T S E R FA S / R E D B U LL
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ravis Rice stirs pride among Jacksonites of all stripes because he is testament to something deep and visceral about the human spirit, an axiom that few see to fruition and most relinquish when they become rational adults. Rice has carved a path that proclaims you must mercilessly pursue your passions. Perhaps the easiest point of reference capturing Rice’s ascendance as an immersive rider sitting on the throne of Jackson Hole’s royal family are his cinematic projects. A canon of films, First Descent, That’s It That’s All, The Art of Flight, and now The Fourth Phase, that have immortalized his ability to touch and mold every facet of snowboarding. Obsessed with the cycle of water, for it is the element that hinges on his pursuit of
snowboarding and sailing, in The Fourth Phase, Rice embarks on a precarious chase of the hydrological cycle, from Russia and Japan to Wyoming and Alaska. But what exactly is the fourth phase? According to University of Washington professor Dr. Gerald Pollack, there is likely a fourth phase between solid and liquid water. The professor’s findings have led some to believe this fourth phase may be the missing link between physical matter and life. “This hydrological cycle—it’s easy to write it off as, well, ‘that’s the weather,’” Rice says in the film, but “we steal magic away from the things we give names to. It’s this beautiful, choreographed cycle of life.” Rice’s hydro obsession, and the world adventure that ensues, is testament to his insatiable appetite for exploration.
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The result is a film that renders all other snowboarding films quotidian. It is one part travel dispatch, one part love letter— to snowboarding, sailing and the natural world—and 100 parts heart and grit. Directed by Swift Silent Deep’s Jon ‘JK’ Klaczkiewicz, it traces the hero’s journey— the protagonist who goes against all odds and ultimately prevails. We see Rice not only in his natural element in the mountains but in the ocean, as he draws parallels to snowboarding and sailing. It is during these meditative moments, as we find ourselves sailing with Rice on the open seas while he catches and guts fish, that we meet a raw side of the snowboarder that has never been promulgated into the public sphere. We learn that our hero is perfect because of his imperfections.
Mark Landvik owns the night like batman in Hakuba, Japan.
“Why do a trip like this?” he asks. “Just the act of doing it … being out here is really what’s important. Out here you actually have time to read a book, to look inward. And it’s not that you can’t do it by any means, it’s just, I have yet to find the discipline to live my life on land like I do on the sea.”
During the hero’s journey, it is also the protagonist’s experiences with his comrades that often imprint the most indelible memories. The Fourth Phase features three generations of snowboard luminaries— among others—who call Jackson Hole home and, who, ironically are each 10 years apart: Bryan Iguchi, Rice and the young Jedi Cam FitzPatrick. The film reminds viewers the value in mentorship, of discerning talent in young people and helping them to cultivate and discover their passions. As eco renegade/ Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard once advised: “Hang out with older people when you are young and then younger people when you are old.” Adhering to this ethos, the film explains how Iguchi once discerned something in Rice who ultimately, he says, “became the snowboarder I always wanted to be.” Meanwhile Rice acknowledges: “Bryan Iguchi showed me a lot more than how to kick out a method. He is the humble master.” Now, we see FitzPatrick under the watchful
Issue Number Twelve Cam FitzPatrick absolutely sending it in the Jackson Hole backcountry.
wing of snowboarding’s king in The Fourth Phase. It is actually thanks to this film that FitzPatrick, 24, finds himself forging ahead on his path as an inspired professional snowboarder. When he got the call from Rice, FitzPatrick, then 21, was stalled at a crossroads. Disillusioned after a string of injuries and incidents that had diluted his passion for snow, he was ready to relinquish his craft. “I was getting so comfortable with my snowboarding … I wasn’t feeling the
fear anymore,” FitzPatrick told JHSM. Instead, he followed Rice into unknown territory in the Wyoming backcountry. “Standing on top of the arch,” FitzPatrick said, remembering a particularly puckering Wyoming line in the film, “I remember being so scared.”
roller coaster,” said FitzPatrick, who is busy this winter at the helm of an Arbor film shot entirely in Wyoming. “Over the whole journey what we created was a brotherhood.” rv
The scene is one of the film’s most gratifying, camaraderie fueled segments.
