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NIGHTLIFE

Breweries for Foodies

CULTURE

Sense of Place

OUTDOORS

Ski Touring

BODY & SOUL

Core Strength

WINTER 2020

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Jackson Hole

Winter 2020

Page

58

66

Teton County Search & Rescue is one of the busiest and best mountain SAR teams in the country.

Twenty-five years ago, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Today, they are as much a success story as they are controversial.

Who You Gonna Call?

BY BRIGID MANDER

Silver Anniversary

80

58

BRADLY J. BONER

Sense of Place

Meet seven locals who show that the reasons for moving here are as diverse as the area’s wildlife. BY DINA MISHEV

BY MIKE KOSHMRL

PHOTO GALLERY

74

The Original //

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WADE MCKOY

ON THE COVER: Dubois, Wyoming-based photographer Jeff Vanuga has been documenting the wildlife and wildlands of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) since 1979. In the early/mid 2000s, while out snowshoeing, Vanuga captured this image of three wolves from the Washakie Pack. “It was one of those things that showed it pays to always have your camera ready,” he says. The Washakie Pack was the first to den outside Yellowstone following reintroduction, and has preyed upon livestock more than almost any other pack in the region. At the Diamond G Ranch alone, located outside Dubois, the pack killed two Great Pyrenees dogs, hundreds of cows and calves, six horses, and an 11-day old pony. 14

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


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Jackson Hole

Winter 2020

Best of JH 99 GETTING OUT Help! The Kids are Driving Me Crazy BY WHITNEY ROYSTER

100 Wonderland in Winter

22 TETONSCAPES Plow Fleet, Uphill All the Way, Natural Beauty, Glide On 30 PIQUED Some of our favorite winter stuff

Page

92

34 MEET THE LOCALS Q&A Brenden Cronin, Pam Phillips, and Ellie Snow Armstrong 40 ON THE JOB Unsung Heros The sidewalk plowers of Teton County Parks & Rec BY MAGGIE THEODORA

44 BUSINESS Ski Hard, Work Harder Owning a ski shop isn’t always sunshine and powder. BY LESLIE HITTMEIER

50 DESIGN Stuck in the Mud(room) Mudrooms are a big deal in Jackson Hole homes. BY SAMANTHA SIMMA

88 LOOKING BACK A Look (and Ski) Back in Time

Page

110

RYAN DORGAN

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

Grand Targhee turned 50 in 2019. BY JIM MAHAFFIE

92 OUTDOORS Valley to Valley Ski touring in the Snake River Range BY MIKE KOSHMRL

BY BRIGID MANDER

106 Skijoring Dog- and horse-aided skiing. BY JIM MAHAFFIE

110 Hiding in Plain Sight Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride on the National Elk Refuge. BY CODY COTTIER

116 BODY & SOUL More to the Core Core training is important. BY JULIE FUSTANIO KLING

120 NIGHTLIFE Beyond Budweiser and Beer Nuts Award-winning local brewpubs have food to match their beers. BY SCOTT EREN

126 DINING East Rising Jackson Hole’s Asian dining options go beyond the usual. BY SCOTT EREN

136 ART SCENE Mixing Business with Art Artist owned galleries add to Jackson Hole’s art scene. BY SAMANTHA SIMMA

144 AS THE HOLE DEEPENS BY TIM SANDLIN

146 JACKSON HOLE MAPPED 148 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

RYAN DORGAN

JH Living

Winter camping with wildlife


Greetings from the Editor I DIDN’T MOVE to Jackson for the community, but it is the reason I’ve now been here for 22 years. The first ever Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities, which is now one of the valley’s most popular and beloved events (and has raised more than $159 million for local nonprofits), was held one month after I arrived in town. Ask any local and they’ll tell you that Old Bill’s more than any other event is Jackson Hole. Since that early September morning in 1997 when locals came together to support our multitude of nonprofits in such a fun and engaging way, this community’s collective energy, achievements, and passions have inspired and amazed me. One of my goals with every issue of Jackson Hole magazine is to showcase the valley’s interesting people, places, and things. Not to brag or anything, but this issue pretty much nails it. There’s the feature article “Sense of Place” (p. 80), which shares the stories of why seven locals choose to make Jackson Hole their home. (Not everyone comes here for the skiing.) While the reasons these people ended up in Jackson are interesting, equally so is how they’ve become involved in the community since their arrival.

The Tetonscape about the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s (WYDOT) local fleet of plows (p. 22) and the On the Job department (p. 40) showcase Jackson Hole’s small town-ness, which we still are even if long-time locals complain about how crowded the valley is now. On the Job is about Cody Daigle, who is one member of the Teton County Parks & Rec maintenance crew responsible for keeping town’s sidewalks and pathways clear of snow. The WYDOT plow story mentions another Daigle, Bruce, who is Cody’s father and the Jackson maintenance supervisor for WYDOT. Taking a broader view of community, journalist Mike Koshmrl takes a look back 25 years to when 14 grey wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park (“Silver Anniversary,” p. 66), which affected the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, of which Jackson Hole is but a small part. The reintroduction of wolves was controversial then and is no less so today. Still, Koshmrl makes the point that biologically the reintroduction of the species, which had been absent in this area for about seven decades, is an unmitigated success. Wherever you stand on the issue of wolf reintroduction, thanks for spending time with this issue of Jackson Hole magazine. I hope you find reading it as interesting as I found editing it. —Dina Mishev @JACKSONHOLEMAG

@DINAMISHEV

PUB-JHM18-5

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


Jackson Hole

magazine

It’s About

ConneCtIons...

Winter 2020 // jacksonholemagazine.com

2020 is the 25th anniversary of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone: Have you seen one in the area? Where?

PUBLISHER

My first sighting was at the confluence of the Lewis and Snake Rivers back in 2005. Black wolf about 100 yards away. Incredible.

Kevin Olson ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Adam Meyer

Never seen a wolf in the wild, but have seen some unnervingly large prints in the snow while cross country skiing.

EDITOR

Dina Mishev ART DIRECTOR

Elise Mahaffie PHOTO EDITOR

Eight of them! Dining on a downed and still-kicking elk in the Lamar Valley.

I saw one at night and it ran across the highway just south of Moran in front of my car.

I once saw wolves while snowmobiling in the national forest. They were off in the distance, stalking elk on a feed ground. I’ve seen a few wolves on the (National) Elk Refuge.

Cody Cottier Scott Eren Julie Fustanio Kling Jim Mahaffie Whitney Royster Samantha Simma

All over the valley!

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

William Abranowicz Bradly J. Boner Aaron Kraft Josh Metten Rebecca Noble Jeff Vanuga

Yes, a few! I’ve handled

Lila Edythe immobilized wolves while tagging Leslie Hittmeier along with biologists, but that’s Mike Koshmrl cheating. I’ve seen them on foot Brigid Mander Tim Sandlin on Munger Mountain and the National Elk Refuge, Maggie Theodora

and from the road in northern Yellowstone.

Amber Baesler Ryan Dorgan I have seen wolves a Wade McKoy Teri Moy few times, even Angus M. Thuermer Jr. including a Kathryn Ziesig litter of adorable,

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Sarah Wilson Lydia Redzich Heather Haseltine Luis F. Ortiz Chelsea Robinson

(One) stepped into view on the gravel pathway section of Henry’s Road, stopped and looked at me standing 150 yards away.

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(I saw one) running through the trees alongside the JDR Parkway. One and only time.

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© 2020 Jackson Hole magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this production may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. No responsibility will be assumed for unsolicited editorial contributions. Manuscripts or other material to be returned must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope adequate to return the material. Jackson Hole magazine is published semiannually. Send subscription requests to: Jackson Hole magazine, P.O. Box 7445, Jackson, Wyoming 83002. (307) 732-5900. Email: dina@jhmagazine.com. Visit jacksonholemagazine.com.

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Contributors THE BEST STORIES ARE SHARED OVER

A BEER

Mike Koshmrl (“Silver Anniversary,” p. 66) is the Jackson Hole News&Guide’s environmental reporter and covers the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wildlife, wildlands, and the agencies that manage them. He’s a native of Minnesota, the only state in the Lower 48 where wolves, the subject of his feature story for this issue, were never eradicated. Koshmrl studied environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

Photographer Josh Metten (“Wonderland in Winter,” p. 100) grew up near Rocky Mountain National Park; he moved to Jackson Hole in 2010. His photography has been used by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the National Wildlife Federation. Metten is also a naturalist and works for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures. About Two Ocean Lake, which he shot for this issue, Metten says, “It’s a special, quiet, off-the-beaten-path place.”

JACKSON’S BREWPUB SINCE 1994 W W W. S N A K E R I V E R B R E W I N G .C O M

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

In 2012, Samantha Simma (“Stuck in the Mud(room),” p. 50) left the hills of Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming. Her writing has appeared in Dishing magazine, A Grand Wedding, and Range—Design + Living in Jackson Hole. Simma also writes articles about snowmobiling and hunting for DSG Outerwear. In 2019 she founded Corroborated Content, a digital content and social media management company.


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Living

TETONSCAPES

Plow Fleet

Meet the machinery that keeps the valley’s roads open (almost) all winter. BY MAGGIE THEODORA

THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT of Transportation (WYDOT) Jackson area isn’t the largest in the state, but it has the state’s busiest and snowiest roads. Led by Bruce Daigle, Jackson maintenance supervisor, the WYDOT-Jackson snow removal crew has up to 16 drivers. The crew is responsible for clearing 86 miles of roads and highways including “two of the worst canyons [in the state] and Teton Pass,” Daigle says. Here are the machines that allow them to do it.

RYAN DORGAN

JH

STERLING 4-YARD SNOWPLOW The smallest truck in WYDOT’s Jackson fleet is used only as backup when one of the larger snowplows is out of commission. Its blade is about 12 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall and the truck can carry about 8,000 pounds of sand. “It probably gets used about half a dozen times a winter,” Daigle says.

8-YARD SNOWPLOWS Nine 8-yard snowplows made by Freightliner or Mack Trucks are the heart of WYDOTJackson’s snow removal fleet. These 10-wheeled trucks date from 1999 to 2014; each weighs about 40,000 pounds, can carry about 12,000 pounds of sand, and has a steel blade with a ¾-inch carbide tip at the bottom of the plow. Plows range in height from two to six feet and the steel blades last only about one to two weeks each.

ROTARY PLOWS Each of WYDOT-Jackson’s two Kodiak rotary plows features a 600-horsepower John Deere engine. “They can eat up a bunch of snow really quick,” Daigle says. These are used on avalanche debris (most often in conjunction with a front loader) and when snow banks have gotten too high for the department’s 8-yard snowplows to pile snow on top of. The rotor on the front is six feet tall and more than eight feet wide and can throw snow up to 20 feet high.

FRONT LOADERS WYDOT-Jackson has three front loaders. One lives at the base of Teton Pass and two live at the WYDOT shop south of town. They are used to move avalanche debris, which can set up almost as hard as concrete; to load sand into plow trucks; and, in the spring, to dig holes in high snowbanks to catch rockfall before it reaches the highway.

CATERPILLAR GRADER “This probably gets used about eight times a year,” Daigle says. “It comes out when we get a real hard ice pack.” The grader has a 14-foot-wide blade with ice teeth on the bottom. The steel teeth create grooves in the hard ice to provide cars better traction. It is possible to go through two sets of teeth during one eight-hour shift. Daigle says he keeps about 80 sets of teeth in stock at the WYDOT shop. JH 22

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


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JH

Living

TETONSCAPES

Uphill All the Way Try skiing up instead of taking the lift at Snow King. BY LILA EDYTHE

RS ME

GRO O

Groomers work in two shifts that start as soon as the lifts close. “Give them lots of space,” Kyle says. “Especially if they’re on a winch.” As tempting as it might be to ski down directly behind one to get fresh tracks on the corduroy, please don’t.

PS AM

HEA DL

Headlamps are required when skinning/ skiing before and after the lifts close.

E OUT SR

SUMMER TRAIL

THE CA T

The Cats route starts from the base of the Rafferty Lift and climbs about 1,480 feet to the summit. It is about 1.3 miles long and joins the Summer Trail near the mid-station of the Rafferty Lift.

T

R

FFE

RA

E

ROUT

LIF

AIR

H TYC

CATS

E

UT

O SR

THE S UM M

T CA

IL TRA R E The

Summer Trail mostly follows the main summer hiking trail from the bottom of the Summit Lift. It climbs about 1,540 feet over 1.2 miles and is the most popular route to the top.

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

SUMM

ER TR

AIL


An uphill pass is required if you skin up Snow King between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ($75 annually; $15 day)

GS

FT IRLI CHA

E OUT KR C A

The Bootpack does not require specialized uphill skiing gear because you don’t skin up it, but hike up it. We do recommend using a backpack to carry your skis though. The route climbs about 1,580 feet over three-quarters of a mile and deposits you at the top of the Exhibition run.

THE B OO TP

SUM MIT

COUGAR TRIPLE CHAIR

LIFT

BOOTPACK

ROUTE

DO

Dogs are not allowed on the mountain when lifts are running. They are allowed—and don’t even have to be on a leash—when the lifts aren’t running. Because few things are as gross as skinning/skiing through dog poop, please use the free bags at the Mutt Mitt stations at the base to pick up your dog’s deposits.

SOME DAYS THERE might be more people skiing uphill at Snow King Resort than skiing downhill. Uphill skiing has been a thing in Europe for many years, and before chairlifts, it was how everyone everywhere got up the mountain. But chairlifts, trams, and gondolas came and most skiers took to them. Over the last decade though, skiers in North America looking for a new challenge and/or to increase their fitness have started uphill skiing, which is also called skinning. Skinning is essentially walking up a downhill slope on skis (and then skiing back down). “It’s better than going to the gym,” says Ted Kyle, who skins up the King at least once a week and is the manager of Snow King Mountain Sports in the resort’s base area. “You get your fitness on your lunch break or before or after work, and you do it outside.” Not all ski resorts allow uphill skiing, though. An annual survey produced for the National Ski Areas Association revealed that only about half of U.S. ski resorts allow the activity. Locally Snow King and Grand Targhee do; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort does not. It is easy to learn how to skin—if you can walk up stairs, you can learn to skin; with a few tips, an intermediate skier can be skinning in no time. But the activity does require specialized (and expensive) alpine touring gear. You need bindings that allow the heel to be free for going up and then lock down for the descent, and boots with a “walk” mode that has a much greater range of motion than alpine ski boots. Climbing skins keep skis from slipping while you ski uphill. Traditionally made from sealskin, modern climbing skins are most often made from nylon or mohair. These adhere to the bases of skis and their nap grips the snow in one direction and permits gliding in the other; they’re removed once you get to the top. Here’s what you need to know to try uphill skiing at Snow King, including the details of the three official routes you must use if you go while the lifts are open. (snowkingmountain.com/activities/uphill-travel/) For rental gear to give uphill skiing a try, visit Skinny Skis ($30/half-day; $40/day, 65 W. Deloney Ave., 307/733-6094, skinnyskis.com) or Teton Mountaineering (From $45/day, 170 N. Cache St., 307/733-3595, tetonmtn.com). The Stio Uphill Challenge is free to enter and allows you to track your vertical-foot gain and the number of laps over the season, and maybe win some Stio clothing. There are two challenge check-in stations at the base and three on the mountain. The base area check-ins are 1. near the Rafferty lift base and 2. by the blue ticket booth next to the Summit lift. The on-mountain checkin points are 1. at the pumphouse near the top of the Cougar lift and at the tops of the 2. Cats/Summer Trail and the 3. Bootpack. (snowkingmountain.com). JH WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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JH

Living

TETONSCAPES

Natural Beauty COURTESY PHOTO

Calendula Yes, our summer wildflowers are gorgeous; Jackson-based Alpyn Beauty uses them to make your skin gorgeous too.

Chamomile

Borage

Dandelion

Arnica 26

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

BY DINA MISHEV KENDRA KOLB BUTLER likens the chamomile, calendula, arnica, borage, and sage that grow in the mountains around Jackson Hole to athletes training at altitude. Even grown at sea level, these plants boast properties that can nourish skin, heal burns and bruises, boost skin cell strength, and protect skin from free radical damage. They are also antiinflammatory and anti-bacterial. But here, at more than 6,000 feet in elevation, “they’ve had to fight for their survival,” Butler says. “They found a way to adapt and flourish in high altitude with low humidity, little oxygen, intense sun, harsh wind, and heavy snowfall. They’re supercharged.” A 15-year veteran of the luxury skincare industry and the founder of Jackson Hole’s first beauty apothecary (she opened Alpyn Beauty Bar in 2016), Butler launched her skincare line using —Kendra Kolb Butler, Alpyn Beauty founder these supercharged plants in 2018. The heart of the line is the proprietary PlantGenius complex: a blend of arnica and chamomile foraged locally, along with borage, sage, and calendula hand-cultivated at a local organic farm. Today Alpyn Beauty includes five products—moisturizer, cleanser, serum, eye cream, and, new this November, a calming midnight mask with wild dandelions. “People think dandelions are bad, but it is such an amazing plant,” Butler says. “It is rich in vitamin K, which is detoxifying and anti-inflammatory.” The line is sold at Alpyn Beauty Bar in Wilson, and it is also available nationally. “If it is nourishing and calming for skin in Jackson Hole, where the elements and environment are so harsh, it is going to perform at rock star level at sea level,” Butler says. Goop, owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and Credo Beauty have carried the line since its founding. This fall, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bluemercury also started carrying it. JH

“If you can’t live here, maybe you can put some of Jackson Hole on your skin.”


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JH

Living

TETONSCAPES

Glide On BY CODY COTTIER

THE BASICS

THE SCENE

TOWN SQUARE Skate rentals are $10 ($5 with a local ID from Teton County, Wyoming). Have your own skates? It's free! And hot chocolate abounds.

This circle of ice in the center of downtown Jackson, surrounded by the world-famous elk-antler arches, feels like the center of the universe. Nearby streets bustle with bundled locals and tourists, and you may not have much elbow room on the ice either. But it's about as Jackson-y as it gets.

SNOW KING SPORTS AND EVENTS CENTER Entry is $8 for adults and $6 for kids; skate rentals are $5. Beginning skaters appreciate that the rink allows chairs on the ice: Hold onto the back of one and use it for balance as you learn how to glide.

Jackson Hole's only indoor ice skating rink hosts figures skating lessons and local hockey leagues.

LOWER SLIDE LAKE A backcountry skating experience: As soon as this lake, off the Gros Ventre Road east of the community of Kelly, freezes thick (usually sometime in December), there's no better place to lace up your skates. Wind keeps the lake snow-free much of the winter, but don't be surprised to find drifts in places.

The only amenities are those you bring with you. There is no warming hut, hot chocolate stand, or rental shack. There is a frozen body of water that feels like it is in the middle of nowhere; we guarantee you'll be sharing the ice with few other skaters (if any).

JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT The perfect place to cap a day of ripping up the resort—assuming that last Hoback run didn't leave your legs Jell-O-fied. Skate rentals are $12 ($6 with a Teton County, Wyoming ID).

Family, family, family. This ice is at the base of the ski resort among Teton Village's restaurants and shops, and next to a forest and castle made from sculpted ice and snow. Families love skating here. Strings of lights hang above the rink, and there’s a hot chocolate shack.

OWEN BIRCHER PARK This outdoor rink is among the few that are both free and maintained (by Teton County Parks and Recreation). You'll need your own skates.

This rink is doubly hidden: 1. It's in tiny Wilson and 2. It's off the main road in a park on Wilson Square Road. Lacking the hubbub of the more popular rinks, it offers a simpler, more rustic experience.

RODEO GROUNDS RINK Since there's no bulldogging or barrel racing in winter, Teton County Parks and Recreation maintains a rink in what is, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the local rodeo grounds. Like all Parks & Rec rinks, this one is free and does not offer skate rentals. B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Skates) 28

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

When the rodeo packs up for the season and snow fills its summer stomping grounds, the stadium transforms into a rink. Enjoy the view of Snow King Mountain looming to the south.


Jackson Hole—world-renowned skiing and… ice skating? Yes, the snow isn’t all this valley has to offer in the cold season. For those who need a rest day from our ski resorts, or just want to try something different, we’ve got a variety of ice skating opportunities: from indoor to outdoor, Zambonied to not, and from the vibrant bustle of the Town Square to the calm, serene solitude of Lower Slide Lake.

SPECIAL SAUCE

INSIDER SCOOP

At night you're in for an enchanting show. Christmas lights ring the fir trees around the rink, blue and red spotlights illuminate the ice, and a festive glow emanates from the neon sign of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar across the street.

There are almost as many restaurants and bars a snowball's throw from the rink as there are spins and jumps in an Olympic figure skating routine; make skating here a pre- or post-dinner adventure.

Defy Mother Nature by getting some skating in here even on snowy and/or subzero days, or early in the season: this rink opens in October, a couple of months before the valley's other rinks.

As the venue's name suggests, this rink isn't only for recreational skaters. If it's closed for public skating, it might be because there's a Jackson Hole Moose Hockey game happening. The semiprofessional Moose play full-check hockey in the Senior A division of the U.S.A. Hockey Association; home games are Friday and Saturday nights.

Hundreds of acres of skate-able ice, essentially all to yourself, in the middle of the Gros Ventre wilds. 'Nuff said.

With careful timing, just as the ice is freezing up thick enough to be safe, you can marvel at the surreal laser-beam sounds of skating on thin ice. Google it.

This might be the country's only ski-in/ski-out ice skating rink. You need not walk a step between it and the ski slopes.

Pair skating here with drinks at the Mangy Moose Restaurant and Saloon (in that order—if you shouldn't be behind the wheel, you shouldn't be gliding on sharp steel blades).

Plan ahead and schedule a private party. If you don't, you might arrive to find it booked by a different party to which you weren't invited.

Warm up after skating at the Stagecoach Bar, just down the road. Try for "Sunday Church," from 6 to 10 p.m. The Stagecoach Band has held Sunday services here for more than 50 years.

Ever wonder how the bronc and bull riders feel beneath the lights of the grandstand? Here's your chance to find out.