Robyn Vincent is a Jackson Hole journalist and the sleep-deprived, travel-obsessed editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine.
“The whole experience was an emotional
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Photo: Mike Artz
Discovering a faraway land of fjords, polar bears and sled dogs via snowboard.
Rob Kingwill gets rad high above an icy fjord in Greenland.
WORDS: ROB KINGWILL PHOT OS: MI KE ARTZ & ROB KI NGWI LL
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“Using your snowboard as a vehicle to explore and see the world in a different light is the true beauty of adventure and travel.”
ut there. That pretty much encapsulates snowboarding in Greenland. When my friend and LLBean teammate Seth Wescott called me up in February to say we were going to Greenland to film with Warren Miller, it was difficult for me to imagine what kind of terrain we would ride or what kind of trip we would have. Together, Seth and I have been riding remote places around the world for nearly 20 years, but Greenland was so far off my radar I wasn’t sure what to expect. Polar bears? Inuits? Icebergs? Jagged, dragontooth mountains with endless couloirs and unlimited options? Yes, it was all of this and more. My only previous reference to Greenland was watching the vast ice sheet pass by while flying to Europe. The view from 30,000 feet lends the impression that Greenland is basically a big, flat expanse of
Local sled dog guide Gideon sets out on another adventure to find polar bears and seals.
uninhabitable ice and snow, about as close to the planet Hoth as you can get while still being on Earth. What we discovered when we finally landed on the tiny dirt airstrip that had once been part of a U.S. Air Force outpost on Kulusuk Island, located on the eastern coast of Greenland, was a place of incredible beauty, harsh and unyielding, with amazing mountains in every direction. It would take a lifetime to ride all of the lines that we saw on the plane ride in, and it felt like we had arrived to the next frontier of big mountain snowboard exploration, the way it must have felt to be in Alaska 25 years ago. Situated near the airport was a small hunting village—a vibrant community of amazing people living on the edge of the habitable world, sustaining themselves primarily using dogsleds and boats to hunt for seal, fish and the occasional polar bear.
Photo: Mike Artz
Their modest, plywood homes were painted in hues of red, blue and yellow, contrasting the unforgiving sea, standing at the ready to battle the incessant arctic wind and storms. It wasn’t planet Hoth, but it definitely felt like another world. In our down time, Seth and I would walk around the village and imagine what it would feel like to live in this unique and isolated place. We saw happy villagers going about their day, kids jumping on trampolines in the backyard, while we marveled at the incredible views in all directions. It was spring time, so piles of snow from the countless winter storms were slowly melting away, revealing all that had been buried in the past months, including the occasional rotting seal (given to the sled dogs for food), broken toys and tools, and of course like most mountain towns, months and months worth of dog shit. Only here in Kulusuk there were more dogs than people.
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Photo: Rob Kingwill There is a mystical quality to the light near the Arctic Circle that makes views like this surreal, like you are standing in a waking dream.
We counted more than 100 sled dogs chained up at random places throughout town, all of them happy and friendly and begging to be played with. Every now and then the entire pack would take to howling, and it was hard not to sing along with them. With that many sled dogs, no one seemed to need any vehicles. The locals told us there were actually only two cars in the
entire village. One was the van for the hotel we were staying at, and the other was a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo driven by the â€œmayor,â€? an older, white bearded gentleman who seemed to love driving back and forth past us whenever we would go out. Legend is that he surrounded his house with huge 12-foot-tall 80s era satellite dishes recycled from the old U.S. base so he could watch porn from Denmark.
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Another legend we heard was about our local friend and sled dog guide Gideon, and how his daughter had been the first in the village to spot a polar bear wandering through their backyard. In Greenland it is quite an honor to spot a bear, and the hunters give the spotter a large share of the meat. As an added bonus, the villagers all congregated at Gideon’s house, laid out a ton of plastic tarps, and butchered up the bear right in his living room. Now that’s
community building at its best! All around the village impressive mountains rise 2,000 vertical feet straight out of the fjords that comprise the eastern coastline of Greenland. Their dark gneiss and granite walls reminded me of the Tetons, but with unreal green blue water fjords at their base dotted with huge icebergs. There must have been 10,000 perfect couloirs to ride, and Seth and I did our best to hit as many as we
Photo: Rob Kingwill The Greenlandic word to command sled dogs to run is “ YO!” Rob and Seth felt like they were filming a sled dog hip-hop video, with their guide Gideon yelling, “ YO YO YO YO!” the whole ride.