Two brewpubs—Snake River Brewing and StillWest—are within blocks of the rink. JH

WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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JH

PIQUED

Living

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1 / SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN “Loaded minimalism” sounds like slick marketing copy, except it really is the best way to describe the design philosophy of the Norwegian outdoor clothing brand Norrona. Take the tamok down750 jacket, which has every feature we want—a helmetcompatible hood, extra insulation in the shoulders, and burly construction—and nothing extra. $329, Available at Teton Village Sports (3285 Village Dr., Teton Village), norrona.com

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2 / ON THE MOVE We like the bombproof polycarbonate shell of Gregory’s Quadro Pro 22” carry-on luggage. We love the interior ActiveShield vaporand-odor-resistant compartment that keeps our stinky clothes separate from our clean stuff. Also awesome are the TSA-approved integrated combo lock, wide-grip handle, and super-maneuverable wheel system. $199.95, Available through Skinny Skis (65 W. Deloney Ave.), gregorypacks.com

3 / WARM DRINKS Because you can never have too much hot liquid when playing outside in the winter, Klean Kanteen’s TKWide thermos comes in a 32-ounce size and keeps contents hot for up to 22 hours. $39.95, Available at Skinny Skis (65 W. Deloney Ave.), kleankanteen.com

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4 / STAY WARM

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Outdoor Research’s Refuge Air Hooded Jacket stands out in the crowded “active insulation” category; it’s the only jacket we’ve found that we can actually wear all day without overheating! And its slim fit works well when we layer a shell on top of it. To keep our hands as happy as our core, on the coldest days we love how long the rechargeable batteries in OR’s Lucent Heated Sensor Mitts last (up to 8 hours when set on low!). $229 (Refuge Air jacket), $359 (Lucent Heated Mitts), Available at Snow King Mountain Sports (400 E. Snow King Ave.) and Teton Mountaineering (170 N. Cache St.), outdoorresearch.com

5 / A TREAT FOR SKIING FEET BootCBD’s greaseless CBD-enriched pre-ski spray increases circulation, decreases inflammation, and generally makes your feet more comfortable in your ski or snowboard boots. The after-ski spray uses CBD to help rejuvenate tired feet and lessen tenderness from shin bang. (FYI, unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive.) From $30, Available at Jackson Hole Sports (7720 Granite Loop Rd., Teton Village), BootCBD.com

6 / SEE MORE

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

We thought Smith’s I/O MAG was as good as a goggle could get. Then we met the new-this-year 4D MAG goggle, which has a proprietary lens shape that allows for a 25 percent increase in your field of view. The improvements Smith made in its interchangeable lens system are a bonus: one push of a lever on the side of the goggle quickly releases the lens and you can pop in a different one. $280, Available at Jackson Hole Sports (7720 Granite Loop Rd., Teton Village), smithoptics.com


JH

PIQUED

Living

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7 / HEAD TO TOE Local outdoor clothing brand Stio has outdone itself this season: We want one of every new jacket, pant, and baselayer. Thanks to Stio’s Raymer collection we’ve now (finally!) got a go-to ski jacket and pants that, thanks to their extreme comfort, performance, and breathability, work for whatever type of skiing we have planned in the mountains, whether at the resort or in the backcountry. Keep warm underneath with the brand’s new Fernos insulated knicker, a ¾-length baselayer that features Primaloft Gold Active insulation. $399 (Raymer jacket), $349 (Raymer pants), $199 (Fernos knicker), Available at Stio Mountain Studio (10 E. Broadway Ave.), stio.com

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8 / COWBOY WARMTH 8

Jackson-based Give’r has been keeping locals’ hands warm with its 100 percent waterproof leather gloves for some time now. New this winter are Frontier Mittens, which are made from premium cow leather and have reinforced fronts and a Hipora waterproof membrane. $118, Available at give-r.com

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9 / PUFFY STYLE When a woman wants to be as warm as she is stylish, go for Stio’s new wide-baffled Amalia down jacket. To keep you warm, it’s stuffed with 800-fill HyperDRY water resistant down. It gets style points for its offset front closure, cropped silhouette, and oversized collar. $299, Available at Stio Mountain Studio (10 E. Broadway Ave.), stio.com

10 / FULL FACE PROTECTION

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Because Jackson Hole might be one of the coldest places you ever ski, there’s Seirus’ Magnemask. It’s a balaclava done better: magnets hidden in the hinged headliner and the fleece-lined nose/cheek warmer ensure complete, and comfortable, full-face protection. From $39.99, Available at Caldera House (3275 Village Dr.), seirus.com

11 / EASY WINTER HYDRATION 10 11

Nathan’s VaporKrar (men’s) and VaporHowe (women’s) 12L Insulated Hydration Vests are made for ultrarunning, but we love them for Nordic skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing adventures because the insulated water reservoir actually works! $199, Available at Skinny Skis (65 W. Deloney Ave.), nathansports.com

12 / WARM WARRIOR The only thing more impressive than the breathability, warmth, and waterproof-ness of Black Diamond’s Boundary Line Insulated Jacket is its durability. We’ve tried and we cannot hurt this jacket. When you don’t need so much warmth and burliness, opt for the Approach Down Hoody, which is still plenty warm and weather resistant, but also packs into its hand pocket. $329 (Boundary Line), $299 (Approach Down Hoody), Available at Teton Mountaineering (170 N. Cache St.), blackdiamondequipment.com 32

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


JH

Living

LOCALS

Brenden Cronin BRENDEN CRONIN’S FIRST job in Jackson did not go well. After a three-month road trip around the West, he says, “I showed up in Jackson with no money, a broken-down truck, crashed on a friend’s couch, and got a job snowmaking at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR).” That was in 2006. Cronin lasted on the job only about a month, during which he totaled two official vehicles, one snowmobile, and one ATV. “I was kind of asked to leave,” he says. Despite no job—and no ski pass; that went away with the JHMR job— the Saugus, Massachusetts, native was undeterred, and he stuck around. Now 37, Cronin has a job that makes him an important part of the community. He is one of only two highway avalanche forecasters in the state for the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT); it’s his job to keep the roads over Teton Pass and through the Hoback and Snake River Canyons, all of which lie beneath serious avalanche terrain, safe for drivers throughout the winter. And no, he hasn’t dinged a WYDOT vehicle, despite sometimes having to step in and drive a snowplow or rotary after a full day of working his avalanche forecaster job. “Driving those plows is so stressful,” he says. 34

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QA

BRADLY J. BONER

Q: What did you do after your snowmaking career fizzled?

BC: The next three winters, I guided cat skiing on Togwotee Pass, until the lodge sold and they canned that program. I came back to snowmaking to show I could do that job properly, and they gave me a chance.

Q: Still, you ended up trying to transition into something else?

BC: I was on the snowmaking crew for six years, and then the rent-a-troller program [in which aspiring ski patrollers substitute for full-time patrollers]. I also started shadowing courses at the American Avalanche Institute. I was trying to teach


my girlfriend at the time about the backcountry. She said, “Cronin, you get so fired up when you talk about snow, you need to teach this!” She wanted me to get out of the snowmaker rut.

Your Guides to the Jackson Hole Lifestyle

Q: How did you finally get out of the snowmaking rut? BC: I got hired as a full time JHMR patroller.

Q: But that’s still not teaching.

BC: What inspired me to get into this [WYDOT] side of snow science was using my skills to help more people than just skiers—if you keep a road open, you’re helping people who don’t even know you’re helping. You keep a whole community safe and moving.

Q: That sounds like a lot of pressure?

BC: It’s intense. Teton Pass is the busiest stretch of highway in [Wyoming]. My workweek can be sixty to ninety hours.

Q: Do you ski on the pass yourself?

BC: I’d say I skied the pass eighty to a hundred days last season. Skiing [there], specifically Mt. Glory, is a huge part of my job. It gives us an intimate knowledge of what is going on in that particular snowpack.

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Q: Pass skiers and WYDOT seem to be at odds with one another: After a storm, skiers want fresh powder and WYDOT needs to keep the road open and safe for commuters and other drivers. How do you balance being part of both sides?

BC: I feel fortunate to be a liaison between skiers and WYDOT. I can convey to the ski community WYDOT’s point of view: avalanche control is not for skiers, but [for] the highway. I also go to a lot of meetings, and add my two cents as an avalanche professional and a skier to help people who aren’t skiers see that side.

Q: There are powerful Gazex systems on the pass to do avalanche control: do you get to set these off?

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BC: Yes, we set off the Gazex.

Q: How does the feeling of setting off a Gazex compare to skiing powder?

BC: It’s pretty cool, as we do it at 3:30 or so in the morning from [a] truck on the pass, and the highway is closed. But it’s not nearly as cool as skiing powder! —INTERVIEW BY BRIGID MANDER

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Pam Phillips Jazz pianist Pam Phillips’s career in musical theater started in 1977 with an audition in Chicago for Stephen Sondheim’s show Side by Side. Phillips, a Chicago native and a recent grad of the Cincinnati Conservatory, auditioned for Sondheim himself. She was hired within hours of her audition and played Side by Side by Sondheim at the Drury Lane Theatre until the show closed. Then she was hired to play A Chorus Line at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre. Next came Godspell at McCormick Place and then, with her late husband Keith, who was also a pianist, Evita. She played piano in the Nelson Riddle Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago; Ella Fitzgerald was the vocalist. “I got to accompany my favorite jazz singer!” Phillips says. In 1984 the Phillipses moved to New York City and, for 12 years, Pam played and conducted Broadway and off Broadway shows there. And then in 1996, the couple went in a totally different direction: West, to Jackson Hole. Phillips had worked at a bar here in the 1970s and says, “I always wanted to come back.” She and Keith arrived here with their then-five-year-old son Andy. “As long as we could play music and make a living, we figured we could stay,” she says. 36

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QA

KATHRYN ZIESIG

Q: Was there a point when you didn’t think you’d be able to stay? PP: In the beginning, it took three jobs each, but we were able to cobble together a living.

Q: What were the three jobs?

A: Both Keith and I taught piano, had church gigs, and played club and jazz gigs.

Q: Do you remember your first gig here? PP: In the beginning, Keith got called

for all the gigs and I got called to teach. We got here at the end of April and it was August before I got a playing gig. It was at The Wort—a jazz trio, with me singing and playing piano. There were


some ’60s and ’70s pop standards thrown into the mix.

Q: Do you have a favorite place to play here? PP: Spring Creek put a baby grand piano

into the Granary for us 20-some years ago and we’ve been playing there ever since. That is my baby. I love that gig. I can play anything I want and there are people who are regular summer visitors who come up year after year. It is a delight and blessing to have such a supportive, steady venue in which to play.

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Q: Do you think your students appreciated/ understood they had a teacher who had played/conducted Tony-winning musicals? PP: I tried to remind them as much as I

could! Seriously, piano study is all about practice. I would try and make it fun by giving them Broadway and pop music. I think they all knew I had worked professionally. I tried to emphasize the importance to keep practicing at it.

Q: Did you teach piano in NYC? PP: No. It was something we needed to do

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in Jackson to make ends meet. Also, it was important for inclusion in the community.

Q: You co-wrote a musical that celebrates Jackson Hole. How did you pick the subject matter? PP: Mary [Murfitt] and I wrote Petticoat

Rules together. I love the local history. In 1920, Jackson became the first town in the U.S. to have an all female town council. The plot involves the friendship between Rose Crabtree, one of the town council members, and Cissy Patterson, the flamboyant owner of the Washington Star newspaper and a big society woman from Washington D.C. who came to the Bar BC, a local dude ranch, to recover from her divorce from a Polish Count.

Q: Petticoat Rules first played in the early ’00s and was revived at the Center for the Arts in 2011. With the centennial of those women being elected coming up is a return performance on tap?? PP: There is a good chance it will be

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performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival in the summer of 2020.

—INTERVIEW BY LILA EDYTHE

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Living

LOCALS

Ellie Snow Armstrong THE FIRST TIME Ellie Snow Armstrong competed in a freeriding competition, she was 13 and her dad came along. Because Ellie’s dad is “Sick” Rick Armstrong, one of the pioneers of big mountain freeskiing, his presence at the comp was a huge deal. “The first several comps I did, I’d hear other skiers saying things like, ‘Oh my God, there’s Rick Armstrong,’” Ellie says. “At first they were intimidated by him.” By the end of her rookie season, though, it was Ellie who was the most intimidating Armstrong at the comps. Ellie, who is 17 this winter, was born in Jackson in the middle of one of the biggest snowstorms of the 2002–2003 season. She skied for the first time around the same time she took her first steps. By age two, she was skiing between her dad’s legs off the Apres Vous lift at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. She skied Corbet’s Couloir for the first time when she was seven. Armstrong was an alpine ski racer with the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club for nine years but says she “was ready for a change” when she turned 13. A friend suggested freeriding. Competing in the 12–14 age group, Armstrong won and, at the end of the season, placed third at the NorAm Championships. She hasn’t looked back since. “Ski racing is very competitive but freeriding is all about the fun,” she says. “Instead of trying to beat the person in front of you, the mountain is your canvas.” 38

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

QA

PHOTO CREDIT BRADLY J. BONER

Q: How would you describe your comp style?

EA: Hitting the biggest air. I’m always the girl who hits the guys’ line. There is always one really big feature that all the best guys try to hit, and I try to do that. I’m not as strong as they are, but I still like to prove that girls can do anything guys can.

Q: Do you have a favorite trick?

EA: I like backflips, but you’re not allowed to do them [in comps] until you’re 18.

Q: Does anything scare you?

EA: At the top of big lines, I am anxious and pumped up, but not scared. I don’t really have fear.


Q: What about outside of skiing?

EA: I don’t like oceans. I’ll go in, but it’s not my favorite; I’m terrified of sea life and I have a lot of medical history and I can’t get my ears wet.

Q: Have you hurt yourself since you’ve been competing in freeriding?

EA: I feel like injury is part of the sport. [Last season] I fractured my back—it was a compression fracture—and took six weeks off. After that, I went right back into competitions and felt something pop; then I was out for seven months. In this sport it is kind of what you sign up for. You have to expect the worst.

Q: Are you recovered now?

EA: I think I’m back to normal. [Last summer] I was out mountain biking and hitting everything.

Q: Ski racing is cut-and-dry: the racer with the fastest time wins. How is freeriding judged? EA: On control, fluidity, style, and energy.

Q: Was it difficult to transition to freeriding from racing? EA: Living in Jackson, with such good terrain, I’ve kind of been practicing it my entire life.

Q: Do you get to practice your run before it’s judged?

EA: We’ll inspect it once at most. Some comps don’t even allow that.

Q: So is your run in the competition all improv then?

EA: Never. I know exactly what my line will be when I start. If we can’t inspect it, I’ll look at it from the bottom and choose the features I want to hit and how I’ll connect them. Then, after I’ve visualized it, I’ll turn my back [to the mountain] and tell my dad or coach exactly what I’m going to do.

Q: And do you always end up doing what you have visualized? EA: I’ve never missed a line. There are times when my dad has told me to go around features though.

Q: Fave lines at the village?

EA: I really like Bird in the Hand, and the Hobacks of course. The Alta Chutes are always fun.

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—INTERVIEW BY LILA EDYTHE

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JH

Living

ON THE JOB

Parks and Rec employees Logan Henrickson and Cody Daigle work to clear snow and heavy ice from a stretch of pathway along Highway 22 between Jackson and Wilson.

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Unsung Heroes A dedicated Teton County Parks & Rec crew works to clear town’s sidewalks in the early hours of the morning.

RYAN DORGAN

BY MAGGIE THEODORA

“WE’RE NOT ONLY dealing with the snow falling onto the sidewalk from the sky, but also snow plowed onto sidewalks from roads and parking lots and contractors doing private driveways,” says Cody Daigle. “It gets interesting.” Daigle is one of 15 full-time staffers at Teton County Parks & Recreation responsible for plowing 25 miles of pathways and sidewalks in Jackson and maintaining three outdoor public ice rinks. “Most people are super appreciative,” he says. “I’ve been cheered on and people sometimes offer us coffee and cookies—but one of my co-workers, a supervisor, tells a story to the crew at the beginning of every winter: he had a property manager yell at him because he was plowing snow somewhere they didn’t want him to. The property manager threw a shovel at the back of the machine. It can get a little hairy.” And then there are the machines themselves, which can fall off the edge of a sidewalk and need towing out. Also, there are hard-packed wind drifts that can be several feet high to contend with, and downtown’s wooden sidewalks. The latter are as full of seams as they are of character. (Seams are every six inches.) “If you catch a seam, well, we’ve broken a lot of boardwalk,” Daigle says. There are also months like last February, when the Town of Jackson got 55 inches of snow, 41 inches more than the historic average, making it the second snowiest month on record. “It was four to six inches every day,” Daigle says. “It got to the point where we didn’t even have the time to be concerned about trying to keep the ice rinks open. Usually we do rinks once a day, but in February we only had time to do them once a week.” Still, Daigle, who grew up in the valley, loves his job. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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RYAN DORGAN

Daigle finishes his day of sidewalk and pathway plowing back at the Parks and Rec lot on Snow King Avenue.

“I live every five-year-old’s dream of playing with Tonka trucks for a living,” he says. “This job is like two seasonal jobs rolled into one. In the summer, the maintenance department has turf care, pathways, parks, and athletic fields to take care of. But in the wintertime we all conglomerate into one crew and work on snow removal, ice rinks, and grooming.” In winter the crew has a seven-day schedule and each member works five days a week. “We stagger our shifts so that there is coverage for each of the plow routes every day,” says Daigle, who, this past May, graduated with a Master of Science degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from a two-year, online program offered by Clemson University. “My emphasis was on community recreation and sports management,” he says. A TYPICAL WINTER day for Teton County Parks & Recreation’s maintenance department starts at 5 a.m., with everyone meeting at the Park Shop on West Snow King Avenue. Seven crew members are sidewalk plowers—each is responsible for a different route and that route is theirs for the winter. The rest of the crew, usually between three and six people, is dedicated to shoveling the entrances of government buildings and 42

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

clearing stairways on streets like Pearl Avenue and Center Street. Daigle started at Parks & Rec fulltime in 2015 and for his first three years he plowed the “safe routes to school” route. This includes about seven miles of pathways and sidewalks kids use to walk or bike to school. Last year he did that route three days a week and the other two days plowed out the START bus stops and surrounding sidewalks. In the summer his job title is senior maintenance technician for pathways. “I’m sweeping gravel and debris off the bike paths, mowing the shoulders, replacing signs, and trimming trees for cycling— anything to make a safe, connected bike route through the valley,” he says. It is because of the extensive knowledge his summer work gives him that pathways fall under Daigle’s winter purview. After checking the oil and other fluids in his Bobcat Toolcat, which Daigle describes as “like a side-by-side” with an articulated V-blade plow mounted on its front and a sander attached to the rear, he heads out at around 5:20 a.m., when it is still dark. “I’ll hop out and start plowing the sidewalks on Snow King [Avenue] and work my way to the schools,” he says. “[The safe-routes-to-schools] route, because kids use it to get to school, is a high

priority and we want to have things open by 8:00 or 8:30 a.m.” Daigle will do “one straight shot through to get everything up, and then, on my way back to the shop, I’ll try to widen the plowed path and clean up corners and intersections.” He’s usually back at the shop by 10 a.m. The second half of Daigle’s day depends on the weather. If it’s snowing, he will go back out with the Bobcat to hit high traffic areas. If it’s not snowing, “we’ll get a hold of the shovel crews and see who needs what kind of help on the ice rinks,” he says. In addition to clearing sidewalks and 25 miles of pathways, the Parks & Rec maintenance department is responsible for three public outdoor ice rinks: one at the rodeo grounds, one in Wilson, and one in Powderhorn Park. “The first concern is to get snow off the rinks,” Daigle says. Once the rinks are snow free, the crew members turn their attention to smoothing the ice, a task Daigle says was much more difficult before the department obtained Zamboni ice resurfacers. Pre-ice resurfacer, the crew used fire hoses hooked up to fire hydrants to fill in cracks in the ice and to build up layers. “You really had to pay attention to how much water you were throwing down,” Daigle says. “We still use fire hoses and hydrants, but


ripples are less of an issue now that we can get rid of them with the Zamboni.” However, don’t expect the type of Zamboni you’d see at a hockey game. “Ours are attachments that go on the back of a John Deere tractor,” Daigle says. THE WINTER SEASON for Daigle and the rest of the maintenance department crew starts before the snow flies. Every fall they inspect the curbs and intersections and walk every inch of the walkways they’ll be responsible for plowing on their routes. “We usually do our inspections at the same time we’re staking the edges of the sidewalk, so we know not to push too far into someone’s lawn,” Daigle says. “In between staking, we’re studying the sidewalks for broken curbs, raised concrete seams—anything that could be a hazard or cause discomfort in the machine. It is much different looking at a sidewalk in the daytime than at five in the morning when it is dark and the snow is blowing sideways. We mark as much as we can so we’re not surprised when we can’t see it.” In the fall there’s also an orientation session for new operators, of which Daigle says there are usually one or two. “We get all of the machines out and send them across the street to the rodeo grounds [parking lot], where they can run [the machines] with as few obstacles as possible,” he says. “They can get a feel for the controls and how quickly a machine accelerates. But it’s the sidewalks and not the machines that are the real challenge. After you run a machine three or four times, you have a feel for it, but it takes longer to learn the nuances of your route. Falling off the sidewalk is definitely an initiation process for the crew. You almost sit and wait for the new guy to call in—‘I fell off the curb and now I’m high centered.’ Depending on what route they’re on, you can almost guess exactly where they’re stuck.” Daigle’s biggest “oh sh&$ moment” happened last spring when he got the cat loader, the largest of the department’s snow removal machines, stuck. “I was going through scraping the South Park Loop pathway and the left-side tires fell off the edge of the pathway,” he says. “The ground had thawed and melted, and the machine almost rolled into a very nice gentleman’s driveway. It ended up being an easy tow out, but it was the sketchiest moment I’ve had in the job. “I’m fine with wildlife encounters—a moose has charged my machine—and seeing weird things like people passed out in snow banks and sleeping on benches. But I really don’t want to test out how [well] the rollover protection system on any machine works.” JH

IN ADDITION TO DAIGLE’S BOBCAT TOOLCAT, PARKS & REC HAS A CAT LOADER AND SEVERAL VENTRAC MACHINES. DAIGLE SAYS THE VENTRAC, USED ON DOWNTOWN’S WOODEN SIDEWALKS BECAUSE IT IS SUBSTANTIALLY LIGHTER IN WEIGHT THAN THE BOBCATS, HAS A TOP SPEED OF SIX MILES AN HOUR. “IT TAKES A SOLID 20 MINUTES JUST TO DRIVE FROM THE SHOP TO THE TOWN SQUARE,” HE SAYS.

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Living

BUSINESS

Ski Hard, Work Harder Owning a ski shop isn’t always sunshine and powder, but it’s still a pretty awesome job.

BY LESLIE HITTMEIER // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRADLY J. BONER

Larry Hartenstein started at JH Sports as the retail supervisor in 2000. He’s been the shop’s hardgoods buyer since 2002 and its general manager since 2011. “Life is too short to have a corporate job—and I get a ski break every day!” he says. 44

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

Chuck Schaap, seated, founded Teton Mountaineering in 1971 and recently sold the business to his long-time manager, Rex Hong, who has worked in that position at the shop since 1984.


IN 1965 BILL Ashley opened Teton Village Sports (TVS), the first ski shop in Teton Village. It was the first winter of lift-served skiing at what was then called Jackson Hole Ski Area at Teton Village. If you walked into TVS, you’d find Bogner stretch pants, Lange boots (the first-ever plastic, as opposed to leather, ski boots), and skis more than six feet long. Ashley and crew measured the right ski length for customers by having them stand up and straighten their arms above their heads. The right ski would stop at their wrist crease. “There was no grooming equipment or snow making equipment on the mountain in those years,” says Mike Wardell, who bought his first pair of plastic Lange boots from Ashley at TVS and became a part-owner of TVS from 1972 to 1987. “It would snow and you could still find powder two weeks later. From a ski business point of view, [we were] completely dependent on if it snowed or not. In those days in the month of January, there was nobody skiing except locals on the weekends. There’d be times where they’d hold a tram car for 30 to 45 minutes before they could get a dozen people to take to the top.” In downtown Jackson in the late 1960s, a self-described “dirtbag climber” named Chuck Schaap unexpectedly found himself at the helm of Powderhorn Mountaineering, which sold climbing and backcountry ski equipment and clothing. “I was hanging around a lot because I was a climber and the manager asked me to run the store while he went on vacation,” Schaap says. “He said he would be gone for two weeks. I didn’t see him until 40 years later, when he dropped in to say hello.” In 1971, the 29-year-old Schaap bought the business from the owner, John Horn, who wanted to pursue his outdoor clothing line, also named Powderhorn Mountaineering, rather than work in retail. As soon as Powderhorn Mountaineering (the store) was his, Schaap changed its name to Teton Mountaineering and began figuring out how to make a living from it. Back then, Jackson Hole was not the booming outdoor recreation mecca it is today—fewer than 5,000 people lived in Teton County, the federal government classified the valley as economically depressed for nine months of the year, a ski season at the resort in

Skinny Skis was founded as a seasonal Nordic shop in 1974. In 1977, Phil Leeds (left) became a co-owner, and the shop began staying open all year. Scott O’Brien (right) bought into the business in 2014. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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Teton Village saw around 75,000 skier days, and the backcountry ski industry was just a seed buried deep in the snowpack, even if locals were already making turns on Teton Pass (on wooden cross-country equipment and leather boots). “Starting out we probably just had one or two models of skis,” says Schaap, now 77 and, as of this past fall, no longer TM’s owner. Rex Hong, who has been an employee or manager at the store since 1981, bought the business from Schapp. Basically, Teton Mountaineering sold what was available at the time: floppy boots that Schaap says were comparable to bedroom slippers and narrow wooden skis made by Fischer and now-extinct brands like Bonna. The skis had no sidecut whatsoever; they were completely straight from one end to the other. Still, Teton Mountaineering survived. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. And skiing—at resorts and in the backcountry—has exploded. IN 2017–18, THE most recent full season for which data is available, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) reports that 24.3 million people participated in winter sports, including alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, alpine touring and split boarding, and snowshoeing. (The data SIA used came from the NPD Group, which collects and interprets data for more than 20 different industries.) Of these participants, 14.7 million were skiers and 7.1 million were snowboarders. As big as 24.3 million sounds, it is actually a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 2016–17 season. Still, SIA reports that in 2018 people spent more than $1 billion ($1,096,863,380, to be exact) on snow sports gear, apparel, and accessories.

Andy and Kichan Olpin opened Wilson Backcountry Sports in 1993 at the base of Teton Pass. At that time backcountry skiing was still in its infancy, but the Olpins saw the growth potential and took a leap of faith. 46

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

Despite the overall decrease in winter sports participation, the popularity of backcountry skiing and snowboarding is on the rise. In 2018 there were 703,000 backcountry skiers and 682,000 backcountry snowboarders aged 18 or older. Backcountry skiers spent $8,159,556 on gear specifically designed to allow them to ski terrain inaccessible by lifts (this figure does not include apparel). Skinny Skis, originally a Nordic skiing specialty shop, followed Powderhorn/Teton Mountaineering in downtown Jackson, and is another outlier of longevity. Skinny Skis opened in a 500-square-foot space on Deloney Avenue in 1974. Today it still claims that same space and has expanded into what were other retail spaces on either side of the original store. Unlike TVS in the Village and Teton Mountaineering, Skinny Skis wasn’t concerned with downhill or backcountry skiing. Its co-founder, Jeff Crabtree, was the Nordic ski team coach and realized there was no place to obtain good equipment in town. Crabtree convinced family friend Owen Anderson to help him open a shop dedicated to cross-country skiing equipment and clothing. From 1974 until 1977 Skinny Skis was only open seasonally, from October through March. Crabtree spent summers working at the Colter Bay Marina in Grand Teton National Park. Phil Leeds took Andersen’s place as one of Skinny Skis’ coowners in 1977 and remains so today. He remembers the early days well. “Ski-wise we probably had only two or three brands,” he says. “And we carried a few Norwegian ski sweaters and some wool knickers. That was about the extent of it.” (Leeds now co-owns the store with Scott O’Brien, who joined in 2014; the store has expanded beyond just Nordic gear.)


The community of Wilson is an obvious spot for a shop dedicated to backcountry skiing because of its location at the base of Teton Pass, the most popular backcountry skiing locale in the area. Wilson Backcountry Sports opened there in 1993. At that time backcountry skiing was still in its infancy, but Andy Olpin, who opened (and still owns) Wilson Backcountry Sports with his wife Kichan, saw the growth potential and took a leap of faith. “Even back then the parking lots on the pass were full on the weekends,” Olpin says. “The base of the pass is a great place to have a shop, especially for the locals who live here so they don’t deal with the traffic in [Jackson].” The Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) and Friends of Pathways estimates between 40,000 and 50,000 skiers and snowboarders skied or rode on Teton Pass last season, which ran from November 2018 to June 2019. On December 18, the busiest day of last season, 611 skiers and riders were tallied. Teton Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono, who is employed by the BridgerTeton National Forest to talk with recreationists about backcountry safety and responsible use on Teton Pass, says about 100,000 ski runs were made on the pass over the course of last winter.

it doesn’t sell it will never sell. In my early days, if you had a parka that didn’t sell, it would come back the next year in the same colors and sizes and you would just sell it then. Nowadays, if it’s six months out of date, it’s a piece of junk.” Hong, TM’s new owner (but manager since 1984), says “We are a clothing store these days. Seventy percent of our sales are clothing. [In 1984] it was the reverse—we even sold kayaks. The outdoor clothing market was just developing back then: Patagonia was a brand new company. The selection and amount of clothing available since then has exploded. And now it goes beyond climbers and skiers. You don’t need to be going to do anything extreme to have a warm jacket that stays dry.” The diversity of outdoor clothing is not the only big change in the last 45 years. Those edgeless, wooden skis that Teton

AS MUCH AS skiing, snowboarding, and ski touring have grown since the first ski shop opened in Jackson Hole, owning and running a ski shop here isn’t all face shots and fresh tracks, or even a guaranteed success. Present and future challenges include E-commerce, the rising cost of housing, the fact that so many locals here manage to get reduced professional pricing on gear (known as “proform”), the fine art of inventory selection, and climate change. When the Olpins opened Wilson Backcountry Sports, Internet shopping didn’t exist. Wilson Backcountry Sports has managed to persevere, but Wildernest Sports, Jackson Hole Sporting Goods, and Pepi Stiegler Sports are all ski shops that have come and gone, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) bought Teton Village Sports in 2014. The Olpins are happy when their shop breaks even. “Selling skis is hard,” Andy says. “Everybody [in Jackson] has hookups for proforms and many people assume you can get it cheaper online.” Skinny Skis and Teton Mountaineering carried nearly everything that was available in their niches when each opened. “Now, Patagonia has 20 colors and 45 different styles of the same pants,” Schaap says. Choosing and buying inventory can make or break a ski shop’s bottom line. “If you misjudge a color or size style and WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

47


SNOW KING opens as the first ski area in Wyoming.

Bill Jensen opens JACKSON SPORTING GOODS on the Town Square. It is a general sporting goods store and the only ski shop in town. In addition to skis, it sells Western wear, high end guns and ammunition, fishing gear, saddles, and knives.

19 39 1946

LATE

John Horn opens POWDERHORN MOUNTAINEERING in downtown Jackson in what was formerly the Crabtree Inn.

19 60s

Chuck Schaap buys Powderhorn and renames it TETON MOUNTAINEERING.

1971

Jeff Crabtree and Owen Anderson open Jackson’s first Nordic specialty shop, SKINNY SKIS.

1974

JACKSON HOLE SKI AND SPORTS opens on the

Town Square in the building that today houses the design boutique/studio Twenty-Two Home.

19 75

HOBACK SPORTS opens on Glenwood Street in the

1976

WILDERNEST SPORTS opens in the Village Center Inn.

1976/77

space now occupied by a Harley-Davidson store.

JACKSON SPORTING GOODS closes.

JH SPORTS opens in Teton Village.

Andy and Kichan Olpin open WILSON BACKCOUNTRY SPORTS, a backcountry skiing

1985

19 91 1993

1997

20 02 2004

several years in a location in West Jackson; GART Sports opens in the same space almost immediately. Gov Carrigan and Jim Leversee open PEPI STIEGLER SPORTS in Teton Village.

48

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

1996

Bridger Center, at the base of the new Bridger Gondola.

JH SPORTS’ major expansion adds additional rental space plus 3rd floor offices and conference space. The enterprise also acquires the HOLE IN THE WALL SNOWBOARD SHOP.

HOBACK SPORTS moves into a larger location in West Jackson, in what was formerly an Albertsons grocery store.

GART Sports becomes SPORTS AUTHORITY.

2006

20 10

A second, smaller PEPI STIEGLER SPORTS opens in Teton Village’s Alpenhof Lodge.

HEADWALL SPORTS, which sells new and used gear on consignment, opens.

2011

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) purchases TETON VILLAGE SPORTS.

2013

The Village Center is demolished and WILDERNEST SPORTS, which called the building home for 37 years, closes.

20 14

JHMR purchases HOBACK SPORTS.

2016 2018

and bike shop at the base of Teton Pass.

JACKSON HOLE SKI AND SPORTS closes after

JH SPORTS moves into the recently completed

20 19 2024

SPORTS AUTHORITY goes out of business.

The 25th anniversary of WILSON BACKCOUNTRY SPORTS’ founding. TETON MOUNTAINEERING celebrated its

50th anniversary.

In 2020, SKINNY SKIS’ 50th anniversary is just four years away.


Mountaineering and Skinny Skis carried, and the alpine skis that TVS sold, have evolved. Bases are wider, lengths shorter, and weights lighter. Skis are more shapely—hourglass-shaped skis debuted in the 1980s, and the ’90s saw the birth of twin-tip skis. Over that same time period telemark skiing, in which skiers’ heels are not clamped down and turns are initiated by a leg lunge, lowered the barrier to entry for backcountry skiing. (Because a telemark binding does not lock a skier’s heel to a ski, it allows backcountry skiers to ski uphill with the aid of climbing skins affixed to the bases of their skis.) In the late 1990s, alpine touring (AT) gear began to appear, although backcountry skiers generally still preferred telemark gear because the new AT equipment was so much heavier. By the mid-2000s though, AT gear had made huge advances that improved performance while shedding weight. Today you might still find some skiers who telemark, but the discipline has gone way downhill in terms of participation. IN 2000 LARRY Hartenstein started working as the retail supervisor at JH Sports, the newest of all ski shops in Teton Village (it opened in 1991 and moved into its present location in the Bridger Center in 1997). He’s been the ski shop’s hardgoods buyer since 2002 and its general manager since 2011. “When I first got here we had three lines of alpine skis; now we are up to eight lines,” he says. Hartenstein estimates that about 80 percent of people who ski or snowboard at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort come into JH Sports, located at the base of three JHMR lifts and adjacent to the ski-in/ski-out Four Seasons Resort. A large part of the reason JH Sports has been able to grow its selection of skis, as well as the rest of its inventory, is that JHMR’s number of skier days, a metric used to measure the number of skiers at a resort on a given day or season, has steadily increased. Last winter was the resort’s biggest ever in terms of skier days: 715,100. This was an almost 13 percent increase over the resort’s prior record for skier days, 634,500 during the 2017–18 season. For all the work and challenge it is owning and/or managing a ski shop, everyone interviewed for this story agreed that it’s worth it. The Olpins and Schaap say they have relationships and friendships with employees and within the Jackson Hole community they wouldn’t have without their businesses. “We have some employees who have been here 15 and 20 years, they are like our family now,” Andy says. “And we

have some customers who we have watched their kids grow up and go to college. We are just lucky that way.” Hartenstein, who started working in ski shops when he was in college and who skied 147 days last season, says, “Some of my dearest friends have come from working in a ski shop and in this very small industry that I am a part of. I truly enjoy the deep relationships I have built with guests from all over the world; providing them with the best service is paramount to my personal and commercial successes.” Still, as much as relationships mean to owners and managers of valley ski shops, consider Hartenstein’s final words on why his job is awesome: “Life is too short to have a corporate job—and I get a ski break every day!” JH

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JH

DESIGN

Living

Stuck WRJ DESIGN

In Jackson Hole, a mudroom

50

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


This mudroom designed by WRJ caters to active homeowners. Lockers are made of dark-stained oak and metal mesh. The latter allows damp clothing to dry.

JACKSON HOLE HAS five distinct seasons (or maybe six): We’ve got the same four seasons as most everywhere else, and then we get mud season, which lives up to its name and comes twice a year, once between winter and spring and again between fall and winter. And, regardless of the season, year-round there is the need for local homeowners to have easy access to boots, gear, jackets, hats, and other assorted outerwear. “Mudrooms are an important priority for everyone [in Jackson],” says Rush Jenkins, CEO and co-founder of Jacksonbased WRJ Interior Design. “They are often the most used area in a home.” As such, Jenkins adds, “mudrooms here must be functional, and should still be a really nice experience aesthetically, too.” Because of their importance and high usage, architect Tom Ward, of Ward + Blake Architects, says mudrooms in Jackson

and from the chaos of piles of coats, boots, shoes, and gear (and wet dogs). But as home design has transitioned to include more open spaces and distinct formal entryways, and as our culture has fallen under the thrall of organization and tidying—the surname of the author of The New York Times Bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo, has become a verb and Kondo herself has an hourlong show on Netflix—mudrooms have had to up their game. You must “impose some order over the chaos,” Ward says. Before you get to that though, you need to think of what purpose(s) you want your mudroom to serve. Consider weather, pets, children, and the type of gear you want to have handy. When Jenkins works with a client, he creates “an inventory of everything they have and what they’re going to use,” he says. “Most mudrooms are not going to contain every

in the Mud(room) might be the most intimate, and practical, space in the house. Hole homes are “oftentimes more reflective of the lifestyle of a client than any other space in a residence.” But this isn’t necessarily something you would know if you haven’t lived here through a mud season or two. Ward says newcomers to the area generally underestimate the size and importance of a mudroom. “They have not yet sampled the variety of recreational opportunities offered by the valley, and have not experienced the equipment demand made by them,” he says. And maybe they don’t yet understand that there’s a chance you’ll want your Gore-Tex or puffy jacket during any month of the year. IN THEIR EARLY days, mudrooms were more about function than form. They were hidden behind closed doors, shielding the rest of the home from incoming dirt and dust

BY SAMANTHA SIMMA

single thing that they have as gear. A lot of that is going to go in the garage, so the garage becomes an extension of the mudroom.” Ward says informed Jackson Hole clients look to their mudrooms to serve multiple functions, calling these mudroom 2.0s “hybrid spaces.” They could be a combined laundry room/mudroom or pantry/mudroom and/or include pet feeding and washing stations, a dog kennel, radiant floor heating, a floor drain, built-in gear dryer, and charging ports for electronics. A mudroom can even be a communication hub: Jenkins has installed chalkboards so parents and kids can leave messages for one another. ONCE YOU KNOW what you want your mudroom to be, it’s The Bar was theof second ranch in Jackson Hole, time to get into the BC specifics how dude it will be organized and founded by Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross.

WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

51


TOP: Brought alive by a striking red finish that matches elements elsewhere in the house, this mudroom is multi-purpose: it has a convenient spot to corral keys and wallets, easy-to-access storage, and deep bench drawers. The taller cabinets are for storing larger and/or out-of-season items.

KRAFTY PHOTOS

BOTTOM: This WRJ-designed mudroom is chic and functional: the pattern of the bleached white cowhide panels on the wall mirrors the sleek, porcelain tile floor; the Cristallo quartzite countertop is quick and easy to clean. See this and additional images of this home in WRJ Design’s book Natural Elegance published by Vendome.

WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

what it will look like. Ward and Jenkins are quick to point out that there is no “correct” way to do the former or the latter. “Some families have a place for everything and everything-in-its-place mentality for the stowage of stuff,” Ward says, while “others are much more casual—a place for a pile is good enough.” As far as a mudroom’s appearance goes, Jenkins says it should be a continuation of the home’s aesthetic, incorporating similar flooring and cabinet and countertop materials. The correct look for, and the way to organize, a mudroom is what works for your family and your home’s style. In a Snake River Sporting Club residence named the 2018 “Home of the Year” by Mountain Living magazine, WRJ covered a mudroom wall in cowhide panels. Installed on the wall were coat hooks and a floating bench made from walnut. “That experience is wonderful for that client because it’s a beautiful aesthetic,” Jenkins says. Also, from a practical side, “cowhides are highly resilient to dirt and everything else in between.” This mudroom features other materials as beautiful as they are durable. Countertops are quartzite, doors are walnut, and the floor is stone. “Quartzite is one of my favorite materials,” Jenkins says. “Quartz is another great material to use on countertops in mudrooms and in laundry rooms because it’s super durable, harder than granite, and [sells at] a really good price point.” (While their names sound similar, quartzite and quartz are different. Quartzite is a natural stone often mistaken for marble or granite that requires periodic sealing to prevent staining. Quartz is an “engineered stone” made of ground-up stone particles bound together by plastic resins. It requires almost no maintenance and can be made to look like almost any stone.) Kristen Carter and Diana Scholtens are designers at Bison 52

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

Custom Cabinetry, a local firm that has been designing and making cabinetry for mudrooms (and kitchens, garages, libraries, closets, bathrooms, and pretty much every other space in a house) for more than a decade. They know to consider the variable needs of homeowners and the look of the home their cabinets will go in. In a South Park home, Bison designed and fabricated shelves for the mudroom that allow the homeowners to showcase their extensive selection of western hats. Sometimes the shelving and cabinetry themselves are the showpiece: Carter says she’s done cabinets in almost any color and from a variety of different woods. Traditionally, cabinetry (doors) in Jackson Hole homes has been made from knotty alder, cherry or rustic cherry, walnut, hickory, maple, or white oak. But Carter has also done shelving and cabinet doors from bamboo, birdseye maple, lyptus, zebrawood, English sycamore, and vertical grain fir. “[We have] the ability to obtain virtually any wood unless it is a protected species,” Carter says. “Once you’ve chosen the wood species for your project, then the stain and finish elements can be selected. Beyond a wide variety of standard paint and stain colors, a custom match would enable a client to create cabinetry to match Grandma’s hutch or coordinate with a specific color in their upholstery. Finish elements include distressing and wearing techniques, as well as highlights and glazes, to create an aged look; dry brush painting techniques, which add color and texture to a painted finish; or wire brushing, which creates a rough, weathered surface.” The type of cabinetry found in mudrooms is often more diverse, in function and arrangement, than in other areas of a home. It’s not unusual for a mudroom to have closed closets and cabinets, open shelving, lockers, cubbies, and several benches or other seating options. One WRJ mudroom features dark stained oak lockers with fronts of metal mesh screen. The mesh screen keeps contents mostly hidden while allowing any items that are hung up damp a chance to dry. “A mudroom is the transition space between the chaotic world and your serene living space,” Carter says. “It should serve as a place to corral the clutter, store life’s gear, and promote organization for tomorrow’s activities. Whether it provides easy-toaccess hooks and cubbies or storage space hidden behind closed doors and drawers, the mudroom design should focus on function, but of course also work in concert to create the look and feel you’re dreaming of for the home.” JH


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Special Interest Feature

TETON SKYLINE – YOUR JACKSON HOLE SANCTUARY

Peak Properties THE FACTOR THAT makes the Jackson Hole real estate market so unusual is the relative scarcity of private land. Ninety-seven percent of Teton County, Wyoming, is publicly owned—either national park, national forest, or wildlife refuge. This computes to just 75,000 privately held acres in a county spanning 2.5 million acres. The guaranteed open spaces and unobstructed views these surrounding public lands afford make the remaining private land a real treasure. Add the abundance of recreational opportunities found in and around the valley, and the quality of life one can enjoy in Jackson Hole is simply unbeatable. Moreover, many of the properties featured here are secluded, scenic retreats located in the midst of prime wildlife habitat. Most existing and prospective property owners in Jackson Hole cherish this notion, and serve—or will serve—as stewards of nature. One cannot put a dollar value on waking to the Teton skyline, skiing home for lunch, or listening to a trout stream gurgling through the backyard. In Jackson Hole, “living with nature” is not a fleeting, vicarious experience a person has while watching TV. Here it’s a fact of life, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

ELEVATED RANCH IN TETONIA, IDAHO

0

square feet

0

bedrooms

This elevated 83.49 acre ranch on 4 parcels boasts some of Teton Valley’s richest soils and most predominant Teton Range views. The acreage includes groves of aspen and gentle rolling farm land with elevated, panoramic mountain views. With a bench overlooking the valley below and Badger Creek forming the ranch’s Southern boundary, this acreage offers several incredible, private home sites.

0

dollars

19-1589 MLS#

54

square feet

6

bedrooms

6

baths

6,595,000 dollars

19-1221 MLS#

2,152

square feet

3

bedrooms

baths

Teton Valley Realty Mark Rockefeller - 208-351-1411 mark@tetonvalleyrealty.com tetonvalleyrealty.com

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

At the end of the road on three acres with no rooftops or roads in sight, this easily accessible property is centrally located between Jackson and Teton Village in Skyline Ranch. Breathtaking 270-degree views with the Grand Teton front and center. Master suite, junior master, three guest bedrooms in the main house plus a guest apartment, caterer’s kitchen, theater, office, four fireplaces, terraced yard, decks/balconies, hot tub, and three garages. Sold furnished including artwork. TetonSkylineJH.com

The Clear Creek Group Phil Stevenson - (307) 690-3503 phils@tccgjh.com tccgre.com

CONTEMPORARY MASTERPIECE IN VICTOR, IDAHO

2.5

baths

834,900

8,636

799,000 dollars

19-2815 MLS#

Impeccable design meets extraordinary quality on one of Teton Valley’s finest parcels capturing views and wildlife in the serene natural habitat of Fox Springs near Victor, ID. For those seeking top quality without residing in a golf community, this residence combines quality materials with a functional layout. The amazing landscape is coupled with nearby ponds, groves of willow, streams and over 14 acres of open space overlooking the Palisade, Teton and Big Hole ranges.