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Photo: Rob Kingwill Rob and Seth throw up some stoke to the heli as they prepare to ride yet another perfect corn snow couloir down to the Arctic Ocean.
could during the week we were there. I love snowboarding because it allows you to have experiences with new places you would never have in any other way. To actually be in those mountains, to feel their energy and create an intimate connection to a place by riding and interacting creatively with themâ€”it is something I canâ€™t get enough of. Using your snowboard as a vehicle to explore, open up new pathways in
your brain, and see the world in a different light is the true beauty of adventure and travel. One particular run that I will never forget is a couloir that towers above a pristine bay of emerald green water. The spring corn conditions allowed for both Seth and me to be on slope at the same time, and the cameraman gave us the go ahead to just rip the all the way to the water without
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stopping (instead of our usual stop-andgo program that is typical of snowboard filmmaking). We dropped in and rode the most perfect corn I have ever experienced as fast as we could go, arcing wall-to-wall turns down the 25-foot-wide, 40-degree slope for nearly 1,500 vertical feet. We arrived at the bottom breathless. The perfectly calm water, with icebergs drifting about, was reflecting all the glory of the
mountains and the sheer perfection of the run. At that moment we both felt true gratitude for a life spent standing sideways, and for it leading us to such a sacred placeâ€Ś way out there. rk Rob Kingwill is an OG Jackson Hole snowboarder, local entrepreneur and advocate for adventure. @robkingwill @avalon7
Photo: Mike Artz â€œ You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment (or method).â€? - Henry David Thoreau Rob gets lost in the moment on a natural feature high above Ammassalik fjord.
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Photo: Tristan Greszko
When returning to a place marked with death stirs appreciation for the living. WORDS: ELIZABETH KOU TRELAKOS P H O T O S : T R I S TA N G R E S Z K O & E L I Z A B E T H K O U T R E L A K O S
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“My emotional strength finally broke after witnessing a loved one transition to a shell of something that once lived.”
hey asked me to cross the lake, but I’m not sure they knew what that meant for me. The place felt a bit forsaken now, though at one point the expanse held a magical mysticism where every jaunt ended in joy. A couple years had passed since I’d been back to the lake in winter, having lost a close friend to an avalanche in 2012, then my boyfriend, Nick Gillespie, in 2013. Both incidents happened in the northern part of Grand Teton National Park across Jackson Lake, and the thought of returning felt like spending the night in a graveyard. “I don’t know how I’ll be,” I said. My friends reassured me that they were prepared for whatever the journey would hold. Over the years other people who didn’t know me closely reassured me, saying things like, “You’re tough. You’ll get over this and get back there again.” I never knew what to say to that. If I willed myself to be any tougher, I’d be a dried out
piece of beef jerky on the dashboard, and I don’t think anyone would find my presence desirable.
though the fear of failure—in all regards— pervaded my mind.
Stable snow and conservative lines also existed last time I crossed the lake, and someone died. But the experts told me the past was a freak accident, wrong place wrong time sort of deal. The notion only fueled my fear.
But you see, failing did not exist in a mission-oriented excursion. Getting to a predetermined destination, labeled by others to be a summit based on a measurement taken in the early 1900s, never meant anything to me. Failing, to me, means rifling through little blue Rubbermaid storage containers with loved ones, breaking passwords on computers to make a slideshow, and figuring out where car keys are hidden. I’ve gone through the process half a dozen times throughout my adulthood. And my emotional strength finally broke after witnessing an exuberant human and loved one transition to a shell of something that once lived.
Still, I told myself all the reasons that I should probably go. Ignoring fear doesn’t make it go away. And at one point long ago, I loved the exploration available through splitboarding, and the prospect of deciding where and how I could get from point A to point B. Part of me hoped that a slice of that free roaming ethos was still in me,
For a while I likened my existence to that of a tree who experienced a catastrophic event. I wore an open wound for all to see. Through the eyes of a most perceptive and patient observer, the bark slowly grew, each ring making the wound appear a little bit smaller. Years later, to the naked eye, the wound appeared fixed, gone, unperceivable.