Teton Valley Realty Tayson Rockefeller - 208-709-1333 tayson@tetonvalleyrealty.com tetonvalleyrealty.com


GRAND VIEW ESTATES

3.07 acres

bedrooms

baths

1,645,000 dollars

19-322 MLS#

Located in a small subdivision of newer luxury homes on par with some of the most exquisite homes in Jackson Hole. This Grand View Estates property must be walked to fully appreciate the protected views & water features. Boasting 2 large ponds, stone bridgeways, & bespoke landscaping, this lot includes infrastructure investments upwards of $250,000. The building envelope is situated to maximize the view corridors, which span from the Grand Tetons, the Sleeping Indian, & JH Mountain Resort.

Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates Budge Realty Group - (307) 413-1364 Budgerealestate.com budgerealtygroup@jhrea.com

RARE TETON VILLAGE OFFERING

10,500 square feet

7

bedrooms

8

Sublette Woods Estate is an exquisitely designed compound located at the base of the iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Unlike any other property at Teton Village, this European style residence boasts 10,500 square feet, consisting of seven luxurious bedrooms/suites, formal living and dining areas and cozy sitting rooms with wood burning fireplaces. This location and setting is truly without equal.

baths

UPON REQUEST dollars

19-2138 MLS#

GROS VENTRE NORTH SHOWPIECE

8,042

square feet

5

bedrooms

7

baths

7,800,000 dollars

18-2106 MLS#

Mountain modern style home designed by the awardwinning Carney Logan Burke Architects featuring log accents, exposed beams and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. Relax in the spacious and open living concept of this 5-bedroom home featuring game room & lounge area complete with 10-seat theater and ample outdoor spaces. Nestled into the hillside on a private 13.5 acre lot the home showcases the dramatic landscape of protected conservation lands with dramatic views of the Cathedral Group, Sleeping Indian and ranch lands below.

Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty Spackmans & Associates - 307-739-8156 spackmans@jhsir.com spackmansinjh.com

SADDLE BUTTE HEIGHTS

3,158

square feet

3

bedrooms

Exquisite architecture and jaw-dropping, 360 degree views define this modern home atop Saddle Butte Heights. Perfectly positioned on 6.38 acres, the contemporary exterior of the 3850 sq. ft. home is a stunning contrast to the warm interior which features three gracious bedroom suites and an inviting living/kitchen/dining layout.

3.5 baths

Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty Mercedes Huff - 307.690.9000 mercedes.huff@jhsir.com mercedeshuff.com

4,495,000 dollars

19-2138 MLS#

Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty Mercedes Huff - 307.690.9000 mercedes.huff@jhsir.com mercedeshuff.com WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

55


GRANITE RIDGE HOME

5,739

square feet

5

bedrooms

5.5

A premier Granite Ridge ski-in ski-out home located at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This home features a gourmet kitchen with a magnificent dining and great room and is exquisitely decorated. It offers excellent sun and views of the valley floor with expansive decks and landscaping. The master suite is on the main level with an additional 4 guest bedrooms upstairs, one with a kitchenette.

baths

7,950,000 dollars

19-1288 MLS#

square feet

2-4

bedrooms

3.5 baths

FROM 1.2M dollars

MLS#

56

2,940

square feet

3

bedrooms

3.5 baths

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Brokers of Jackson Hole Real Estate Doug Herrick - 307-413-8899 dherrick@jhrealestate.com bhhsjacksonhole.com

TOWNHOMES ON THE GREEN

2-3,000

SHOOTING STAR CABIN

The Preserve Club & Residences is a four-seasons sporting club and luxury residential community. Set within 3500 protected acres, The Preserve uniquely offers homeowners an incredible array of year-round activities and luxury amenities. Our Townhomes on the Green offer new luxury residences with 2000 – 3000 sf, 2 – 4 beds, up to 4.5 baths, elegant open floor plans, custom cabinetry, stone fireplaces, top-tier appliances, spa-like bathrooms, balconies and expansive front porches, garages and optional private in-home elevators. By appt.

The Preserve Club & Residences 87 Kingstown Road, Richmond, Rhode Island 401-539-4653 www.ThePreserveRI.com

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

5,750,000 dollars

19-1007 MLS#

Bordered by a beautiful stream and world-class golf course, Shooting Star Cabin 6 is the perfect property for those looking for privacy, yet just a stones throw away from all the amenities of the club house and Teton Village. Impeccably furnished with spectacular views of the Teton Range to the west and the Gros Ventres mountains to East, this is the perfect home for Buyers looking for a turn-key property that encompasses everything Jackson Hole has to offer.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Brokers of Jackson Hole Real Estate Jack Stout - 307-413-7118 jack@bhhsjacksonhole.com bhhsjacksonhole.com

SIGNATURE RESIDENCES

2,500

square feet

2-4

bedrooms

3.5 baths

FROM 1.3M dollars

MLS#

Introducing the Mayfly, a new custom home in the exclusive Preserve Club & Residences, New England’s finest 4-seasons sporting club and residential community set within 3,500 pristine acres providing homeowners an unparalleled array of world-class sporting and luxury amenities. The Mayfly features vaulted ceilings, stunning floor to ceiling stone fireplace, first floor master-suite, gourmet kitchen with oversized granite island, fireplaced studio with generous windows, and wraparound deck providing fresh water views. By appointment.

The Preserve Club & Residences 87 Kingstown Road, Richmond, Rhode Island 401-539-4653 www.ThePreserveRI.com


Y E A R S

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CALL? WHO YOU GONNA

TETON COUNTY SEARCH & RESCUE TEAM MEMBERS WOULD NEVER SAY THIS, BUT THEY’RE ONE OF THE BUSIEST AND BEST MOUNTAIN SAR TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY. BY BRIGID MANDER 58

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

BRADLY J. BONER

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I

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N THE LATE morning on May 29, 2019, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) received a 911 phone call. A skier had fallen off the back of Cody Peak, outside of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and sustained serious injuries. The dispatcher determined the call was 1. a backcountry accident and 2. within Teton County, so she immediately paged the eight-person advisory board of Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) and also Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr. At 10:47 a.m., the pagers of TCSAR chief advisor Cody Lockhart, medical advisor Dr. AJ Wheeler, logistics advisor Phil “Flip” Tucker, planning advisor Galen Parke, membership advisor KC Bess, training advisor Anthony Stevens, and TCSO SAR supervisor Jessica King all went off. Within minutes, the board members who were in town convened on a conference call to assess the next steps. Since there was a confirmed victim, and it was confirmed they were unable to self-rescue, the board decided to page out (via texts on cell phones) the rest of the all-volunteer team. The texts included the accident location and key details, and also alerted team members as to the radio and communications frequency that would be used for this rescue and identified the incident commander (IC): Jessica King. (The communications frequency changes based on the repeater location closest to each incident; the IC changes on each call-out so it’s not always the same small group of people in charge.) In less than 15 minutes, 18 TCSAR members were at the group’s headquarters, which includes a helicopter hangar. The 15,000-square-foot building, completed in 2010, is just off Highway 22 near the “Y” intersection. Rescuers came from their jobs, which are wide-ranging: non-profit employee, doctor, teacher, IT worker, contractor, financial advisor, lawyer, and firefighter, among others. King assigned volunteers to different roles. For this rescue she needed a short-haul team, a team to drive the TCSAR truck to a staging area as close to the accident as possible, and a team to stay at the hanger and monitor communications. And TCSAR wasn’t the only group responding to this rescue because the victim

had set out from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR Ski Patrol jurisdiction), hiked out of the resort into Teton County (TCSAR jurisdiction), and then had fallen in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP jurisdiction). This could make things complicated, but, because it’s not unusual for jurisdictions to overlap in this valley, TCSAR, JHMR Ski Patrol, and GTNP regularly train together so when situations like this rescue arise, they can work together seamlessly. About one hour after the page went out to the entire TCSAR team, one of volunteers in the helicopter spotted the victim. It was decided to use the chopper to evacuate the victim via short-haul rescue technique. By 2:35 p.m. the helicopter, with the victim safely secured in a litter suspended beneath it, was at the base area of JHMR. The litter was quickly unhooked and the victim loaded into a waiting ambulance headed to St. John’s Medical Center. And then SAR members went home, or back to work. TETON COUNTY’S SEARCH and rescue team, an all-volunteer force of highly skilled, communityminded people with special training, is the state’s busiest and most esteemed SAR team. Annually, it responds to between 70 and 100 incidents. The team is more than twice as busy as the state’s next busiest SAR team, which is usually neighboring Sublette County Search and Rescue. TCSAR is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responding to call-outs for missing, injured, and deceased hunters, hikers, climbers, skiers, rafters, snowmobilers, and bikers. If a backcountry user needs help, TCSAR is it. The team has even located planes crashed in the backcountry and cars that have driven off Teton Pass. The State of Wyoming charges the sheriff ’s office in each of its 23 counties with providing search and rescue services. Funding comes from county tax coffers, as well as from the Wyoming Search and Rescue Council, which allocates money from sources like hunting, fishing, boating, and snowmobile licenses. (Purchasers can opt to donate $2 to the state SAR fund.) TCSAR’s annual budget is about $1 million, more than half of which comes from the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation, a non-profit founded in 2006 to support the team.

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(SOME) OF THE GEAR

CSAR has a 15,000-square-foot home base in west jackson. Here the team has classrooms, meeting space, lockers, a helicopter hangar, and a garage for its trucks, boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs.

Much stronger than an individual avalanche beacon, Girsberger Elektronik’s Helicopter Antenna System (HAS) 457-2 has a 90-meter range at its highest sensitivity, and has been successfully used to find buried avalanche victims. It allows the team to pick up signals from the personal beacons of victims buried in an avalanche and to search wide swaths of ground from the safety of a helicopter.

Polaris Magnum 500s and Polaris Sportsman X2 570s make up TCSAR’s ATV fleet of four. The team also recently purchased a four-seat Polaris RZR. All of these off-road vehicles are used for summer and other non-snow backcountry rescues. 60

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RYAN DORGAN

TCSAR has two Ford F-550 trucks, each equipped with a custom topper designed to accommodate rescue gear and medical equipment. Each truck cost about $38,000, and the custom toppers, which include built-in computers, screens, and electronics, were about $85,000 each.

TCSAR has ten top-of-the-line, Polaris and Ski-Doo 800cc and 850cc engine, long-track snowmobiles. These are high-powered and nimble, and allow rescuers to access just about anywhere a member of the public could get in trouble on skis or on a snowmobile. TCSAR has hired Alpine, Wyoming-based professional snowmobiler and instructor Dan Adams to bring his Next Level Riding Clinics to Jackson for team members.

RYAN DORGAN

A swiftwater jet boat uses a jet motor rather than a propeller motor. These work well in smaller rivers because they are able to operate in much shallower water than prop motors. Jet boats can get up ‘on plane’ across the surface of the water, which allows for fast and efficient travel, and they are highly maneuverable. Two catarafts assist TCSAR on shallower rivers like the Hoback, or on braided sections and channels of other rivers, but don’t have the power to go against the current (i.e. upstream). One of the team’s catarafts is a Polaris Spirit Inflatable; the other is a Wooldridge Alaskan XL. 

REBECCA NOBLE

RYAN DORGAN

One of the most crucial pieces of equipment, an Airbus AS350B3 (aka A-Star B3), is leased for between seven and eight months annually. This model is known for its maneuverability. It is crucial for the team to have a helicopter on hand for winter rescues to extract injured people as quickly as possible from dangerous and/or hard-to-access mountain areas and situations. The B3 is new for TCSAR this winter; for the prior 10 years, it used a Bell 407 piloted by Nicole Ludwig. Steve Wilson pilots the B3 and, like Ludwig, is among the few pilots with the skill set TCSAR requires: shorthaul and long lining, and flying in mountains and in extreme winter weather.

The Lifeseeker airborne system functions as a portable cell tower, giving people who are lost or injured in areas where there isn’t standard cell service (which is most mountainous areas around the valley), a signal they can use to call 911 and communicate with rescuers. TCSAR is the first organization in North America to use this technology. An anonymous donor gifted the team about $100,000 specifically so it could purchase the system.


+

RYAN DORGAN

COLE BUCKHART

BRADLY J. BONER

TCSAR PROFILES

Chris Leigh

Cody Lockhart

Jenn sparks

PARIS-BORN, CONNECTICUT-raised Chris Leigh found his way to Jackson in the late 1970s. When offered a job in a local ski shop, he embraced post-collegiate ski bumming. “Those were the days of 100-day ski seasons,” he says. In the mid-eighties, Leigh left the valley to attend law school, and returned to Jackson in 1988 with a law degree. Around 2009, by which time Leigh was as accomplished of a mountain athlete as he was an attorney (he had founded his own criminal defense firm), a friend suggested he’d be a good fit for TCSAR. “I applied, I made it, and I’m humbled I made it,” says Leigh, now in his early sixties. “The selection process is not easy. It’s an incredibly tight team, with a lot of internal and external community support.” The commitment is significant, and family support is integral, he says, noting he could not be on TCSAR without his wife Mari Auman’s full support. After more than four decades in Jackson Hole, skiing is still Leigh’s main connection to the outdoors and a family activity. “Being athletic and having an outdoor mind is a component, but with SAR, it’s not about you. It’s about the team, and we are all a cog in the wheel.”

A TYPICAL OUTDOORSY Jackson kid from a ranching family, Cody Lockhart, 36, applied to TCSAR in 2009. “I had a friend on SAR who was always telling stories about helping people in the mountains,” he says. “It was inspiring, and I thought my skill sets could be useful to the team.” Lockhart made the cut and today is TCSAR’s chief advisor and responsible for overseeing the team and advisory board in partnership with the SAR supervisor (currently Jessica King). Lockhart’s day job is at Wind River Capital Management, a financial services firm he founded. He says it is tough to balance the commitment SAR requires with this job and a full home life with his wife Shauna and their two young children. “I definitely have phone anxiety,” Lockhart says. “I don’t go anywhere without it, in case a call comes up.” But the rewards dwarf any downside: “SAR has become like my second family, and social group. It’s a big honor and big commitment, but you just do it, you make it balance.” Lockhart is proud and grateful that the team has the funding and the training resources to constantly improve and provide better rescue services to people in Teton County. “We have so much knowledge and experience to solve these problems, and help people [who are] having the worst day of their lives. And our efforts have saved lives. To look a person in the eyes after we’ve helped them, nothing can compare to that.”

A SKIER ORIGINALLY from Vermont who turned Jackson local in 1989, Jenn Sparks came from a family that highly valued community service. In 1998, when she wanted to give back, she looked to SAR. Twenty years later, the evolution has been enormous. “It’s so different now. When I joined we had to buy our own gear. It was a plus if we even got gas money!” she says. Today’s training and the gear at the team’s disposal are thanks to increasing support and appreciation from the community, and it puts their work on a new level, Sparks says. Now, with a day job in finance, a husband, and a teenage daughter, she also counts on her family’s support so she can continue to contribute to the team. The biggest lesson Sparks has taken from her 21 years of helping others, is that SAR is a selfless but enriching responsibility that provides an outlook that could be applied to all aspects of life. “Our job is [to] go out and help and not judge anyone’s decisions,” she says. “We prepare for everything, and it always takes longer than you think.”

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+ RESCUED

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N MARCH OF 2018, Bart Monson, an experienced local snowboarder and mountain athlete, was ascending Mt. Taylor, a 10,352-foot-tall peak on the west side of Teton Pass, with three partners. The group had already skied a pitch of boot-deep powder on the mountain’s west face. To continue their descent, they decided to traverse to a more southerly aspect. Monson, 48, was the first to traverse, and, as he crossed a gully, he triggered an avalanche and was caught. In a couple of seconds the slide carried him about 100 feet downslope. The avalanche smashed him into a tree and Monson made a grab for it. He caught it, which saved him from being carried farther down the mountainside. “The impact with the tree was a horrible moment, but then I realized I wasn’t buried and it wasn’t the worst thing,” Monson says. But he knew his leg was broken (he later learned he’d broken his tibial plateau). One friend carefully navigated over to him and assessed his injury. Self-rescue was discussed, but it would have taken many hours to descend the rest of the peak, and the snow was increasing in instability. Also, Monson was in excruciating pain, which made any movement difficult. “We were lucky we had a [cell] signal. Being able to get SAR on the line is the best thing ever,” he says. Because of Monson’s precarious location, TCSAR chose to shorthaul him. “I had the most scenic, sub-zero, 90-second heli ride ever; the efficiency and seamless work of the team was incredible,” he says. “I [was] lucky the weather was good and that we have rescuers willing to put it on the line to come get people. But SAR and rescue don’t exist by chance; it’s not a right to get rescued, it’s a privilege. Since that day, I’ve had the most incredible feeling of gratefulness that we don’t always have in life.”

Teton County Search and Rescue forms. Prior to this, the sheriff’s office responded to calls about people missing and/or injured in the backcountry, but the number and complexity of rescues were growing beyond the office’s capacity, training, and scope.

1993

2000

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

GTNP GRANITE CANYON AVALANCHE

DATE: 2/5/2019 TIME: 11:48am DURATION: 4 hour 22 minutes ATTENDEES: 10 WHAT HAPPENED? GTNP requested the heli to rescue a person in Granite Canyon with a broken leg. Ski Patrol declined to rescue due to high avalanche danger. Inclement weather delayed heli departure for one hour. Patient was located and had to be short hauled with heli due to location. Person was transferred to a waiting EMS ambulance.

RESCUE

OVERDUE SNOWMOBILERS TOGWOTEE

DATE: 1/10/2019 TIME: 6:23pm DURATION: 0 hour 05 minutes ATTENDEES: 6 WHAT HAPPENED? SAR Board of advisors (BOA) received a page to call dispatch with reference to overdue snowmobilers. While on the call, dispatch informed BOA that the snowmobilers had been located.

To meet the increasing needs of the team for safety equipment and training, TCSAR Foundation forms.

2006

Because TCSAR does not yet have the funding to permanently lease a helicopter, part-time valley resident Harrison Ford had begun offering the team his personal helicopter to use on a rescue-by-rescue basis. This year, the celebrity himself is the co-pilot during the rescue of an ailing hiker in the Tetons and the incident receives widespread media attention. 62

RESCUE

2010

A helicopter accident on Togwotee Pass kills TCSAR member Ray Shriver and injures pilot Ken Johnson and team member Mike Moyer. The accident marks the first (and, to date, only) time a team member is killed during a rescue call.

2012

After decades of being based out of the sheriff’s office and a county storage facility south of town, the team gets it own headquarters and operations base, a 15,000-square-foot building just west of town on Highway 22. Within the building are classrooms and meeting spaces, lockers, a helicopter hangar, and a giant garage, among other features.

2018 TCSAR celebrates 25 years of service


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+ EDUCATION AND OUTREACH These aims are accomplished through working with the community (guides, teachers, mentors, retailers) to create program touchpoints, and through crafting and implementing events, educational opportunities and workshops, granting programs, and shareable multimedia.” TCSARF founded Backcountry Zero in 2015.

RYAN DORGAN

What’s In Your Pack are hands-on classes TCSARF conducts every summer and fall. The classes usually cost about $20 and explore seasonal preparedness and backcountry safety.

Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr and TCSAR supervisor Jess King work with Jackson Hole High School students on backcountry rescue techniques in Grand Teton National Park.

t

HE TCSAR FOUNDATION (TCSARF) runs several education and awareness programs to help people learn how to self-rescue and ways to stay out of trouble in the first place.

According to its website (backcountryzero.com), “Backcountry Zero is a Jackson Hole community vision to reduce injuries and fatalities in the Tetons. Backcountry Zero is a four-season, cross-sport, community-led program created by TCSARF to inspire, educate, collaborate, and foster leadership in order to develop and heighten awareness for safer practices in the backcountry. Backcountry Zero aims to cultivate a culture among user groups with a common language of principles that guide safer, enhanced decision-making and travel in the backcountry.

Annually in the fall TCSARF holds the Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop (WYSAW) and the Industry Professionals Workshop. The former is at the Center for the Arts and meant to be informational for snow enthusiasts from all backgrounds—backcountry skiers, snowboarders, Nordic skiers, and snowmobilers. Topics discussed include what it takes to stay safe in the backcountry, snowpack analysis, human behavior and decision-making, and risk versus reward, among other topics. JH

RESCUE

FREMONT COUNTY MISSING PLANE

DATE: 5/24/2019 TIME: 7:45am DURATION: 7 hours 15 minutes ATTENDEES: 15 WHAT HAPPENED? TCSAR BOA received a request for heli assistance from Fremont/Dubois SAR for a downed aircraft near Dunoir Valley. A heli team was sent to assist with an aerial search. Eventually the pilot and plane were found safe and the mission was stood down.

On many calls TCSAR responds to, rescuers put themselves at risk to help others in dangerous situations. On February 15, 2012, when responding to a snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass, the TCSAR helicopter went down in high winds. The crash fatally injured team member Ray Shriver, who his peers say was a selfless teammate, mentor, and gifted search-dog handler. Shriver was one of the team’s founding members. The Shriver Society was founded in his honor and is open to any person who commits to an annual gift of $25 or more to the TCSAR Foundation for a minimum of three years. tetoncountysar.org/shriversociety 64

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020


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10

YEARS HELICOPTER PILOT NICOLE LUDWIG FLEW FOR TCSAR

35-40

Average number of volunteers on team. This is smaller than many other SAR teams with a similar number of annual call-outs, but the limited crew creates a tight knit team with a high commitment level to trainings, skills improvement, and response rate to call-outs.

five to ten

THE NUMBER OF PROBATIONARY RECRUITS CHOSEN (AFTER AN EXTENSIVE INTERVIEW PROCESS) FROM THE POOL OF APPLICANTS. NEW TCSAR RECRUITS HAVE A ONE-YEAR PROBATIONARY PERIOD BEFORE BECOMING FULL TEAM MEMBERS.

70-100 270

AVERAGE YEARS A VOLUNTEER SPENDS ON THE TCSAR TEAM Annual average service hours a TCSAR volunteer donates

$3,000

Hourly cost of operating the team’s A-Star B3 helicopter.

SEVEN $400,000 Approximate months of the year TCSAR is able to fund having a helicopter and pilot on standby for rescues and training

4216

SQUARE MILEAGE COVERED BY TCSAR

FUNDING PROVIDED BY COUNTY TAXPAYERS, ALONG WITH STATE ALLOCATED FUNDS COLLECTED DURING SALE OF HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES

$600,000 Approximate amount of money donated annually to TCSAR and TCSARF by the local community

70-100

AVERAGE NUMBER OF APPLICANTS FOR A NEW CLASS OF RECRUITS

2

TIMES PER MONTH THE TCSAR SHORT HAUL RESCUE TEAM TRAINS SPECIFICALLY IN THAT TECHNIQUE

7,200

$

0

MOST EXPENSIVE RESCUE IN 2018

DOLLARS

Rescue cost to victim. TCSAR doesn’t charge for rescues. The thinking behind this is that, if someone who is lost or injured knows they will face a hefty rescue fee, they may not call for assistance.