After the loss of my boyfriend, the initial outpouring of friends and support dissipated because I wasn’t on the fun train. However, a couple stragglers believed I had some morsel of life left in me and kept me going, thus came their invitation to venture across the lake again in ideal conditions and while there was a stable snowpack.
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Photo: Elizabeth Koutrelakos
But for the lifespan of that tree the scar exists under its wooden casing, the same size and dimensions of when it occurred. Some people might wonder why I’d ever want to cross that lake again. My parents would certainly be happy if I hung up my ropes and boards and instead cross-country skied around the flatlands for the rest of my life. Now please don’t be mistaken—by no means am I an aspiring alpinist of the great peaks of the world. I’m just someone that finds joy in experiencing the different tastes of human existence in the mountains,
regardless of the season.
The mountains perpetually hold some level of risk whenever and however one ventures into them. For me, being present with others in these stoic peaks offers more reward than any monetary item. The bonds that I’ve created with my mountain partners in one long day would take decades to create at a coffee shop or a bar. While my lifestyle tends to be a little reclusive by some people’s standards, the friends I’ve made in the mountains know that I enjoy brief periods of socialization, at least at high
I decided to cross the lake after two years of avoiding it. Side-by-side, with a couple of close friends, I skied across the frigid abyss and skinned up a ridge to soak in the glory of the sun. But returning to this place, I was reminded that the greatness we experience in the mountains can swiftly bring an insurmountable cloud of grief at any moment. My vision quickly blurred with emotion and as tears streamed down my face, the group decided it was time to go home.
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Photo: Elizabeth Koutrelakos
A quick ski down the ridge and after some swigs of hot tea and nibbles of pound cake, we found our way back across that long flat expanse of frozen. For the first time in my lake crossing recollection, a northwest wind blew. We positioned our jackets vertically and used them, quite successfully, to sail back to the comfort of our vehicles. Thereâ€™s no fix to a landslide of grief, but death is one permanent thing that allows for deep, unyielding growth for the living.
My situation is not unique to the human story. Death is inevitable and as life progresses many people will be crippled by its stranglehold. Some choose to live in fear, others push it into the recesses of their mind, and some decide that itâ€™s time to look at it. There exists no right or wrong in this process. People used to tell me that I needed to live on, carrying the memory of a love lost, and maybe that memory was all that I had going for me at the time.
While gliding back across the lake, I felt grateful for the two people that were by my side and I made a little note in the recesses of my mind to appreciate those moments of gratitude for life, for the now.
Elizabeth Koutrelakos passes time working on the trail crew in Grand Teton National Park, gathering snacks and existing in the mountains. @ekoutrelakos
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wy wand er WyPy captures Wyoming grit, honesty and simplicity with Close to Home. WORDS: JOHN MIKESKA P H O T O S : WA D E D U N S TA N & D A V I D C L E E L A N D
Issue Number Twelve
he Latin prefix “en” means to be “in or within.” Hence “enliven” means to be “within the livening,” or to make alive in the present moment; and “enjoy”—to be within joy or to make joy alive in the present moment. For the WyPy crew, these words shape the tenets that guide their filmmaking. With WyPy’s (Wyoming Pythons)/ WRKSHRT’s first feature Close to Home, David Cleeland and Wade Dunstan created a film that serves as a call to arms for riders everywhere who have become disillusioned with the form-follows-function approach to heli-fueled snowboard productions. After all, our appreciation of epic, third party accomplishment can only go so far when the medium of expression is inaccessible to most viewers. Bringing into focus some of the lesserknown mom and pop ski resorts in Wyoming, Close to Home displays the inextricable combination of crew and setting that ultimately defines a rider’s most memorable moments. Although it features skilled pro riders who happen to hail from Jackson Hole, we see how approachable these guys really are. They never miss an opportunity to share their sense of passion and adventure with folks they encounter during their travels through the Cowboy State. Created by and for Wyomingites, the film’s message transcends any perceived boundary or state line, and enters the realm of empirical truth. It is a truth realized through personal experience, facilitated by an inspired collective, and relatable to all who aspire to enjoy the moment. “It’s blues music, it’s country, it’s punk rock,” noted Willie McMillon in the film. “Anybody can pick up a guitar and go do it. Anybody can hit up their friends and be like, ‘Let’s go just a couple hundred miles away.’ We don’t have to go overseas or
anything, but let’s just use our snowboards as an excuse to go see some shit and to go have an experience, and keep it simple. And that’s kinda like what this whole trip was about for me.” Close to Home’s mission was to explore Wyoming—what’s local. What the crew eventually found on their journey, however, was infinitely more than just new terrain to ride. Although Cleeland and Dunstan didn’t set out with a clear plan to capture the people of Wyoming, it happened organically. The folks in the film depict a homegrown story about living, loving and carving out a life unique to an internal compass. After meeting some locals at White Pine, the crew encounters Brendan, who talks to the guys about shredding at larger resorts, like Loveland, Colorado, and not enjoying them as much as his home mountain in Wyoming. And just like that, without even trying, the crew uncovered the film’s ethos through Brendan’s eyes.
The King & The Impending Journey While filming, the WyPy crew hardly missed an opportunity to engage the community and shred with locals. One of the more endearing scenes happens at Snow King when the gang shares a moment with a few young riders who also learned to shred at the Town Hill. Further up the mountain “Shane the tour guide” Rothman leads the group to a forest playground that compels Cleeland to exclaim: “It looks like Narnia!” Indeed, many of these guys who grew up in and around Jackson Hole are still discovering different ways to ride the King. In this spirit, they set the tone for the trip, experiencing a familiar setting in a novel way before setting out in search of “true
grit” Wyoming. The journey to discovering true grit included skating on a playground of halfpipes along the road at the iconic Devil’s Tower and in front of impromptu crowds at gas stations. “Driving around Wyoming is pretty damn boring,” said rider Mikey Marohn in the film. “But it’s pretty damn beautiful at the same time. There’s nothing around ... to me, that’s a good thing.”
Meadowlark After a healthy back flip throw down at Meadowlark, the crew encountered local motel owner Charles, who took them down a challenging slot canyon route. After informing them that he had to wait tables at his partner’s restaurant later that day, he shouted, “This is Meadowlark man! Wahoo!” with the sort of genuine exuberance you would hardly expect from a man with an impending table-waiting gig.
Hogadon Casper native/snowboard luminary, Mikey Marohn grew up riding Hogadon. Whether through his smooth, expressive riding or passionate exchanges at the bottom of the hill, Marohn motivates his contemporaries and inspires burgeoning riders with an unassuming yet supremely fluid style. Marohn recounted a time when a cop stopped him and a few buddies after riding down a closed road during a powder day at Hogadon. About the time the officer asked to confiscate their extra boards, Marohn’s mom showed up with a few strong words of her own. When asked if “Mamma Marohn laid down the law on the five-o,” he replied simply, “Dude, she whooped his ass.”
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Snowy Range A celebratory snowblock sesh and cliff drop at Hogadon gave way to a character rich segment at Snowy Range. Local rider, Davy “Sweet Tart” Wiltse had an impressive park run before he unwittingly summed up Close to Home’s mission statement when he concluded that, despite the misgivings of outside influence “You gotta love what you have.” At the bottom, Cleeland and Dunstan remembered seeing Murph “The Surf ” riding sideways down the mountain on an improvised surf-board made from plywood, recycled ski buckles and a snowboard bottom.
Targhee Perhaps the most profound emotionality of the film stems from the “wholesome and real” vibe in the sequence at Targhee that
moved from “heartstrings to sick segments,” according to Cleeland and Dunstan. The Alta, Wyoming, powder-house featured shred legend Bryan Iguchi’s son Mylo, who “killed it!” with stylish moves and “lay back hand-drags,” according to people’s champ, Marohn.
Back Home/Jackson Hole Mountain Resort After a ceremonial and symbolic credit-roll that signifies the transition from “true grit to true gape” Wyoming, the film highlights the closing week at JHMR with beers a plenty and a smartly edited park sequence. The unbridled joy that arises from profound appreciation begins in the present moment and manifests itself from the ground up. For the WyPy crew, the Wyoming ground on which they were raised seemed an obvious choice for their poignant production.