$1,000,000 TWENTY APPROXIMATE ANNUAL BUDGET OF TCSAR

AVERAGE NUMBER OF RESCUES TCSAR PERFORMS ANNUALLY.

10 to15

Approximate percentage of TCSAR members who are women.

316

Total numbers of SAR rescue missions of all 23 Wyoming counties combined in 2018.

THREE

Number of team members that have been on TCSAR since its founding in 1993.

eighty-seven

$650

AVERAGE COST OF A RESCUE

RESCUE MISSIONS PERFORMED IN TETON COUNTY IN 2018. (THE SAME YEAR, THE SAR TEAMS IN NEIGHBORING COUNTIES LINCOLN AND SUBLETTE HAD, RESPECTIVELY, 39 AND 37 CALL-OUTS, WHICH MADE THEM THE STATE’S SECOND AND THIRD BUSIEST SAR TEAMS.)

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JACOB W. FRANK / NPS

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2

silver A N N I V E R SA RY

BY MIKE KOSHMRL

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO,

WOLVES WERE REINTRODUCED

TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. TODAY, GRAY WOLVES IN

THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE ECOSYSTEM ARE A WILDLIFE SUCCESS STORY,

BUT NO LESS OF A LIGHTNING ROD THAN THEY WERE IN 1995.

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JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

EERING DOWN FROM

a hill with a small group of reporters, Angus M. Thuermer Jr., then editor of the Jackson Hole News, caught his first glimpse of an extirpated native canine back on its home range in Yellowstone National Park. It was the second week of January a quarter century ago, when a fleeting silhouette loping through the woods caught the then 40-something newsman’s eye. “Wolf,” Thuermer writes of his first glimpse of Canis lupus in a front-page News story. “It is the floating nature of the gait, the size of the head, the erect ears and thick fur that make this animal distinct. Purposeful and relentless in its stride, it glides in and out of the trees as it cruises the perimeter of its one-acre pen at Crystal Creek.” The wolf he glimpsed was one of 14 that ran in three packs trapped in the Canadian wild outside of Hinton, Alberta, then tranquilized, collared, and transported south to Yellowstone. These 14 were the first wolves in the park in seven decades, except for a few itinerant animals that had sporadically passed through. In 1996 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service repeated its reintroduction efforts. To make sure there’d be a wide and healthy mix of genes in Yellowstone’s new wolf population, the second group of imported wolves came from packs that roamed the area around Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Both of these groups, 31 wolves in total, lived for their first several months in Yellowstone in open-air acclimation pens. They were fed road-killed elk and other animals until biologists believed they were ready for their new Wyoming lives in the wild. With wolves back in the park for the first time since the 1920s, Yellowstone was home to all native megafauna that scientists believe resided in the region prior to European fur traders arriving in the West. This reunion of the carnivore and the world’s first national park solidified Yellowstone’s status as one of the largest and most intact temperate-zone ecosystems in the world. Biologists and activists who had been pushing and planning for wolf reintroduction for decades were elated to cross the finish line. Mollie Beattie, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s first-ever female director, was based in Washington, D.C., but traveled to Yellowstone to watch in person the historic operation she’d approved. According to Thuermer’s account, Beattie said, “This is sort of like running D-Day. When you think about catching wild wolves in Canada, transporting them, bringing them through customs, going through the legal process, sitting here watching them running around their pen is almost an indescribable sense of relief and happiness. They look great.” That day, almost every major newspaper and television news station in the country led with lobos loping in Yellowstone once again, albeit in one-acre pens. Not everyone supported the reintroduction. The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF), a member-financed grassroots organization that supports agriculture and private

ANGUS M. THUERMER JR.

P U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Mollie Beattie and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit carry the first wolf into a pen in Yellowstone National Park in January 1995. After being trapped in Canada, the animals were flown to Great Falls, trucked through Montana, hauled by mule sleigh half a mile to the pen, and carried the last 100 yards to their new, temporary enclosure.


NOT EVERYONE SUPPORTED THE REINTRODUCTION. THE WYOMING FARM BUREAU FEDERATION (WFBF) VIEWED WOLVES AS “LIVESTOCK-KILLING OVERSIZED VERMIN.”

property rights in the state, viewed wolves as “livestock-killing oversized vermin.” The group persistently challenged the reintroduction of the species, including after the animals had been captured and sent to Yellowstone. The State of Wyoming government was never on board, either. Representatives and senators who had family and constituent ties to the agricultural industry dominated Wyoming’s statehouse. The governor at the time, Jim Geringer, fought the reintroduction effort until the end. “Amidst the joy and bitterness, I remain seriously concerned with the uncertainty that continues to surround Yellowstone wolf reintroduction as it moves forward,” Geringer wrote to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt after wolves were on the ground in their pens.

WHILE THERE HAS been no consensus reached legally or politically in the 25 years since wolf reintroduction, biologically it is an unmitigated success. After the species’ roughly 70-year absence from the ecosystem, they returned to intact habitat, abundant big game like elk and deer, and an initial prohibition against being hunted due to their protected, “threatened status” under the ESA. Within five years of their reintroduction, the number of wolves had grown to 177. They lived in 18 packs and had expanded their territory well beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries. Wolves reached Jackson Hole in 1999, according to Bruce Weide and Pat Tucker with Koani, an “ambassador wolf” born into captivity in 1991. The two brought Koani to Jackson Hole in 1993 for Renee Askins’s Wolf Fund presentation ahead of a public U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hearing about wolf reintroduction.

GARTH DOWLING

ONE OF THE most widespread large carnivores on the planet, wolves had largely been exterminated by settlers and homesteaders south of Canada by the 1920s. A species that frequently preyed on livestock, wolves did not square with the Manifest Destiny and anti-predator mentality that ruled the settlement era. Poison, bounties, traps, and guns were employed until wolves were no more. (A small population of wolves did remain in northern Minnesota, in and around Voyageurs National Park.) Discussion of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone dated to the 1960s, when the National Park Service changed its wildlife management policy to allow populations to manage themselves. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was born, and the long process of coordinating a wolf restoration in Yellowstone began. It took another 16 years for Congress to appropriate money so that Yellowstone could actually study the operation with an environmental impact statement, and start planning in earnest for a reintroduction. There’s no one person responsible for the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, but Renee Askins was a crucial advocate. Outside magazine wrote that Askins was “to wolves what Jane Goodall was to chimpanzees.” Bruce Babbitt called her the “den mother” of wolf reintroduction. A native of Michigan with a master’s degree from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Askins began advocating for wolves to be reintroduced to Yellowstone in the late 1970s. She moved to Jackson Hole in 1981 to work closer with agencies and organizations supporting reintroduction. In 1988, after seeing how little progress had been made, Askins founded The Wolf Fund. The nonprofit group had one purpose: to make the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone a reality. (Askins promised to shutter it as soon as reintroduction happened.) At The Wolf Fund, Askins worked to swing public opinion in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and beyond. “Our whole strategy was to try to understand what the specific concerns were and then to address them literally one by one,” Askins said in a 2014 interview with the Jackson Hole News&Guide. “My staff called it ‘behind enemy lines lecture tours.’ Western agriculture had been in control of the politics of the West for so long that no one thought there was a chance in hell it would ever fly.”

Askins received numerous death threats. Profanity-rich messages were left daily on the fund’s answering machine. Still, on March 21, 1995, fund staff, as Askins had promised, hung a sign on the office door: “Shut down.” Earlier that day biologists had opened the first wolf pen, freeing wolves into the wide wilds of Yellowstone.

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RYAN DORGAN

the Jackson Hole News story titled “Wolves Reach Refuge Hills.” Horne published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. The Gros Ventre Pack became established that year, denning in There’s also groundbreaking information coming from its namesake area on the eastern side of the valley. Today, more research out of northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National than a dozen wolf packs roam the greater Jackson Hole area, Park, which has a wolf population of between 30 and 50 aniincluding some that den as close to town as the National Elk mals living in six to nine packs. (Northern Minnesota is the Refuge north of Jackson and Horse Creek south of town. only place in the Lower 48 states where humans and human The reintroduction of wolves has influenced the Greater activities did not extirpate wolves; the animals have lived in Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) in ways ecologists are still try- the area for thousands of years.) A large team of University of ing to understand. Ungulate populations, in places, have de- Minnesota and National Park Service biologists studying the clined. Some meso-carnivores, like coyotes, have similarly summer diets of area wolves found the animals eat a much been reduced in number by the return of their larger canine more varied diet than previously thought. Their study, pubcompetitors. On the other hand, there’s been a “trophic cas- lished in the journal Mammalian Biology, revealed that beacade”—essentially a trickle-down effect of impacts—that in vers, berries, and even fish are major sources of sustenance some cases benefit other wildlife and plant species. Depending for one of the park’s packs they’ve been tracking since 2015. on the species and/or your point of view, the re-introduction The same study showed that ungulates—deer and moose—do of wolves has been positive or negative. As often happens, make up about 80 percent of the park wolves’s calories. But the people on both sides have overblown the impacts of the wolf ’s fact the wolves were eating beavers and berries upended the prereturn to the GYE. sumption that Canis A case-in-point from wolf lupus almost exclusivesupporters is a 2014 viral vidly gets by on big game. eo, “How wolves change rivStudies of unguers.” Made by the British writlates and wolf packs er and wildlife advocate in Wyoming’s Buffalo George Monbiot, the fourValley and northern minute film exaggerated and Grand Teton National oversimplified the cascade rePark show wolves sulting from wolves’ return to have contributed to a the GYE. According to decline in moose and Monbiot’s film, the reintromountain lion popuduction of wolves changed lations. National Park the behavior of elk and other Service wolf predaungulates that, in the absence tion research and of an alpha-predator, had Teton Cougar Project been overgrazing willows and lion mortality data Pilot David Rivers and Kevin Coates, of Native Range Capture Services, other lowland plants. The back these studies up. prepare to fly a sedated gray wolf from the Dell Creek Pack back to the wilds near Bondurant. The female wolf, estimated to be a seven years old, was short clip stated that, with There’s also been captured and fitted with a tracking collar to help the Wyoming Game wolves in the park, river botmuch speculation and Fish Department better understand her pack’s habits and movements. tom plant communities that wolves have bounced back and an array of played a role in rediswildlife returned, ultimately bringing the ecosystem into a har- tributing elk in parts of Jackson Hole, particularly moving wamonic balance. piti out of the Gros Ventre River drainage in winter. University of This is a lovely narrative, but actual data about willow re- California-Berkeley and Wyoming Game and Fish investigations growth in wolf territory suggests it’s just not true, says Colorado are underway in an effort to better understand what’s happening. State University ecology professor Tom Hobbs. “It is true that “If the wolves were going to kill all the elk,” says Ed Bangs, who wolves eat coyotes, and just about every other statement in that coordinated the wolf reintroduction for U.S. Fish and Wildlife video is false,” he said in an interview with the Jackson Hole before retiring in 2011, “they probably would have done it thouNews&Guide. “All of the claims about the explosion of the ri- sands of years ago.” parian communities ... there’s not a shred of scientific evidence Regardless of what science says, there’s no doubting how that supports them.” divisive wolves were, and still are. Equally misleading are wolf opponents’ cries that the animals are an unrelenting carnivorous force on the landscape, JOHN LUND, WHO supervises the Wyoming Game & Fish causing the populations of big game herds to crash. Ecological Department’s Pinedale Region, vividly recalls the uproar cresystems are complex, and predator-prey relationships in wolf ated by the image of 19 elk killed by a wolf pack in a single country are rarely straightforward. A recently completed 15- night in 2016 at the McNeel feedground in the Upper Hoback year study on elk mortality and wolves led by Idaho Department River Basin. Lund says the media maelstrom and public outcry of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jeff Horne found that win- that followed was one of the most chaotic days of his career. ter severity and food availability—not wolves—were the factors Just one journalist caught wind of the incident the day it hapmost correlated to elk calf mortality. Among predators of elk pened, but within 24 hours writers from around the world calves, wolves weren’t even the number-one stressor—that began to swarm, drawn in by an image of a line of dead elk, honor went to mountain lions, according to an academic study many of them calves and none of them eaten. 70

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KEEP JACKSON HOLE WILD.

The Jackson Hole community has always been a champion of the wildlife, wild places and wild culture that remain the foundation of the last true mountain town. Join us in taking steps to ensure the wonder of this rare place never fades.

USE PUBLIC TRANSIT.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW, DON’T GO.

Trade in four wheels for two. Use the START bike share. Consider taking the START bus or walking. And if you need a car, go electric.

Stay safe in the backcountry. Please have proper equipment, a partner and a plan. Check your local weather and avalanche forecast before heading out.

ROAD TO ZERO WASTE: REDUCE AND RECYCLE.

STAY ON TRAILS.

Leave no trace wherever you go. Grab a reusable Stay Wild tote bag. Take short showers. Recycle all that you can.

Trails are made to lessen environmental impact. Obey all posted signs and respect boundaries.

GIVE WILDLIFE SPACE.

TAG LOCATIONS RESPONSIBLY.

Never approach or feed any animals. Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and bison, and 25 yards away from all other wildlife.

Geotagging photos in social media creates a surge in human traffic, increasing strain on delicate habitats. Post the photo. Trash the tag.

RESPECT WILDLIFE CLOSURE AREAS.

GO FORTH AND EDUCATE.

Certain backcountry areas in the Tetons serve as critical winter habitat for large game and are closed seasonally to protect wildlife. Learn more about closure areas from the U.S. Forest Service.

Bring the spirit of Jackson Hole with you when you leave. The small actions you take make a big difference in preserving outdoor spaces.

Together, we can keep Jackson Hole wild. Learn more at visitjacksonhole.com/sustainability. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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RYAN DORGAN

The massacre was a rare upset about a smaller wolfinstance of a wolf pack “surhunting mortality limit?” plus killing” wild ungulates. Mills says. “Does he hate “Of course, it went viral on wolves? Maybe. But he really Facebook almost instantly,” loves elk, and he thinks that says Lund. “I started getting the one threatens the other. calls from the local news meThe motivation isn’t necesdia people first. Then some sarily about hating wolves, of the statewide newspapers it’s about wanting someand TV stations. About thing [else] more than midday, I started getting wanting wolves.” calls from CNN, Fox News, The New York Times. I talkONLINE, AMONG THE ed to a reporter in France. memes and bloody hunters That day I think I spent six posing with wolves they’ve or seven hours on the phone Nineteen elk lay dead Friday, March 25, 2016, on the McNeel Elk shot, you will also find acnonstop. It was incredible Feedground near Bondurant, Wyoming. Wolves killed 17 calves and two cows counts of real-life hardships in what is called a “surplus killing,” where predators kill more prey than can … I heard comments from be immediately eaten. that come with living in both extremes. Very paswolf country. Hunters tarsionate, hateful comments. geting other game have had From both sides.” their dogs attacked and/or killed by wolves. Every year, ranchers Currently, Facebook pages like “Kill the wolves” and “Kill lose livestock to wolves. (The confirmed wolf-killed toll in the wolves in Wyoming” have thousands of followers. Peruse Wyoming in 2018, the last year data was available, was 70 head these pages’ posts and you’ll see photos of hunters posing with of livestock, but that total swings significantly year to year. wolves they’ve killed, and memes that play off killing wolves. If Cattlemen and sheep growers are reimbursed with state funds you’ve seen bumper stickers like “SSS: shoot, shovel, and shut for their losses, however, and in 2018 the payouts totaled up” or “Smoke a pack a day” and wondered what they meant, $169,000.) both show support for killing wolves. Chronic conflict along the leading edges of wolf range over These represent the most extreme anti-wolf factions, but an the decades since reintroduction suggests that wolves have much uneasiness and even disdain for the species still pervades old more difficulty living amid development and near people than West culture and politics inside and outside of the GYE in carnivores like coyotes, black bears, and even mountain lions. Wyoming. One policy implication of this is Wyoming’s “predator Still, “If wolves continue to increase, they could live almost anyzone:” In 85 percent of the state, wolves are classified as vermin where,” world-renowned wolf biologist Dave Mech wrote in that can be shot on sight any time of year. 2017. “The real question society must face is, Where will people Ken Mills, the state’s leading wolf biologist and an employee tolerate them? Will many folks want to live out of fear, valid or of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, deals in science. not, while out for walks at night? How many will be willing to But he also has to take into account the politics of and interest in risk their dogs and cats being killed? Their livestock? Will many balancing wolf populations with those of other wildlife species, folks tolerate large numbers of wolves being killed legally and/or like elk. When people spout anti-wolf rhetoric, he spends a lot of illegally around their suburbs and cities?” Mech, who at 82 contime pondering their motivations. “Why do I have this outfitter tinues to churn out research, wrote those words in Biological

A TIMELINE OF WOLVES IN THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE ECOSYSTEM

DATES PROVIDED BY EARTHJUSTICE

1982

1800s–1930s:

Wolf population in Continental U.S. decimated.

ESA modified to allow for “experimental, nonessential” populations, the tool that gave managers more flexibility in managing a reintroduced population.

2003

Wolves reclassified under the ESA as “threatened” rather than “endangered”; work begins to delist Northern Rockies populations. Yellowstone National Park wolf population: 174

JACKSON HOLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND MUSEUM

1973

Endangered Species Act (ESA) becomes law. 72

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1974

Wolves listed as “endangered” under the ESA.

1995

Wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Yellowstone National Park wolf population: 14

2007

Proposal made to take wolves in Montana and Idaho off the Endangered Species List. The proposal does not include Wyoming’s wolves because of the state’s management plan, which includes allowing the species to be shot on sight and without a license in a large portion of the state.


WOLVES WERE REMOVED FOR THE THIRD, AND POSSIBLY FINAL, TIME AS A “THREATENED” SPECIES UNDER THE ESA IN 2017.

Conservation, a peer-reviewed journal. His article was titled, “Where are wolves and how can we live with them?” The same types of disagreements and antagonism about wolves that exist in the West exist elsewhere, Mech says, including Minnesota and the Great Lakes states, where he calls home. There are even similar sentiments across the Atlantic Ocean, in European countries where wolves are naturally reclaiming old grounds where they were wiped out decades ago. Worldwide, there is a stark urban/rural divide in terms of how people view wolves: There is strong support for the species in metropolitan areas, but the enthusiasm wanes significantly as you move into the countryside where wolves actually live. “The animosity towards wolves, especially by rural folks who have to live with them, that originally caused the extirpation of the species has not abated,” Mech writes. “Even though positive attitudes towards wolves generally predominate, primarily by urbanites, the animosity is personal and strong enough that it can often prevail.” Education, in Mech’s view, is one factor that could help turn the corner on both the vilification and glorification of wolves. “That certainly will help many people, but you’re always going to have people on both sides of the issue who don’t really care about what science says,” he says in an interview. Bangs, the former USFWS employee, likes to say that wolves are “just another animal.” It’s humans, he says, who are interesting, and are mired in a wolf debate that’s all about humans debating human values, but “using the symbol of an animal to do it.” WOLVES ARE IN the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to stay, thanks to the ESA and the fact that in parts of the region, like Yellowstone National Park, individual states don’t have jurisdiction. Wolves were removed for the third, and possibly final, time as a “threatened” species under the ESA in 2017. This gave Wyoming control over the species’ population, and the state promptly instated a wolf hunt. (Montana and Idaho have had control over their wolf populations since 2011, when Senators Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Jon Tester (D-MT) included, on a budget bill, a rider that overrode the ESA in their states, and

prohibited future legal challenges.) Wyoming wasn’t included in this deal, and the state has faced steady legal challenges to its wolf management plan partly due to its free-fire “predator zone,” which no other state with a wolf population has. In northwest Wyoming, the core of the GYE, there are wolf population goals, hunting seasons, and limits on how many lobos can be killed in a season. But beyond this mountainous area—part of the year the southern boundary is Teton County’s Highway 22—is the 85 percent of the state in which wolves are deemed “predators” and “vermin.” Here they can be killed indiscriminately, without licenses, seasons, or limits. “The predator status was a big middle finger to the feds,” Bangs says. “It was all about the symbolism of it. It was just a political statement of, ‘We never wanted wolves, we don’t like wolves, and we still don’t like wolves.’ But in reality, I don’t think it makes much difference where [the boundaries are] drawn.” Wolves, he says, don’t survive long anywhere in agricultural or open high-desert environments, or even in wild mountain ranges that teem with grazing allotments—especially those occupied by sheep, like the Bighorn and Wyoming Ranges. While the species struggles to persist in the free-fire zone making up the majority of the state, a somewhat stable population does exist in the core of Wyoming’s portion of the GYE, which is about 15 percent of the state. Today, around 300 wolves live in this area, including Yellowstone’s population. In the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho collectively, there are about 1,500 wolves. The majority can be traced to the 1995 and ’96 reintroductions; others reintroduced themselves, leaking south across the Montana border from an expanding population that’s contiguous with Canada’s estimated 60,000 wolves. Fifteen hundred vastly exceeds the delisting goals that were agreed to when wolves were reintroduced. The success of the reintroduction here was wholly expected, Bangs says. “Wolves are big, bold, adaptable, resilient large predators. Once you turned them loose in really good habitat, they did really, really well. It’s not like we were really smart. They are just really good animals.” JH

2008

Wolves delisted in the spring, but environmental groups sue and federal protections are reinstated the same summer. The legal backand-forth continues for years. Yellowstone National Park wolf population: 124

2012

Wyoming’s wolves delisted and first modern-day, legal wolf hunt is held.

2017

Appeals court reverses ruling, giving wolf jurisdiction back to Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Legal hunting resumes, again recognizing the state’s free-fire zone. Yellowstone National Park wolf population: 97

MARK BRUSCINO

RYAN DORGAN

2011

Legislation delists wolves in the Northern Rockies, except for Wyoming’s population (again, because of Wyoming’s proposed management plan for the species).

2014

Federal judge reverses status of Wyoming’s wolf population back to “threatened.”

2020

GYE wolves have been at home on their native range for 25 years. Yellowstone National Park wolf population: To be determined

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// PHOTOGALLERY

The Original

RYAN DORGAN

2010 // ANDREW WHITEFORD “My kind of thing had always been to keep moving, shoot, ski down—keep it flowing,” McKoy says. “But some of the newer skiers love building kickers.” This kicker is below the south side of Cody Peak; the run Once is Enough is in the background. McKoy positioned himself below the jump, shooting the half dozen skiers who were lapping the kicker, constantly adjusting his position while imagining the trajectory of the next skier. (“The only time you’d get that big a posse is when shooting stills with a film crew,” McKoy says. This was a KGB Productions shoot.) “When Andrew did this huge layout front flip I was standing in exactly the right place. The clouds were magic and really kind of make the shot. And Andrew, of course, in his graphic red jersey.” This is the lone image in this photo essay taken with a digital camera, which McKoy started shooting with in 2005.