Trying to pull an experience out from the ether into the soul is a futile endeavor. Rather, the inspired journey originates within and manifests through individualized expression. To create, in the physical world, what was once represented in the soul is an act of re-creation, or recreation. Be it the forests of Snow King, the snowblock sesh at Hogadon, the “Sweet Tart and the private park” segment from Snowy Range, Mylo Iguchi’s infectious love for the mountain or his dad’s immense pride, the people and places of Close to Home remind us that to recreate in this way is to pursue excellence throughout the entirety of the journey.
John Mikeska is a poet, writer, enthusiast and aspirant. @yeonny_mack
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the payoff Finding the wherewithal to crush a daunting mission in the Tetons.
Randy Shacket prepares for his rebirth.
WORDS: RANDY SHACKET P H O T O S : R YA N H A LV E R S O N / F U L L R O O M P R O D U C T I O N S
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set my pack down and looked through the dense forest out at the liquid orange sunrise. At about 5 a.m. we stopped to rest. The air was warm and I was concerned our eight-mile bike ride and slog through wet punchy snow would all be a waste. As soon as the sun hit this already warm snowpack, the danger of wet slides and rock fall could have us on our way home before most people had even begun curing their hangovers. The group shared similar concerns, but because there were no imminent dangers, we marched on. In my mind the mission was over. I figured we would just keep hiking toward Mt. Woodring just to get the lay of the land for next time. Next thing I knew, however, we were putting on our crampons at the bottom of the south-facing slope that would lead us up to the prize: The Fallopian Tube. This 3,000-foot couloir is some of the most sustained north-facing vertical you can get in the entire Teton Range.
Making like an egg in the Fallopian Tube.
As we climbed, so did the sun. The snow was so warm and rotten in spots that even though it was thigh-deep, I punched to the ground with every step. As our nice little gully morphed into a steeper gully donning a huge face of warm hanging snow directly above us, I thought it was time to turn around. This is when I saw Andrew Wheeler Hildebrand turn into a Nepalese polar bear-Incredible Hulk type character. Every so often when we regrouped, I would turn to him and say, “Hmm, I don’t know.” But he would look back while still hiking and say, “We got this guys.” His level of comfort, and his intense motivation kept the whole group moving, even as we swam in deep wet snow the entire time. As we got higher the struggle continued. At one point I punched into the snow up to my chest; I had stepped into a hole where even though there was deep snow, it had separated from the cliff it had clung to all winter and left a hollow spot. Wheeler
refused to give up and kept moving ahead, his boot pack helped, but the snow was so rotten you’d punch through anyway. As we crested the ridge, Mt. Moran came into view from across the canyon. Above us was the summit of Mt. Woodring, and below a striking, aesthetic couloir surrounded by huge rock walls in beautiful, smooth powder conditions. The prized line had finally presented itself. In the mountains, a group of people must work together to achieve a mission for the day. That day, Wheeler grabbed our group by the balls and pretty much forced us to shred the line of a lifetime in incredible conditions. It was a moment that helped me reflect on multiple situations in my life where another person’s motivation and energy helped facilitate my ability to reach a new place. rs Randy Shacket is always armed with an iPod full of Wu Tang, a pack full of Cliff bars and a pocket full of safety supplies. @mountainrandy
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gopro failure THE BUMION PRESENTS:
Bro, if you didn’t get the footie, did it really happen?