Wade McKoy is Jackson Hole’s original ski photographer. NOWADAYS THERE ARE about as many adventure photographers living and working in Jackson Hole as there are mountains surrounding the valley. Wade McKoy was the first though. “I started with a hand crank camera,” he says. “The next year I got an auto winder that went 2.5 frames per second, and that was like magic.” It was the mid-’70s and McKoy had recently moved to Jackson to learn how to ski; he had his first photograph published in Powder magazine in 1976 or 1977. A couple of years later, McKoy shot a feature for Powder. “They had told me they were going to hold it a year, but late one season a friend comes walking up to me in the base area with his copy of the magazine opened to the lead spread of the article and I just about fell down,” McKoy says. “I was so happy I started jumping up and down.” More than forty years later, McKoy has lost count of how many of his images have been published in magazines, ad campaigns, catalogs, and online. He has traveled to China, Alaska, South America, India, and Europe writing about and shooting ski mountaineering expeditions. He still loves making photos in Jackson Hole though. “This is a great factory for beautiful images; it’s got all the elements—terrain, snow, and athletes, and now, more photographers than just me. I was lucky to be here when no one else was here and I don’t take that for granted. That was a blessing, and I fully embrace all the great shooters and great skiers we have now. There is certainly more than enough terrain to go around.” Here McKoy, who founded the annual skiing-centric magazine The Village Focus with Bob Woodall in 1983 (they changed its name to Jackson Hole Skier in 1987), shares some of his favorite Jackson Hole images and the stories behind them. 74

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// PHOTOGALLERY

2003 // JEFF LEGER The backside of Grand Targhee has some huge cliff bands, including this particular launching point, which is called the Diving Board. “The Diving Board is one of the really primo things to drop off of,” McKoy says. “I’d shot it a number of different ways and I always wanted to get a little wider. I wanted to get a totally new and different shot and finally bought a 15mm super-wideangle lens that was rectilinearly corrected. I didn’t like the look of fish eye. I wanted straight lines, not curves. It turned out to be a magic photo. The human eye sees at 52 mm if translated to a camera. I was standing there looking at the scene and it was pretty cool, but I looked through my camera and it is very cool.” The North Face used this photo as a 10x12 foot banner that hung in Teton Village Sports and then in Jackson Hole Sports. “It was a really successful picture,” McKoy says.

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1988 // CHRIS LEVERONI McKoy took this photo “before anyone was getting paid as a sponsored athlete,” he says. “We actually paid our skiers, but not up front. We paid them 15 percent commission on any money we made off of photographs of them.” McKoy and Leveroni, who McKoy says was “one of the best skiers on the hill,” went up the Jackson Hole tram specifically to shoot this one picture. “We had talked about the composition—blue sky, fin of hard chalky snow,” McKoy says. Leveroni skied it once and McKoy got this shot. “He remembers asking me if he needed to ski it again, but it just felt right. I knew I had gotten it the first time,” McKoy says. Leveroni didn’t ever ski wearing red or a European driving cap, but “Spyder had given him this outfit and cool wool cap,” McKoy says.

EARLY 1990s // JOHN GRIBER “We used to go into the Tetons in the spring every year,” McKoy says. “The spring was the only time we would be there. We’d wait until the snow was hard enough to walk on so you could walk on it in crampons—we didn’t have skins and we would be postholing if it wasn’t frozen. There weren’t many opportunities to go up in good conditions; we didn’t have all the weather info we do now.” McKoy took this image after he and Griber had climbed the Ellingwood Couloir on the Middle Teton. “When we topped out, here we saw this snowy ridge and both John and I recognized that this was a photograph we had to take,” McKoy says. “John walked out to the end of it, we shot that, and then he turned around and walked up to me so I got his front side.”

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// PHOTOGALLERY

2003 // BISSELL HAZEN “I wasn’t supposed to be in this spot and [Hazen] wasn’t supposed to ski here, but things happened to conspire to make this picture happen,” McKoy says. The plan when McKoy, Hazen, Mason Cassidy, and photographer Chris Figenshau set up camp below the Teton Glacier was for—the next day— McKoy to shoot the other three from below with a 600 mm lens as they climbed up to the Grandstand and a series of ledges that wrap around toward the Black Ice Couloir. But McKoy stayed in camp the next day and conditions did not allow the other three to reach the Grandstand. “The snow was rotten and sugary and unclimbable,” McKoy says. Still, McKoy had his camera on them and was shooting what they were able to ski. “I see Bissell head over to the [Teton] Glacier terminus; the other two are headed the more usual route. He took his time and was careful skiing down through it and I was taking all these photos and was just amazed. He wasn’t planning to ski that, and I wasn’t planning to stay in camp. If I was where I had meant to be, I wouldn’t have been able to see him at all.”

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2003 // JASON TATTERSALL McKoy says he and Jason Tattersall produced “some really wonderful images together. Jason has a very artistic mind and could have been a photographer. He was enthusiastically focused on getting a great shot.” Here, Tattersall skis on Teton Pass at sunset. “You can’t shoot at sunset at the Village,” McKoy says. “If you wanted to keep shooting, the Pass was the closest place to go, and back then we could go up there at sunset and there was still untracked snow. It’s hard to find that anymore.” JH

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Sense of Place

A

Meet seven locals who show that the reasons for moving here are as diverse as the area’s wildlife.

bout 23,000 people live full-time in Teton County, Wyoming. You’d be forgiven, especially in winter, for assuming we’re all here because of the skiing. The quality and quantity of skiing in and around Jackson Hole is unparalleled in the country, but skiing is far from the only reason people move here. Yes, learning how to ski was one of my goals when I moved here immediately following college, but I could have done that in hundreds of other places. I specifically picked Jackson, which I had visited once when I was 12 years old, because

BY DINA MISHEV

I wanted to live in the least populated state in the country and because both the country’s largest wild herd of bison and, more interestingly to me at the time, Harrison Ford lived here. Please don’t judge, but do read the unique reasons seven other locals decided to make their lives in Jackson Hole.

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WHY: BEAUTY, ENERGY, AND ARTS WHEN: 1999

NEESHA ZOLLINGER ARRIVING IN JACKSON in 1999 for an audition with Contemporary Dance Wyoming, Neesha Zollinger says, “It was the most magical experience I’ve ever had. I just felt an energy and I felt in the flow. It was a totally unexpected connection with this place.” Six weeks after her audition Zollinger moved to Jackson from Utah, where she was working as a soil scientist and doing some dancing. She was one of the founding members of Contemporary Dance Wyoming. “I love the outdoors and wanted to be creative and dance and have the benefits of nature,” she says. “But I don’t think I ever really thought it could happen.” Before coming to Jackson for her audition, Zollinger had been here once before. “I was in fifth grade and have no memory of it,” she says. “I had always lived in small towns though, so that part of Jackson didn’t surprise me.” In 2005, Zollinger took over a small yoga studio, renamed it Akasha Yoga, and grew it. Akasha is now one of the bigger yoga studios in the valley; Zollinger still owns it and teaches there. Her daughter Stella was born here in 2012. As much a part of the community Zollinger is though, she confesses to “sometimes feeling like an alien. So many times people just look at me like I’m such an oddball because I can barely ski. It is a skill set I didn’t grow up doing. People are like, ‘What are you doing here?’ They just don’t get it; they’re confused that there are other things that people are really passionate about here.” Despite these moments of alien-ness, Zollinger says she never got close to moving away from Jackson. “There are definitely times where I’m like, ‘This climate is harsh.’ But this place is so full of opportunities and I love the community and the people. Part of this comes from the affluence here: People are very interesting and doing amazing things. Jackson Hole is this nexus of incredible people with great ideas and making things happen. I love being in that energy. It feels very alive.”

BRADLY J. BONER

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TAYLOR PHILLIPS BRADLY J. BONER

ESTELA TORRES

WHY: WILDLIFE AND PUBLIC LANDS WHEN: 2002 TAYLOR PHILLIPS STUDIED the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while earning his undergraduate degree in environmental studies/environmental philosophy at Eckerd College in Florida. Still, it wasn’t until one spring break when he stayed on campus to earn some money and found an Ansel Adams photo of the Tetons and Snake River that he thought about actually traveling here from the East Coast. “I didn’t know where or what the photo was,” Phillips says. “I just thought it was pretty.” His ignorance about the image, which he had hung in his dorm room, quickly ended. While Phillips had worked over spring break, a friend went skiing in Jackson. “He saw the photo and was like, ‘I was just in Jackson and it’s awesome!’ I was like, ‘Who goes to Wyoming?’” Phillips says. “But my interest was sparked.” As his graduation neared, Phillips’s parents wanted to know what he was going to do with his degree. “The Tetons were on my radar,” he says. “There was the National Park Service, Forest Service, and guide services, so for my major, it seemed a good place to land.” Shortly after graduation Phillips drove to Jackson, parked his van near Miller Park, and spent the night there. “I’m pretty sure that was illegal,” he says. Phillips’s guess that there would be plenty of jobs for him related to his major was correct, and he quickly got a job running a field research station for Teton Science Schools. But it wasn’t just about the availability of jobs. “The landscape and wildlife here [were] incredible,” he says. With the exception of eight months during which he hiked the Appalachian Trail and another couple of months when he paddled the Yukon River, Phillips has been in Jackson Hole since. He continued to work for Teton Science Schools and eventually began guiding some of their wildlife expeditions. He also worked as a hiking guide. In 2008 he founded Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures. “I wanted to make it a career and not a job,” he says. The first three years Phillips did everything himself, from marketing to booking and guiding. Now Eco Tour Adventures has a staff of about 20. “It feels a little like I’ve come full circle,” Phillips says. “I wrote my thesis at Eckerd on ecotourism and came out here because of the landscapes and wildlife. Now I’m helping visitors have a more meaningful experience with these while they are here.” 82

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BRADLY J. BONER

WHY: CAME WITH A BOYFRIEND, STAYED FOR THE BEAUTY

WHEN: 1981 ESTELA TORRES REMEMBERS her dad asking if Wyoming was a state when she moved to Jackson in 1981 with her then-boyfriend. “I had heard about Yellowstone, but, growing up in Joliet [Illinois], never really thought I’d visit the area,” she says. “It was an accident that we moved here.” Her boyfriend, who was a law clerk, wanted to move to Colorado, but “because of bar exams and such we settled here,” Torres says. “I was immediately enthralled by the beauty of the place, but slowly I began to feel, ‘Wow, there are


no Mexicans here.’” Torres was born in the U.S., as were her parents, she explains. “But they were raised in northern Mexico,” she says. “I was raised like a Mexican but here in the U.S.” She says she missed being able to speak Spanish after moving to Jackson. While there was no one for Torres to speak Spanish with, she did have a job she loved. She worked as a paralegal at the Ski Corp (now Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, or JHMR) and worked directly with Ski Corp co-founder Paul McCollister. “Paul was one of my best bosses ever,” she says. “I came from the slums of Chicago and to be invited to the home of the founder of the Ski Corp— that really turned things around for me.” Torres stayed at Ski Corp for about 10 years. After having two daughters— Christina, now 34, and Jessica, now 31— she returned to the Ski Corp and worked seasonally. “I was pretty happy, but did honestly feel there was a void because there were no Latinos here,” she says. “But then they started coming in the 1990s and that made me feel more joy.” Today it is difficult to imagine Jackson Hole without its Latino population. In 1990, Latinos made up less than 2 percent of Teton County’s population; by 2018 that had grown to 12 percent. (In the Town of Jackson itself, about 25 percent of the population is Latino.) Torres says she now has more Latino culture in her life than her sisters “who live in bigger cities where there are huge Latino communities. Because Jackson is so small, it’s so easy to know what’s going on and to be involved.” If someone had told Torres in the early 1990s that in 2019 she’d be working full-time in Jackson at a nonprofit (One22) whose mission was to help immigrants to the area facing health, financial, and cultural challenges, and speaking Spanish every day, she says she would not have believed them. “I don’t know which part of that would have been most unbelievable—that I’d still be in Jackson or that there was a Latino community in Jackson Hole,” Torres says. “My family still makes fun of me for living in what they call a ‘one-horse town.’ But my sisters don’t really even speak Spanish anymore.”

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WHY: HORSES AND TO EXPERIENCE SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

WHEN: 2002

MARIAM DIEHL

BRADLY J. BONER

SITTING IN A plane on a dirt runway in British Columbia, Mariam Alaskari (now Diehl) was crying. It was the summer of 2001 and she had spent the previous two weeks horseback riding in the Chilcotin Mountains. Now vacation was over and Diehl was headed back to New York City, where she was born, raised, went to college and graduate school, and had a career doing development work for some of the city’s larger nonprofits. “I liked New York, but decided I needed to change things and make my life more like the horseback riding vacations I took every summer,” she says. Diehl returned home and immediately began researching places. “I was looking for a small town, big mountains, horses, and not Aspen or Vail or someplace I would find Prada or Chanel. And I didn’t want rolling hills. I wanted it to be vastly different from where I came from.” Diehl had never before been to Jackson, but it was on her list from the beginning. “The more I read the newspapers online, the more it seemed perfect,” she says. “I started applying for jobs—everything from a Hines Goldsmith salesperson to a kennel cleaner.” She moved to Jackson in January 2002 and started doing development for the campaign that worked to build the Center for the Arts. Soon she got more directly involved with the valley’s art scene; she took a position as director of Meyer Gallery. Within three years Diehl bought that gallery. “The more I worked in the art industry, I realized I loved it and 84

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was passionate about it,” she says. “And it seemed Jackson’s art scene was ready to evolve.” In the fall of 2005 about seven galleries, including Diehl’s, came together and created ContemporaryArtJacksonHole, an event within the annual Fall Arts Festival. “I think that group of galleries was at the forefront of pushing Jackson forward into contemporary art,” says Diehl, who renamed Meyer Gallery Diehl Gallery in 2008. While Diehl is likely one of the few women in Jackson to wear heels on an almost-daily basis—wandering into Diehl Gallery is interesting not only to see art by the artists Diehl represents, but also to see what the owner is wearing—she is now as comfortable in Sorels, ski boots, and waders as she is in four-inch stilettos. She and her husband Scott—“our second date was fly fishing,” she says—have a son in sixth grade. “I’m raising a true Jackson boy,” Diehl says. “He fishes, bikes, hikes, skis, hunts, snowboards, and rides horses.” Diehl herself cooks and eats the game meat Scott hunts, Nordic and downhill skis, fly fishes, and mountain bikes. And she rides her horse Oberon as much as possible. This past spring she and Oberon went through training for the Jackson Police Department’s Citizens Mounted Unit. “I knew when I got off the plane the first time that I was right about my decision, and that Jackson was going to be home,” Diehl says. “And it is.”


KEITH BENFIEL

WHY: HAPPENSTANCE WHEN: 1974

BRADLY J. BONER

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA NATIVE Keith Benefiel grew up on a bicycle. “My father was killed a few months before I was born and my mother didn’t have a lot of money. I got to grow up without a car,” he says. It may sound a little crazy that, in April 1974, Keith and his wife at the time attached trailers to their bikes and rode west from Indiana to Lander, Wyoming. But it wasn’t crazy for this couple. Their dog, Little Bear, a “big old lab/shepherd mix, ran most of the way,” Benefiel says. Arriving in Lander, however, “The town was in an economic depression,” Benefiel says. “The iron mine had [recently] closed. Winter was just getting going, so we headed to the only town in Wyoming with a winter economy, Jackson.” Full-on winter hadn’t quite arrived yet, so the Benefiels were able to live at the Jenny Lake campground for three weeks. “It was just a great adventure,” Benefiel says. “I’d hitch into town looking for a place to rent.” He found a “little upstairs roof apartment where you could only stand up in the hallway in the middle; there were dormers at the sink and toilet.” In 1975, Benefiel bought Teton Cyclery, the only bike shop in town, which had been founded in the early ’70s, and owned and ran it for the next 20 years. In winter, he’d ski on Teton Pass. “We never went up Glory, that was too damn dangerous. We waited until corn,” he says. A friend showed Benefiel a ridge on the south side that wasn’t skied often. “Skiers stayed away from it because it turns into trees, but [my friend] showed me

it went farther. It became my personal run.” Today that ridge is known as “KB Ridge,” and Benefiel says the “KB” stands not for his initials, but for “killer bud.” In the late ’70s, his wife left the valley to go back to school, leaving Benefiel a single dad to their toddler daughter. He says, “For me, it’s paradise here. I couldn’t imagine ever leaving.” Benefiel was one of the founding members of the Teton County Search & Rescue Team. “When we started it up, it was just a phone tree,” he says. “They’d call me and I’d call people who were competent and unemployed.” While Benefiel did buy a car—his first—after his daughter was born, bikes have remained his primary mode of transportation. He helped his friend Tim Young get the pathways project going. “I never thought [pathways] would happen, and that we’d have to settle for wider shoulders, but Tim put his entire life into it and built one of the premier pathways [systems] in the country.” Forty-five years after arriving, Benefiel, who has lived in a historic log cabin in Wilson with his second wife, Diane, since 1981, knows Jackson Hole has changed, but not completely. “For what I came here for, it hasn’t changed,” he says. “I can walk across the street [from our cabin] and the next time I see pavement, I’ll be in West Yellowstone [Montana]. Go up Cache Creek and the next pavement is Lander or South Pass. And Teton Pass—that’s still the other room of our house. I didn’t come here for the people, so they can’t chase me out.” WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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CHAD CARLSON

WHY: QUALITY OF LIFE/TO RAISE KIDS WHEN: 2016

BRADLY J. BONER

CHAD CARLSON AND Ed Westerman renovated a 5,000square-foot house in the valley with the idea that it’d be a second home. The couple lived and worked in San Francisco. “We thought that maybe one day [the house here] could be a halftime home,” Carlson says. But then they learned their surrogate was pregnant. With twins. They reconsidered their living situation in San Francisco: a 1,200-square-foot house high on a hill in Noe Valley. They also reconsidered the city itself. “The city had changed so much; it wasn’t the city we had moved to. It was just more, more, more, more, more. I didn’t want to raise my kids and tell them not to pick up a heroin needle on the sidewalk or to stroll past human fecal matter. And I was burned out at work.” The more the couple thought about it, the more obvious moving to Jackson seemed. “We had this great big, recently remodeled house sitting empty in Wyoming. We decided we’d go to Jackson for a 86

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while and see how it went.” The twins, Ethan and Violet, are now three, and, as far as Jackson goes, Carlson says, “I’ve since fallen madly in love.” Not that it was easy. “When we first got here, I didn’t know anyone and I was a new parent who had just quit his job,” he says. “I’d cut every safety line in my life and just plopped down in the middle of Wyoming.” But then small-town life started happening. Carlson was introduced to a Wilson mom group and learned of several other couples that had recently had multiples. “It was just this weird little confluence that wouldn’t have happened anywhere else but in a small town— there were eight of us that had twins born within eight to nine months of each other.” A Facebook page Carlson founded, Teton Twins–Jackson Hole Parents of Multiples, now includes about 25 families. Carlson recently took a position as CMO at the local start-up Happy Active Family. Carlson’s love of Jackson doesn’t stem solely from the community of parents he’s gotten to know. “Within the entire community there seems to be a consistent desire to elevate what is expected of a small town in Wyoming. Everybody who lives here has the same sense of wanting to be part of a place that is so special. We could pick up and move to lots of places that are equally beautiful and have greater opportunities for careers, but there is something magical here that makes you say, ‘Well, I’m going to figure it out so I can be a part of this very unique place.’ Our quality of life here is just so opposite [of] what it had become in San Francisco.”


NIKI SUE MUELLER

WHY: THE MOUNTAINS WHEN: 1993

THERE ARE MORE direct ways to get to Oregon from Ft. Collins, Colorado, than through Jackson. But, because a college friend of Niki Sue Mueller’s lived in Jackson, when Mueller and friend Bobbi Reyes were driving from Colorado to Oregon for a Jerry Garcia Band concert in July 1993, they made a point of stopping here. “We knew we had a free place to stay,” Mueller says. The two women loved the town and mountains so much they stopped again on their way home. “Instead of staying overnight we stayed for two weeks, though,” Mueller says. Less than a month later, Mueller and Reyes said “good-bye” to Ft. Collins and moved to Jackson. “We didn’t have any long-term plans. But I did see myself in a mountain town,” says Mueller, who had graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in psychology and sociology the spring before coming to Jackson. “I had thought that mountain town would be Durango [Colorado], but something about the mountains here—about being in the mountains here—captivated me. I don’t even know what it was.” Mueller got a job at Hoback Sports and she thinks she was the store’s first female employee. “There were not many women here at the time,” she says. But “everyone was so kind and welcoming.” Still, at the end of her first year in the valley, Mueller took a two-month road trip with the purpose of finding a new

KATHRYN ZIESIG

place to live. “I went across the country from the Pacific Northwest to the bottom of California, [then to] Sedona [Arizona] and the East Coast. The road trip ended with me realizing there was no better place for me than Jackson. I had moved to Jackson for the mountains, but they came with this amazing community. I was surrounded by such wonderful people. I’m definitely a family person and it felt very family-like.” Back in Jackson, Mueller returned to her job at Hoback Sports, which at the time was where the Harley-Davidson shop is now. That winter she skied hard; within several years she was following around some of the Jackson Hole Air Force skiers. “They were just like the rest of the community—so kind and welcoming,” she says. “I feel so lucky that I was embraced by those guys, and they showed me the ropes.” Mueller began working in social services, in addition to working in bike shops, and also started teaching yoga, which she had begun practicing in 1994. She got married and had kids (a daughter in 2009 and a son in 2012) that she loves raising in Jackson. “My children have opportunities here that I didn’t have growing up on the East Coast near the city,” she says. “The education they’re getting is amazing, they get to go skiing after school, and our family is part of such a tight community. I came for the mountains, but I’m still here for the people. This community is the most special I’ve ever felt.” JH WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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JH

Living

LOOKING BACK

A Look (and Ski) Back in Time

GRAND TARGHEE RESORT

Fifty years old in 2019, Grand Targhee is homemade, home to a great skiing culture, and still offers the same homespun feeling it did back in the day.

Fred’s Mountain and the area that would become Grand Targhee Resort were first scouted in 1966 with hopes of bolstering Teton Valley’s seasonal economy. 88

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RICKERS FILM PRODUCTION

BY JIM MAHAFFIE


Left: Carol Mann, Mori Bergmeyer, and George Gillett, Jr., father of current general manager Geordie Gillett.

“YOU FEEL IT right away,” says Carol Mann of the energy at Grand Targhee Resort, the Teton Valley ski area she owned with her ex-husband, the late Mori Bergmeyer, from 1987 to 1997. “It’s very down to earth with no scene, no fashion show, and no pretense. Just great snow and scenery.” Which is pretty much what you’d expect of a ski area founded by ranchers and potato farmers. Teton Valley is the basin on the western side of the Tetons that is mostly in Idaho; the easternmost part, however—including Grand Targhee—is in Wyoming. In the 1950s and ’60s the valley had a population of about 2,000. Most residents were Mormon farmers and ranchers. After the fall harvest, the valley pretty much shut down. Between 1950 and 1960, Teton County, Idaho (which includes about 95 percent of Teton Valley’s residents) experienced a 17.6 percent drop in population. Business leaders wondered what could be done to attract more people to the valley, and keep them busy beyond summer.

Ski Basin in Ashton, which was one of Idaho’s 25 ski areas at the time, or to the newly opened (1965) Jackson Hole Ski Corporation (today the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort). Sun Valley, the dream of Count Felix Schaffgotsch and Union Pacific Railroad chairman Averell Harriman, was the jewel of Idaho’s ski resorts. Created in 1936, the goal of Sun Valley was no less than to be the “Grand American Ski Resort.” Like Aspen, Colorado, which opened 10 years after it, Sun Valley lured Hollywood stars, regular tourists—and money. Maybe a ski hill would boost Teton Valley’s economy too?

“PEOPLE HAD BEEN hiking up and skiing Fred’s Mountain for years,” says Jonathan McLaren, who started working at Grand Targhee in 1992 as a freelance accountant and in 1997 became the resort’s controller. “All the spud farmers said, ‘We gotta do something on that hill.’” When Teton Valley locals wanted to ski, they went to places like Bear Gulch

DID YOU KNOW...

Grand Targhee is renowned for the quantity and quality of its snow. Its average annual snowfall is more than 500 inches. Targhee has never received less than 58 inches of snow in January or 41 inches in February since 1977. The name “Grand Targhee” honors both the Grand Tetons and Chief Targhee of the Bannock tribe. (Chief Targhee also has a national forest, mountain pass, and creek named after him, and was renowned as a wise and peaceful leader of his people.)

Member Wine Tastings | Alpine Ski Shuttle

Lunch | happy hour | Dinner

Public Welcome

Teton Village Road | tetonpines.com | 307.733.1005 WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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DID YOU KNOW...

Leon “Slim” Weston was a larger-than-life, beloved Targhee liftie and resort ambassador for 45 years. He was Targhee’s first employee, later appeared in the Warren Miller film Extreme Winter, and was at work up to several days before his death in 2014.

GARTH DOWLING

In 1966, Evan Floyd and Sverre Engen scouted Fred’s Mountain and drew up a prospectus for the local Area Redevelopment Administration. Floyd was a local mail carrier, heavy equipment operator, and president of the Chamber of Commerce. Norwegian-born Engen was a ski jumping champion from Utah who helped build ski hills across the West and was an Alta Ski School director. (He went on to be inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1971.) The prospectus said a resort could be built for $1 million, or about $6.7 million in today’s dollars. It would pay for chairlifts that could carry 600 people an hour up 2,000 vertical feet, a lodge, parking for 200 cars, and warming and lounging spaces. Also included in the price was the clearing of ski runs and water and sewage systems. And, as reported in the Teton Valley News, the new resort’s views would be stunning—of “cloud-piercing peaks, portions of Alaska Basin and the checkerboard pattern of farmlands in Teton Basin.” In 1966, Ski Hill Road was completed and the Forest Service granted a permit for the proposed ski area of Grand Targhee Resort, Inc. Water, sewer, and electric lines were run to the new base area. Critical was a Farmers Home Administration (FHA) loan of $600,000. An additional $100,000 was raised by selling ownership shares to several hundred Teton Valley residents: “Ski at Targhee and Touch the Tetons” pronounced a February 1967 Teton Valley News headline. Grand Targhee Resort opened the day after Christmas in 1969. Hinting at one of the main attractions the resort would become famous for, opening day was a powder day. More than 2,000 skiers each paid $4.75 to ride the Bannock and Shoshone lifts. Season ski passes cost $75. Six weeks later, Idaho Governor Don Samuelson traveled to Teton Valley to officially dedicate the resort. The Sioux Lodge opened in 1971. 90

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BY 1973, THE resort was struggling financially, and was sold for its debts by the original stockholders to Cincinnati, Ohio, industrialist William Robinson (who invented resealable plastic cups and lids). Robinson and his family split time between Ohio and a home in Driggs. After William died in 1979, his family flirted with selling the resort for several years, but it wasn’t until almost a decade later that Mori Bergmeyer and his wife Carol Mann bought Grand Targhee. Bostonians, Mann was in management development and Bergmeyer was an architect and teacher at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1987 the avid skiers had had a trip to Sun Valley planned, but couldn’t find a place to stay there. A friend suggested the couple ski Grand Targhee instead. For Mann, the resort’s scenery, amazing snow, and friendly folks struck her immediately. “But not the physical facilities,” she says. “It was a true hidden, rough gem.” After dining at Targhee’s base lodge, the couple approached Eleanor and David Robinson’s table to discuss consulting for them. Mann thought it would “be fun to polish this place.” But the Robinsons were looking for more than consultants: they explained they wanted to sell the resort. Bergmeyer and Mann had already been talking about cashing out and leaving Boston. “We ran the numbers and decided to buy it,” Mann says. Under their ownership a new high-speed quad was built. Snowboarding, dogsledding, and horsedrawn sleigh rides were introduced. The Sioux Lodge was renovated. Bergmeyer, an innovator and entrepreneur, was so involved with the renovation that he founded Bergmeyer Furniture to create pieces for the resort’s shops and lodging, which were all eventually remodeled. THINGS SEEMED TO be proceeding to Mann’s and Bergmeyer’s plans until, in 1990, while on a

DID YOU KNOW...

Grand Targhee is the only ski area in North America with a perfect record of being in full operation by Christmas Day since records have been kept starting in the 1970s.

In 2006, Grand Targhee was the site of extreme skier Jamie Pierre’s successful attempt to set a world record for the tallest cliff jump on skis: He skied off a 255-foot cliff in the resort’s backcountry. He landed headfirst and had to be dug out by friends, but only suffered a bloody lip.


holiday in Europe, they got a call that there had been a fire and major damage to base area buildings. Returning home immediately, they set up tents, put in grills and picnic tables, and kept the lifts going until the end of the ski season. Then they rebuilt the entire base area in a design by Bergmeyer. “Our focus was always on maintaining the beauty of the land, supporting the authentic warmth of the employees, and creating intimate, welcoming Western architecture and design at the base,” Mann says. In 1997, Booth Creek Holdings, a Gillett family company, purchased Grand Targhee. In 2000 the Gilletts bought the resort from the family company outright via a handshake deal made at Nora’s Fish Creek Inn in Wilson (the handshake was followed later that day by a handwritten letter of agreement). Today, Geordie Gillett is Grand Targhee’s general manager. He remembers the first time he skied Targhee and how it blew him away. While riding the Bannock lift, which was a two-person double chair in 2000, he remembers thinking he’d never seen anything like Grand Targhee. (And the Gillett family knows ski resorts: Geordie’s father George owned Vail Resort in the 1980s.) “We bought Grand Targhee because it’s so unique and different,” says Gillett, who still owns the resort and is sometimes found stoking fires in the Sioux Lodge, clearing rope lines, helping at kids’ ski races, and, of course, skiing. Under the Gillett family’s ownership, changes at Targhee have been incremental. The Dreamcatcher high-speed detachable quad chair was installed and the Shoshone lift was replaced with a fixedgrip quad. An ever-growing network of bike trails was added, and Targhee Fest was founded in 2005. This mountain lifestyle and music festival held each July draws attendees from across the West and beyond. Today it looks like the pace of change is about to accelerate. A major expansion plan includes new restaurants, more snowmaking, three new chairlifts, and a 50 percent increase in skiable acreage. Summer activities will also be expanded to include a zip line and aerial adventure course. Gillett says work on these could begin as soon as this coming summer. But don’t think this means Targhee is forgetting its roots. “[Targhee] is just a really cool place,” Gillett says. “It’s not like Sun Valley or Steamboat, and we don’t want it to be.” JH0

GRAND TARGHEE RESORT

Evan Floyd, right, first scouted Fred’s Mountain for potential development in 1966; February 1967 headline in the Teton Valley News

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JH

Living

OUTDOORS

Valley to AT ABOUT 6,500 feet in elevation, winter regains its hold on the landscape, and the patchy, semi-graveled snowmobile track climbing out of Mosquito Creek south of the community of Wilson transitions back to pure snow. It’s well into April, and in the valley’s lowest elevations spring has set in. It’s one of those first brilliant sunny days that feels of the big melt and warmth to come, though at 7 a.m. the air is crisp and the snowpack bulletproof from last night’s freeze. We leave our skis on our backs, knowing that walking on top of the crust will be easier than skiing, also known as “skinning,” up the icy surface, which undulates due to the rivulets of melt that have run over and through the snow-packed road surface in weeks prior. We kick steps up, pointed southwest into the heart of the Snake River Range’s Palisades Wilderness Study Area. Photographer and adventure buddy Ryan Dorgan accompanies me, along with our dogs, Dottie and Sota. Our objective is to connect Jackson Hole to Palisades Reservoir, in the northern part of Star Valley. Initially, we planned to take off from Teton Pass, drop into Mosquito Creek, and then camp for a night, but a forecasted snowstorm during our initial window for this adventure put the kibosh on that plan. Fast forward a couple of weeks and it’s later in the year than planned— thus the true spring ski tour that’s underway. Vetting a route, I called up guide and author Tom Turiano, who knows the lay of the Snake River Range and the region’s seldom-seen mountains about as well as anyone. (For a guidebook on more ski lines and tours than you’ll ever be able to manage, check out his 2014 book, Jackson Hole Backcountry Skier’s Guide: South.) My initial instinct was to take the path of least resistance. There’s actually a crude road, which, in winter, transforms into a snowmobile trail that climbs to a 7,580-foot divide between Mosquito and Big Elk Creeks. Just climb this road, I figured, drop into the next drainage, ski and skin the dozen miles to the Big Elk trailhead at the end of a finger spurring off Palisades, and … voila, done. Turiano’s advice was that we should abandon that route though. It is not a hazardous or bad way, but, according to him, it’s boring. It is down in a canyon most of the way and, even when the snow is good, doesn’t offer many opportunities 92

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Ski touring, like other forms of mountain adventuring, can be an exciting way of seeing and connecting new and old places— just plan carefully and know your level of risk. BY MIKE KOSHMRL PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN DORGAN

Valley


for nice skiing. But Ryan and I were cramped on time and doubtful of our ability to safely tackle something bigger, so we opted for boring—except it turned out not to be boring for us. THREE HOURS IN, we’re at the Mosquito-Big Elk Divide, and everything’s absolutely dandy. The snow stayed solid into the late morning hours, and on the trek up we saw a couple of moose, tracks from mountain lion and black bear, and even a wolf turd. The trumpeting of sandhill cranes flying low interrupt the stillness and quiet, as do the alarm calls of Uinta ground squirrels, aka chiselers—a true sign of spring. Breaking on the pass, we peer east, and admire Gros and Cache Peaks, which dominate the skyline on the eastern side of Jackson Hole. Part of the allure of this trip is that it connects two places I know well via a middle ground foreign to me. Drawing up and executing these types of connections, with various modes of recreation to choose from, is part of what makes living in a wild, varied, and vast place like Jackson Hole so redeeming. For me, it provides a sense of exploration and helps me think about and comprehend parts of the local landscape and broader Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a whole. Recreationally, these connections are sometimes straightforward: A hiker, for instance, can take off from the Granite Creek trailhead on the north side of the Hoback Canyon, and, using Bridger-Teton National Forest trails, arrive in the town of Jackson via the Cache Creek drainage in a day’s time. Of course, there are countless more creative and ambitious ways to weave together the different landscapes we Traverses from the creek bottom up and over cliffs and boulder fields love—from mountain biking a loop around the Gros Ventre gave sweeping views of the Big Elk drainage and surrounding peaks in Range to ski touring through the Teton Wilderness via Two the Snake River Range. Ocean Pass to Yellowstone Lake. Get old school, pick up a map, and hatch a novel-to-you adventure plan. Highly recommended. The descent down into the North Fork of Elk Creek starts out equally as serene as reaching the top of the divide. Off to the north towers Smoke Hollow Peak; Powder Peak looms to the south. The Snake River Range, which I’ve flown over in a prop plane courtesy of Bruce Gordon’s EcoFlight, seems relatively tame from afar. Although bustling with hunters and skiers in the fall and winter, this peripheral Jackson Hole range is pretty deserted the rest of the year, OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO CONNECT JACKSON HOLE TO PALISADES RESERVOIR, especially its most protected lands, which IN THE NORTHERN PART OF STAR VALLEY. include the 215-square-mile Palisades Wilderness Study Area. Up close and in the thick of it during one of these “off seasons,” the Palisades’ most prominent peaks feel stark and powerful. Picking our way down the mountain, the low-angle gulch skiing isn’t great by any measure—like Turiano predicted. But we’re making good time, skirting between groves of conifers and the headwaters of Big Elk Creek, which begins to reveal itself through the still-sizable snowpack just a few hundred vertical feet beneath the divide. In no time, the skiing gets trickier and the exposed stream, fed by fast warming temperatures and melt percolating in from all directions, grows powerful. The very visible WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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snowmobile tracks left behind from the seasons’ powder hounds suddenly peter out. Soon, we see why. The open water cuts into a steep, snow-free canyon where sidehilling on skis (or snowmobiles) is impossible. Our skis go again onto our backs and we scramble around in our boots on talus, boulders, and steep snowfields. It’s rugged, and a dog paw that gets wedged between two rocks presages how the rest of this adventure will go.

The author looks west toward Powder Peak from the divide between Mosquito and Big Elk Creeks in the Snake River Range.

“SLOG” AND “MISADVENTURE” are both good words to describe the final six-ish hours of our journey. Since we are soaked anyway, Ryan and I start to wade through the creek with our ski boots on when doing so offers easy passage to skiable snow. At some points, conditions are downright dangerous. The afternoon had grown windy, and while skiing through a timber stand high above the confluence of Big Elk’s north and south forks, a mature tree violently crashes down only a few hundred yards above us. It’s the closest I’ve ever been (and hopefully will ever be) to witnessing potentially lethal deadfall. We pass massive avalanche chutes littered with trees and debris from slides that went big, likely unseen, deep in the Palisades over the winter. Awaiting us at the finish is a shuttle captained by our gracious girlfriends, who undershot our true arrival time (only because my estimate of how long the traverse would take us was overly ambitious). They waited for us at the Big Elk trailhead for hours. In planning, I failed to consider that Palisades Reservoir is nearly 1,000 feet lower in elevation than Jackson. The snow thins into soft clumps before almost entirely giving way to a muddy hiking trail. We’re ready to be finished. Our “headsdown, get-there” mentality is a shame though, because the lower reaches of Big Elk Canyon are stunning. Near the Wyoming-Idaho state line, high rock walls straddle both sides of the creek, which here moves serious amounts of water towards Palisades Reservoir and eventually the Snake River. The craggy terrain provides habitat for mountain goats, which are a fairly rare wildlife sighting, yet two of the startled white rock climbers scamper away as we round a bend. After hiking and skiing about 18 miles over almost 13 hours we finally finish, and once we catch a cell signal it alleviates some anxieties. “We waited at the trailhead for about three hours, and we read and napped,” my girlfriend, Julia, says. “Then, when you guys were really late and we started getting worried, we went to the Mexican restaurant and got margaritas and food.” They circled back, though, to swoop up dog-tired pups and Ryan and me, now thirsty and pooped with half-broken bodies drenched in sweat and creek water. Still, we eagerly mosey into Alpine’s Bull Moose Saloon for grub and beers. JH

The 18-mile trek from Jackson Hole to Star Valley via Mosquito and Big Elk Creeks brings travelers across the Wyoming/Idaho state line near Palisades Reservoir. 94

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PHOTOGRAPHY - FINE ART - JEWELRY

RARE GALLERY Where the West meets modern. WHERE THE WEST MEETS MODERN.

Proprietors Rick and Hollee Armstrong www.raregalleryjacksonhole.com - 60 East Broadway - Next to the Snake River Grill - ph. 307.733.8726


Your local guide to: GETTING OUT BODY & SOUL NIGHTLIFE

JH

Best of

DINING ART SCENE EXPLORING JACKSON

Keith Curtis approaches the summit in the 900 Stock class during the annual World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb at Snow King Mountain.

RYAN DORGAN

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Best of

JH

GETTING OUT

IT D I D OW SN ST LA T? H NIG

HELP! The kids are driving me crazy! BY WHITNEY ROYSTER

NO

YES

Is it below zero? YES

Are you sick of skiing? (Be honest.)

Minus 20 plus wind chill.

YES

NO

Oh, my God. Are you in pain?

Go skiing. YES

I need an orthopedist.

Try the Teton County Rec Center; it has some new renovations and warm water. Check hours—some school days have limited family swim times.

NO NO

It does that?

But I might be numb.

My friend, it does.

Head to King Tubes on Snow King, or hit Hole Bowl for a game of pool or to knock down some pins. Check for times and reservations.

Bundle up and head for a walk up Cache Creek on the east side of town. Loops can be as short as 30 minutes.

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Best of

JH

GETTING OUT

Wonderland in Winter

You never know what wildlife you’ll meet when you get off the beaten path in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in winter, but you’re almost guaranteed to see few (if any) other people. BY BRIGID MANDER // PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSH METTEN

The winter season provides stillness and solitude across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. 100

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Beginning in late summer and early fall, moose can be seen at the lower elevations of the valley.

IT DOESN’T TAKE us long to leave behind the colorful chaos of the town of Jackson and the crowds of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Barely twenty minutes have passed, and my boyfriend Andrew and I have seemingly entered another world altogether. We drive an empty road north toward Yellowstone National Park through rolling sage flats under a deep blanket of snow. We parallel the shadow of the Tetons. The landscape is silent, calm, and lonely— and what we are in search of.

ON PREVIOUS MULTI-DAY SKI EXPEDITIONS IN NEARBY RANGES I’VE SEEN WOLVERINES, COYOTES, ERMINES, AND OTHER SMALL CREATURES. We’ve come this way for a quick breather, to take a break from our adrenaline-filled world of downhill skiing and the increasing human pressure in the small valley that is Jackson Hole, and to appreciate some of the more subtle things that make this place so special. Our plan is to camp at Two Ocean Lake, in the northernmost part of Grand Teton National Park. The only way to get to the lake, which is hardfrozen and buried beneath feet of snow at this time of year, is to ski or snowshoe. Andrew and I will do the former. Our goals are to unwind, enjoy the landscape, and check in on our fellow creatures wintering in the harsh conditions of this beautiful place.

THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE Ecosystem (GYE) is between 16 and 22 million acres, with moving boundaries, because wild animals don’t recognize political or park map lines. The GYE includes Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as well as six national forests, BLM lands, private and tribal lands, and municipalities, including the town of Jackson itself, which was built on traditional winter range for elk, deer, moose, and predators. It is one of the largest and most intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth and home to the largest concentration of wildlife in the Lower 48. Winter in the ecosystem’s core provides an ethereal experience. Late winter—we visit in March— the area feels like some prehistoric, undiscovered world. On previous multi-day ski expeditions in nearby ranges I’ve seen wolverines, coyotes, ermines, and other small creatures. Andrew and I are not sure what animals we’ll cross paths with on this trip. Bison are likely and wolves a possibility, but bears are (hopefully) still sleeping, and elk, antelope, and deer for the most part are still at their lower elevation wintering grounds. We are pretty sure we won’t see any other humans. Just a smattering of backcountry skiers are exploring the high Teton peaks to our south. Throughout winter, Yellowstone National Park’s 3,471 square miles are nearly devoid of people. That is close to the complete opposite of what this area will be in a mere four months. In July of 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available,

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Many trumpeter swans winter in and around Jackson Hole; some of these birds spend summers in the Canadian taiga.

Yellowstone welcomed 947,000 visitors, and in June 2018, Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) hosted 627,000 visitors. March, on the other hand, is Yellowstone’s third quietest month, with an average of about 22,000 visitors. GTNP gets an average of about 50,000 visitors in March, most of whom are backcountry skiers. ABOUT AN HOUR after leaving Jackson, Andrew and I are at the beginning of the road that in summer leads vehicles to the Two Ocean Lake Trailhead. In winter, though, this road is not plowed so the “trailhead” is at the highway. We park and click into the bindings of our Nordic skis and shoulder our backpacks, stuffed with sleeping bags and pads, our four-season tent, a light camp stove, extra layers, and food for two days. We begin skiing up a gentle snow-covered incline into the woods and enter a white silence. There is only the softly hushed glide of skis over snow, the compression of pole-basket pushes, and winter birdsong—clear notes floating through crisp air. The snow is pure white. The sky is grayish white. Even the green evergreen boughs are camouflaged by loads of white snow. Every now and then, a bird perches in a branch near us, inspecting us ground-bound interlopers. Andrew identifies these—ruffed grouse, hairy woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees—and more. A golden eagle circles overhead before banking off towards where Pacific Creek flows into the Snake River. 102

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(Although Two Ocean Lake is frozen, moving water is not.) An echoing call comes from across the snowy marshlands, and we determine it’s a trumpeter swan, wintering here from its summer home in the Canadian taiga, where winters are even harsher than in Wyoming. Many swans winter near Jackson, and some continue farther south to Utah and parts of eastern Idaho. During the spring and fall migrations, observant watchers may even see tundra swans stopping over on their travels between California and northern Canada. We glide rhythmically through the woods, a chilly breeze rippling through the trees every few minutes. Taking our time, we investigate stumps that woodpeckers have latticed, marvel at the different types of evergreens (grand firs, lodgepole pines, spruce), and aspens. We peer up close at “rubs,” the marks made on trees when, in late summer, bull elk and mule deer scrape their antlers to remove the velvet and/or to assert their presence to others of their species. We even see a few recent elk tracks heading south, no doubt the leading edge of the spring migration. Reaching the top of a rise, we look down its gently sloping backside to a wide-open, flat snowy expanse where red willow stalks contrast starkly against the snow. A young bull moose moves through the snow, browsing for food along the wetland corridor. A pair of sandhill cranes, newly arrived from their winter home, perhaps as far south as New Mexico, delicately


We fall asleep under a vast sky to a soundtrack of mysterious screeches and calls. We’re not that isolated—our car is barely five miles away—but we feel as if we’re days from the nearest road. Tomorrow, we’ll wake up for hot coffee

and a whole new adventure with the area’s wildlife. Whether we see a lot or a few, birds or busy coyotes, we already feel revitalized—and most of all, lucky to be a part of this place, if only for a short time. JH

JOSH METTEN

NUTS AND BOLTS: A permit is required for any overnight backcountry camping in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks; secure one by calling 307/739-3309 (Grand Teton) or 307/344-2160 (Yellowstone). If you choose to camp in the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest, permits are not required. Various wildlife tour operators including Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures offer group and private guided winter wildlife outings in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Some customizable, multi-day options on skis or snowshoes include lodging in Yellowstone National Park at Old Faithful Inn or basing out of Gardiner, Montana. jhecotouradventures.com

pick through some brush on long stick legs. Their rattling calls are exotic. Through binoculars we watch as they begin their mating dance: wings spread, they jump up and down in circles around each other and dramatically bob their heads. I’ve never witnessed this storied behavior, which I find completely riveting. We watch the pair for 15 minutes and would have watched longer had they not hopped and bobbed their way out of sight. Moving on, we do not talk much. We soak up the silence and the occasional golden rays of sunshine that slice through the cloud cover. Stopping as frequently as we do, it takes us two hours to ski the three miles to Two Ocean Lake, now merely a placid, white expanse. Beyond it, the Tetons rise above pine forests. We ski around the lake as slowly as we approached, and after a mile or so pitch our tent in a protected pine grove a little back from the shore, in case any wind arises.