WORDS: SAM MORSE P H OT O : RYA N D EE
ocial media clicks were forever lost Sunday when a “malfunctioning” GoPro failed to record a snowboarder’s powder turns on Teton Pass. Lacking the footage to make friends jealous and affirm prowess within his digital peer group, the rider was ultimately left to existentially question his self-worth as a human being. Recovering PTSD survivor and social media whore Breeze Adams, 31, had already descended more than 1,000 feet in “blower conditions” when—to his horror— he realized his GoPro was not turned on. According to friends and eyewitnesses, Adams immediately entered the five stages of grief, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression—and much, much later, acceptance. “At first, he just couldn’t believe it,” Adams’ riding partner, Sam Rooney, told The Bumion. “But once he realized the truth, shit got sloppy. After about 10 minutes of belligerently cursing the snow gods, he finally just broke down sobbing, and the
hate turned inward.” According to Rooney’s account, he spent well over two hours nursing Adams out of mental and emotional anguish, patting him on the back, wiping snot off his nose, and force-feeding his grieving bro shots of whisky. The anguished Adams was finally convinced to finish his run when Rooney promised to take out his DSLR and document the rest of the run. “That’s what friends are for,” Rooney noted. But Rooney also acknowledged he understands what his friend and riding partner was going through. “I’ve been there,” he admitted. “It’s like the old saying: ‘If you do something sick in the woods, but no one’s around to see, was it sick?’ I’m not so sure…” Catching up with the drunken and still grieving Adams at the Stagecoach later that evening, The Bumion sat down with the depressed snowboarder to discuss the non-
existent selfie footage, and how he planned to move forward. “I don’t know what the fuck to do now,” Adams said. “Those were some of the dopest turns of the season, and now I have absolutely no way to show people how sick I am. Without that footie, how are my friends, family and barely-known acquaintances supposed to know that my life is way better than theirs? What am I supposed to do, just enjoy the experience? That’s fucking bullshit!” The Bumion’s interview with Adams was abruptly cut short after he received a Snapchat of someone else snowboarding the same line he did, only later in the day, which then led Adams into a renewed bout of grief, sorrow and debilitating narcissistic woe. sm Sam Morse is a wordsmith/snowboarder who likes bad puns, good books and cooking tacos. @s.a.morse
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the beautiful Struggle
How one artist is raising awareness about the world’s most imperiled natural places.
“Mer de Glace” by Iuna Tinta
WORDS: ROBYN VINCENT A R T W O R K : I U N A T I N TA
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“When I was young, if you asked a Swiss, ‘What do you do for fun?’ they would never say skiing or snowboarding because that was always understood.”
s wildfires rage in the West and glaciers vanish across the world, the effects of climate change are unfolding on a global stage. The LA Times reported that in the Alaskan town of Kivalina—83 miles above the Arctic Circle—people are literally fighting to stay afloat as the sea swallows the island they call home. Rising temperatures and the dangerous impacts that avalanche from them, the newspaper explained, have robbed the island of its major source of protection: ice. But unlike the Alaskan villagers of Kivalina, many people who are not yet confronted with the immediate threats of losing their homes or livelihoods seem fatigued by cautionary climate tales. The scope of the problem is too vast, too confounding, some lament. Where pragmatic sciencebased messages about climate change fail at shifting behavior, however, art has the ability to step in and stir a visceral response. Swiss artist Corinne Weidmann grew up in a small village in the Alps, where life has always hinged on the gifts the mountains bestow. “When I was young, if you asked a Swiss, ‘What do you do for fun?’ they would never say skiing or snowboarding because that was always understood,” said the 33-year-old artist who is a part of the Asymbol roster. Wiedmann has watched with alarm as her beloved Alps—which are exhibiting
A deep appreciation for humanity’s inextricable link to nature compelled Weidmann to create “Emergency Exhibit,” a collection of wistful, chromatic images at the hands of her alter ego, Iuna Tinta.
Swiss artist Corinne Weidmann, who creates art under the moniker Iuna Tinta. Photo: Donovan Wyrsch
more pronounced effects of climate change than mountain ranges in other parts of the world—grapple with melting glaciers and shrinking winters. “Climate change is affecting the Alps from the composition of the permafrost that holds the rocks together, to the volume and quality of snow,” warns the European Environment Agency. “Glaciers are retreating and ice and snow bridges are disappearing. The art of guiding in the mountains is changing as traditional routes become unsafe. Some glaciers, that could be traversed five years ago, have changed. The ice is gone and the rock underneath is exposed.”
“I think her work explores the emotionality around climate change in a way that expresses a sort of sad beauty,” said Alex Hillinger, Asymbol’s co-owner. “Her portrait of a melting iceberg entitled ‘Global Warming’ gives its subject a personality and in doing so, seems to humanize the plight of climate change. Likewise, her portraits of glaciers express the delicateness of things we’ve long thought of as mighty forces of nature but now know are well within the reach of mankind’s ability to destroy.” An avid snowboarder, surfer and skater whose designs have colored Roxy and Unity snowboards to name a few, Weidmann draws inspiration from moments in nature riding snow and waves, and from her travels abroad. “She has an international perspective on the world,” Hillinger said. “She is not just a Swiss artist or even a European artist; some of her art is influenced by Native American and South American folklore and culture, for example, and I see a lot of Georgia O’Keeffe influence in her work.” Weidmann’s richly hued, hopeful images
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“The Grand” by Iuna Tinta
contrast the apocalyptic warnings that increasingly inundate national and global media. A thawing glacier in Antarctica, a bronzed Grand Teton and the softening Gorner Glacier in Switzerland—where, Weidmann says, people have begun covering glaciers with fleece blankets in summer months in an attempt to reduce melt—incite dialogue about the responsibility humans must assume in order
to protect these special places. “I think it is important that the message is not only about destruction,” Weidmann said from her London studio. “If you watch the news, you become depressed and that discourages people. It makes them think that it is too late.” After learning about Asymbol’s ethos,
rooted in adventure and outdoor exploration, Weidmann contacted the Jackson gallery founded by prosnowboarder Travis Rice and artist Mike Parillo in the hopes to become a part of its roster. Hillinger said it is potentially cumbersome to work with artists when they are based in far-flung places but that Weidmann is an exception. “When she first contacted us, we said we were interested
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“Gorner Glacier” by Iuna Tinta
but we didn’t know where this could go,” Hillinger said of the young artist who debuted on the Asymbol roster last spring in the “Wandering Eyes” show in Portland, Oregon. “The experience of working with her has been awesome, she has such a strong work ethic coupled with true artistic ability.” Hillinger hopes that bringing Weidmann’s
work to Jackson Hole, where the vitality of the human populace is deeply connected to the natural environment, will spark necessary discussion. “When art is done well it can raise issues and create dialogue around important topics better than anything else can,” he said. “As a Jackson-based company, we feel a special responsibility to raise issues that help us talk about things like climate change and
the natural environment, both of which are under constant pressure from human activity.” rv Robyn Vincent is a Jackson Hole journalist and the sleep-deprived, travel-obsessed editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. @TheNomadicHeart
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hole lot of gratitude When itâ€™s early January and the only place to be is Jackson Hole.
Bryan Iguchi and Blake Paul making soul turns somewhere in our backyard.
Issue Number Twelve -
W O R D S : B L A K E PA U L PHOT O: AARON D ODDS
ince I can remember, early season in Jackson Hole has always been the spot. Right around Christmas into New Years, snow cycles tend to pummel Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the surrounding mountain ranges. Massive snowfall quickly covers all those pre-season stumps, rocks, and other hazards, ski patrol starts pulling the rope on new runs, and soon everyone is riding the mountain full throttle. And when the storms clear, a nice cold window of high pressure normally sets in, beckoning us to get out in the backcountry. For the last four years I have found myself welcoming our next rotation around the sun with a 6 a.m. wake up call, negative temperatures and mountains coated with a fresh blanket of snow. This past winter was no different, I crewed up with Bryan Iguchi and Mark Carter and we headed out to some familiar zones to start shooting for the season. The crew spent the better part of January exploring the hills close to home, meeting up with a few other riders, filmers, and photographers along the way. We hit some classic jumps, some lines, pat downs, hips, and we even discovered an entirely new zone. The days spent in the backcountry met us with freezing cold temperatures, snowmobile exhaust, dry powder and bright sunshine. During the storms, we indulged in pow laps at the resort, dinners at Teton Thai, and beers at The Rose. It was a perfect way to start the season, just cruising around my hometown. I have been riding in Jackson Hole for 16 seasons; it will always hold a significant place in my heart. The mountains and people here have had a major influence on my snowboardingâ€”from riding with the snowboard team as a grom, to filming out in the backcountry with Guch and Carter. Having those guys show me the ropes is something Iâ€™ll always be thankful for. Every year I grasp a better understanding and appreciation for what we enjoy here in Jackson Hole. It will always keep me coming back.
Blake Paul is a traveler and board rider from Jackson Hole. @blakepaul
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