MICHAEL PRUETT

REBEKKAH KELLEY

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EXCEPTIONALSERVICE “This is my second transaction working with Budge Real Estate; and any future Jackson Hole property transactions will be with them, as well. The whole team is proactive, available any day or time, and extremely knowledgeable about each and every home in the region. Given WY does not provide previous sales publicly, this general knowledge is extremely valuable. They also go out of their way to understand the client to best serve their needs.” - S.A.

EXPERIENCEDTEAM With nearly 30 years of successful experience in Jackson’s real estate business, we have special insight into what works and what doesn’t when selling property. With the combined backgrounds of our team, our experience can help position your property to attract buyers with the best outcome. Our market knowledge, expert service, and personalized attention have earned us the trust of a repeat and referral based clientele.

EXQUISITEMARKETING We give your property the most exposure through Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates’ exclusive marketing programs and affiliate networks including Christie’s International Real Estate and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. We focus on the changing face of real estate by utilizing premium online placement, custom print marketing, and targeted local, national, and international reach. BUDGEREALESTATE.COM budgerealtygroup@jhrea.com 80 W. Broadway, Jackson, WY

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GETTING OUT

Skijoring Being pulled behind a dog or horse on skis is a sport. Whether it’s a serious sport or not is up to you. BY JIM MAHAFFIE // PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA NOBLE

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THERE’S A LITTLE furry bullet in Jackson Hole that looks like she belongs on a starlet’s lap. Except this pooch prefers snow to starlets. Mayhem, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, lives to rocket around the valley’s cross-country ski trails … while pulling her owners Karl and Jane Clements on their skis. A quick-release flexible leash is clipped onto Jane’s waist and to a chest harness on Mayhem. The 25-pound hound was raised around huskies and, like many dogs, loves to pull. “Mayhem always pulls on her leash and drives us crazy,” Karl says. “So we figured we’d put that ability to work for good and not evil.” THIS IS REALLY A THING? Being pulled on skis has been around as long as skiing itself. Reindeer pull skiers in Scandinavian countries, and skijoring behind horses was an event at the Nordic Games in Stockholm in 1901. Horse-style skijoring competitions were introduced in the 1928 Olympics in Switzerland. The sport first came to the U.S. (New York) in the early 1900s, then spread west. By the late 1940s it was included in the annual Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival. By the 1990s, skijoring was part of the Leadville, Colorado, Crystal Carnival and also winter carnivals in Red Lodge, Montana, and Vail, Colorado. Skijoring has a governing body, which enforces rules and regulations for doping and sportsmanship. The North American Ski Joring Association (now Skijoring America, or SA) was founded in 1999; its first official organizational meeting was in Jackson Hole. In 2018, SA managed eight events; most were in the Northern Rockies. “We’re growing, with almost double the number of contestants in our races, and northern states from Maine to Montana are requesting we have races there,” says SA president Adam Rys-Sikora.

Mayhem, a 25-pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, pulls Jane Clements near Teton Village.

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WHY SKIJOR? Skijoring “is a win-win for you and your dog,” says Amy Vignaroli, who owns Teton Tails, which carries two brands of harnesses. In Jackson Hole, you can find dogs pulling skiers on groomed and packed trails and roads. Most dogjoring harnesses come with a bungee leash, so owners don’t get yanked off their skis if their dog suddenly changes direction, and a quick-release. The latter is handy when you want to detach suddenly.

Mayhem and Jane Clements

EQUINE VERSUS CANINE Skijoring—Norwegian for “ski driving”—describes a person on skis being pulled by a horse or dog (or sometimes by a snow machine or even a car). While skijoring with your dog is usually a happy, relaxing outing, skijoring with horses is an entirely different ballgame: the skier holds onto a rope tied to the saddle pommel as the horse and its rider negotiate an obstacle course while racing the clock. The skier hurtles along, navigating jumps and turns, and, for extra points, grabbing and collecting strategically placed hoop rings. At the Jackson Hole Shrine Club’s annual skijoring competition, the competitors being pulled behind horses are a mix of skiers and cowboys. Because horse skijoring is much faster than dogjoring—horses gallop at between 25 and 30 miles an hour—and because horse skijoring requires skiers to negotiate jumps and carve turns, these skijorers use alpine ski gear. Dogjorers most often use cross-country skis to avoid sharp metal edges that could injure a dog. 108

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GETTING STARTED “The problem is lots of dogs are taught not to pull, and switching over to skijoring is tough,” says Vignaroli. “Just about any dog can pull a skier though. It helps to have a leader ahead, human or animal, so the dog can follow. Take it slow, make it fun, and don’t have huge expectations the first few times.” Want to try skijoring with horses? The Jackson Hole Shrine Club has an amateur category in their yearly competition. But maybe you should try dogjoring first.


Skier Bill Allen hangs on as rider John Hyde’s horse pulls him down the track during Skijor USA’s Jackson Hole Skijoring competition at the Teton County Fairgrounds.

SKIJORING—NORWEGIAN FOR “SKI DRIVING”—DESCRIBES A PERSON ON SKIS BEING PULLED BY A HORSE OR DOG (OR SOMETIMES BY A SNOW MACHINE OR EVEN A CAR). SPECTATING The Jackson Hole Shrine Club traditionally hosts the valley’s major (and sometimes only) annual skijoring competition. Depending on conditions, the event, which is usually held in February, changes venues. Races have been held at the airstrip in Melody Ranch, south of the Town of Jackson, in Teton Village, and at the Teton County Fairgrounds. If you can’t catch skijoring in person, watch the 49-minute 2015 documentary, Ice Cowboys, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the equine version of the sport in Colorado and Montana. JH

NUTS & BOLTS Pet Place Plus (1645 Martin Ln., 307/733-5355) and Teton Tails (515 W. Broadway Ave., 307/739-9247) both carry skijoring harnesses for dogs; they range in price from $120 to $175. Easy (read: flat) trails include the Stilson Loop Trail, near the intersection of Teton Village Road and Wyoming Highway 22, and the Snake River levee by the Wilson Bridge. More difficult trails (for dogs and skiers) include Old Pass Road, Cache Creek, and Game Creek. All of these trails are free to use. The privately owned Turpin Meadow Ranch (24505 Buffalo Valley Rd, Moran, 307/543-2000; turpinmeadowranch.com) has 15 kilometers of groomed trails at varying levels of difficulty; dogs are allowed on all of them and day-use passes are $15. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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GETTING OUT

Hidingin Plain Sight You can’t approach an elk on foot without scaring it (and you shouldn’t because approaching large wildlife is illegal and dangerous). But you can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride into the middle of the herd wintering on the National Elk Refuge. BY CODY COTTIER 110

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RYAN DORGAN

RYAN DORGAN

Elk roam the lowlands of the National Elk Refuge as the ground begins to thaw.

Depending on snowfall, sleighs switch between wheels and runners.

AS OUR RED wooden sleigh rumbled and jangled along welltrodden ruts, hundreds of indistinct brown dots peppered the snowy ground in the distance. It was March 21, the day after the equinox, and the atrophied spring sun was just beginning to limber up for a new season. It shone on the swooping Teton peaks to the north, on the bustling town of Jackson to the south, and, all around, on a sea of shimmering white. But our eyes were set dead ahead, on the far-off figures slowly growing recognizable as winter-toughened wapiti that had come down from the mountains to feed. Their migration brought them—as it has each year for far longer than humans have been around to admire and Instagram it—to the lands of what is now the National Elk Refuge: a 25,000-acre swath of the valley floor where they gather by the thousands. Snow as deep as 15 feet (or about 50 elk hooves) buried their alpine summer grazing grounds above. A sleigh drawn by a pair of Percheron draft horses named Thunder and Lightning brought me and a dozen or so bundled and blanketwrapped tourists up close and personal with a couple of bunches of the 8,000 elk estimated to be on the refuge. Our sleigh, which driver Michael Warburton cautioned didn’t have a parking brake, jerked across the snow like an old wooden roller coaster. Looking over the edge I noticed ubiquitous

clusters of semi-frozen elk scat; these little brown dots were the first sign of the immense brown dots: Within a few minutes of settling onto the leather benches, we neared our first group of elk. It was easy to make them out as they plodded through the two-foot (six-hoof) snowpack, scratching at the hidden grass underneath or just lazing, trying to save their energy. Though a human approaching on foot would send them running, in our sleigh we got close enough to hear the elk grunting and snorting just a few yards away, the smell of their musty coats wafting toward us. “They don’t see us as a bunch of people with sleighs and horses,” Warburton said. “To them, we’re just one big, funnylooking creature.” CONGRESS ESTABLISHED THE National Elk Refuge in 1912 after several winters during which large numbers of Jackson Hole elk died due to the growing town of Jackson’s location smack in the middle of the animal’s historic winter range, and also because of competition from domestic livestock. According to Warburton, early settlers gave surreal accounts of being able to walk half a mile out of town without touching the ground. “They would just step from the back of one dead elk to the next,” he said. The winter wanderings of these iconic ungulates from the high alpine reaches to the valley floor likely go back WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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“THEY DON’T SEE US AS A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WITH SLEIGHS AND HORSES,” WARBURTON SAID. “TO THEM, WE’RE JUST ONE BIG, FUNNY-LOOKING CREATURE.”

centuries or millennia. “These elk are here,” Warburton said, “because their mother brought them here their first wintertime, and her mother before them, back through the generations.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has managed the refuge since 1940. During all but the mildest of Jackson Hole winters, the USFWS puts out alfalfa pellets for the animals because foraging through deep and ice-crusted snow is difficult and energy-sapping. (This feeding program is highly controversial for its potential to promote disease among dense herds, but that’s a story on its own: Read it online in the winter 2019 issue of Jackson Hole magazine.) Even with feeding, the past few months of record-breaking snowfall have not been easy on Jackson Hole’s elk. In fact, the first elk we saw up close had recently

Sleigh drivers steer their teams on the National Elk Refuge.

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died. (In an average winter about 1.5 percent of the herd perishes, according to refuge biologist Eric Cole.) Many of the living elk sported shaggy coats. But despite their haggard appearance, the elk still had a certain majesty. Their lumbering bodies were massive, a fact that was difficult to appreciate until the sleigh drew very close. The ones that weren’t mangy had gorgeous, long, beige and chestnut fur. Warburton guided Thunder and Lightning to a couple of different groups. While there were thousands of elk on the refuge, they hung out in smaller groups of several dozen each. These groups stretched as far as the eye could see. Every few moments I was freshly awed at the sheer size of the throng. Mid-March is smack in the middle of shedding season. (Male elk lose, or “shed,” their antlers every year and grow


WHILE IT IS the National Elk Refuge, many other species call this area home, including bison, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, ravens, and eagles. We saw the last two on the carcass of the dead elk. The eagle scavenged assertively while an unkindness of ravens (yes, that is the official

NUTS & BOLTS From mid-December into early April, sleigh rides depart daily from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center several times an hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The National Elk Refuge’s private contractor, Double H Bar, Inc, charges $25 for for adults and $15 for children 5-12; kids under 4 are free. Private sleighs cost $450 and can fit up to 18 people; 307/733-0277; bit.ly/JHmW20Elk

Managing Vacation Rental Properties in Idaho’s Teton Valley Since 1992

BRADLY J. BONER

WHILE THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF ELK ON THE REFUGE, THEY HUNG OUT IN SMALLER GROUPS OF SEVERAL DOZEN EACH. THESE GROUPS STRETCHED AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. EVERY FEW MOMENTS I WAS FRESHLY AWED AT THE SHEER SIZE OF THE THRONG.

term for a group of ravens; quite fitting from the elk’s perspective) stood in line. On the far side of the herd more eagles circled. I saw several coyotes skulking about, no doubt with similar intentions. With the circle of life on full display, we marveled in silence for awhile at the wintry Serengeti-like scene. The snow underhoof glistened as the elk wandered to and fro, nibbling at the icy grass they’d uncovered. In a couple of months, they’d trek back to their summer homes high in the surrounding mountains. But in March they roamed before us, congregated in bewildering bulk, outlasting the cold in wait of warmer days. JH

new ones.) We saw bull elk that still had both their antlers, others with no antlers, and, occasionally, a goofy-looking uniantler elk. We didn’t see any antlers actually fall off; but Lori Iverson, a refuge spokeswoman who was along on the sleigh ride, said that in her 14 years on the job she’s never seen an elk drop an antler either. This didn’t stop her from initiating stare-downs with wobblyantlered bulls and swinging her head wildly, challenging them to shake off the loose appendages.

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BODY & SOUL

Lizzie Johnson (left) and Bea Tufo (right) work with Pursue Movement Studio’s Megaformer machines.

More to the Core Core strength training is an essential ingredient to keeping mountain athletes flexible and injury-free. BY JULIE FUSTANIO KLING // PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHRYN ZIESIG

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SKIING IS HARD—especially here in Jackson Hole!—and it is hard on the body. Jackson Hole locals and visitors alike know this. What they might not know is how important core strength, balance, and flexibility are to being the best skier they can be and how they can help prevent ski injuries. There may be no official studies that prove this, but most every local has an anecdotal tale about how they could have prevented a torn ACL, aggravated back, or pulled muscle if they had had a stronger core and/or greater flexibility. World Champion Big Mountain skier Crystal Wright opened Wright Training, which specializes in ski fitness, after a season-ending injury. “So many injuries can be prevented if you fix body mechanics, strengthen your core, and increase flexibility,” she says. “I had to learn the hard way through being debilitated from my back and knees.” While research on core strength versus injury rates is lacking, there is research showing that core muscles stabilize the spine and improve the power of your limb movement, which may indirectly reduce lower extremity injuries.

CORE

NIKI SUE MUELLER, a big mountain skier, yogi, and ambassador for Head Skis, has taught flexibility through yoga for 20 years. She recently added specific core strength exercises to her classes at Inversion Yoga. “Core is so important for the sports we do in Jackson Hole,” she says. In addition to yoga, Mueller teaches sculpt classes (also at Inversion Yoga). Sculpt weaves in fitness trends like “Tabatas,” four-minute periods of high-intensity interval training. For 20 seconds, you row, pedal, jump, or do any other activity that raises your heart rate; you then rest for 10 seconds. A traditional Tabata, which was “invented” by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from Tokyo’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports, encompasses eight rounds of these 20/10 sets. Align Pilates owner Laura Modena believes legs are central to core-strength training, as nonobvious as it may seem. “People feel much more than abdominal strength in Pilates,” she says. “We are doing foot work, hip work, and a lot more to get people to feel their abdominals.”

core

E X E R C I S E

ALIGN PILATES’ MODIFIED CHEST LIFT Modena says this will challenge your neck flexors and get rid of a relatively new phenomenon called “Text Neck” 1

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground.

2

Rest your palms down at the side of your body.

3

Hover your head as if you are sliding a piece of paper underneath it to encourage your neck to engage.

4

Roll up bringing your chest to your ribs, ribs to belly, and sliding your hands gently toward your feet without putting any pressure down on the ground.

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FLEXIBILITY BALANCE

RECRUITING YOUR CORE is as important to balance as eyesight and nutrition are, says Scott “Smitty” Smith of One to One Wellness. Like dance teachers who tell their students to pick one spot to look at as they twirl so they don’t get dizzy, Smith has clients focus their gaze as he encourages active isolation, or quick movements, to force them to release one muscle to engage another. “I’m not into the 20-second hold,” he says. “I’m into the 2-second hold so that you are getting a lot of movement when you stretch.” With quicker movements, it is easier to flush the muscles of metabolic waste and bring in electrolytes and fluids from a good diet, Smith says. Nutrition supports the cells in active muscles but it’s hard for that nutrition to be absorbed by tight muscles. By doing active isolated stretching (AIS), he says, “You physically pull your leg with a rope so you can send a signal to the quads to release the hamstrings and support the cells in your active muscles.”

balance

THE MONKEY-SEE-monkey-do approach to flexibility is a trigger for a lot of fitness fanatics. If you don’t have the stability to extend a posture, you will deprive your joints of blood supply and nutrients, strain your muscles, and cause them to tire more easily, according to sports medicine experts at the University of California, Davis. This is why stretching is so beneficial. Stretching increases the mobility of soft tissue (that can restrict flexibility), improve circulation, and enhance performance by allowing muscles to return to a resting state. Flexibility also lengthens your muscles so that you take pressure off the tendons that connect muscles to bones. The Barre Method isolates muscles with repetitions, some of which use light weights, at a ballet bar. Megaformer classes use slow movements on an apparatus designed to challenge your balance. Pursue Movement Studio offers both Barre and Megaformer classes and Jen Thorne, a Pursue instructor, says both are designed to lengthen and strengthen muscles, and are also effective at improving stamina. “Athletes have told us how strong they feel when they get out in the mountains after training with us—they can really keep up,” she says.

E X E R C I S E

TOE TAPS AND LEG LIFTS

Smith says these will challenge your hip flexors and lower abs

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1

Lie on your back.

2

Place your arms straight down at your sides, palms on the floor.

3

Make sure your sacrum is anchored and your ribs, but not your lower back, are grounded.

4

Levitate your lower back with a slight tilt of your pelvis.

5

Bring one leg up so your femur is vertical and your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle; your shin will be parallel with the floor.

6

Bring your second leg to join the first (this position is called “table top”).

7

While keeping the 90-degree bend in your knee and engaging your core (without changing the position of your pelvis), lower one set of toes to the floor.

8

Alternate feet, doing 10 taps with each.

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

flexibility

E X E R C I S E

MODIFIED BIRD DOG

Thorne says this will challenge your internal and external obliques 1

Start on your hands and knees; hold your head higher than shoulders.

2

Make sure your spine is neutral (as if your back is against the wall).

3

Slide one leg behind you, either keeping your toes on the floor or with the leg parallel to the ground.

4

Push this leg behind you with energy as if you’re pushing away an imaginary wall, while maintaining a neutral spine and pelvis.

5

Alternate between one leg and the other, doing about 10 “pushes” with each leg.


What is your “core” really??

Wild. Open. Connected.

Ask the trainers at 22 Gym how they define “core” and they’ll give you a dissertation. Health coach Pete Wilson, who teaches CrossFit classes, drew a diagram of a cube and explained where the six muscle groups are in 3D: The diaphragm is at the top, the pelvic floor at the bottom, the internal and external obliques on the sides, the quadratus lumborum at the back, and the rectus abdominis in front. “The core is circumferential,” he says. “When the cube is bomber, the back is protected.” Physical therapist and Medicine Wheel Wellness owner Francine Bartlett thinks of the core as more than the central channel between the pelvic floor and throat. As she explains it, the core extends from the shoulder and hip joints to each of the four limbs. “It’s like an apple,” she says; “you set it down and it stands tall because you’ve left a little flesh on either side of the core.”

Butt Don’t Forget About Your Hamstrings Augustine “Augie”Hernandez, who opened Training to be Balanced in 2005, often considers the gluteus maximus a part of the core. The glutes are the strongest muscles per cross sectional area (thickness) in the entire body, he says. When the core is not working, the lower back and the hamstrings are forced do the job of the glutes. Weak glutes can make us compensate with our quads. That’s why in the spring, as athletes shift from winter sports like skiing and snowboarding to running and climbing, Hernandez adjusts class workouts to encourage strengthening of the glutes and extension of the hamstrings. “Runners often get back pain because their core can’t maintain stability when they run for the first time in the season,” he says. “Jackson is a linear endurance community. We spend a lot of time hunched over in sports and then we spend eight hours hunched over a computer.” JH

Celebrating 40 years of Wild, Open, Connected in Northwest Wyoming. From the first easement placed on R Lazy S Ranch in 1980, to the recent Save the Block community conservation project, and all the 55,000 acres of protected land in between, the Jackson Hole Land Trust has been consistently dedicated to creating a wide, open, and connected landscape. The Jackson Hole Land Trust is looking forward to another 40 years of fulfilling its vision of a legacy of protected open spaces, wildlife habitat, working lands, and community spaces across Northwest Wyoming that inspire current and future generations.

(top) Spring Gulch 389 Acres protected since 2010 Drew Rush

(bottom) Save the Block Downtown greenspace, 2 acres protected since 2019 Orijin Media

jhlandtrust.org WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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NIGHTLIFE

Beyond Budweiser Party with the Stars

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and Beer Nuts

Four brewpubs in downtown Jackson have won awards for their beers. They’ve got food to match. BY SCOTT EREN

AMBER BAESLER

AMBER BAESLER

PAIRING FOOD AND beer is nothing new. Certain foods—think pizza, hotdogs, or peanuts—have accompanied beers consumed at homes and bars forever. These simple staples were the perfect counterpoints to the simple, easydrinking beers that were, until rather recently, standard. But the craft beer revolution has changed the beer many Americans drink. Brewpubs in Jackson Hole are evidence that it’s changing how we eat, too. But Jackson Hole being Jackson Hole, the newly elevated food programs at our brewpubs aren’t quite so fussy as those at destination bar-restaurants like Chicago’s The Publican or Churchkey in Washington, D.C., where you might find rabbit liver mousse paired with a spicy French saison. Here, burgers are menu-mates along with regional and international dishes like shishito peppers with yuzu aioli, baked ricotta crostini, and khao soi, a rice noodle soup widely served in Laos and northern Thailand. (In the latter, it’s sometimes called “Chang Mai Noodles/ Soup.”) A bonus is that four breweries— StillWest Brewery & Grill, Roadhouse Brewing Company, Snake River Brewing, and Melvin Brewing—are within our compact downtown; each is within a tenminute walk of the other three. No car required, even in the brisk winter months.

Charcuterie alongside the Raspberry Beret saison and Hen of the Woods appetizer at the Roadhouse Pub and Eatery on the Town Square. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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RYAN DORGAN AMBER BAESLER

StillWest Brewery and Grill’s Bama Sandwich.

Roadhouse Pub and Eatery includes a 20-barrel system for small batch recipes.

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STILLWEST BREWERY & GRILL JACKSON’S NEWEST BREWERY, StillWest Brewery & Grill, is also the most physically imposing: it’s a three-story building near the base of Snow King Mountain. Walk past the outdoor lounge and coffee shop on its ground floor and head up to the second floor, home to the dining room, a large bar (where the full food menu is served), the brewing operation, and an expansive balcony with an impressive view of Snow King. The dining room feels airy with a vaulted ceiling; the wood used on the walls was reclaimed from a barn in Tennessee. StillWest’s brewing operation is helmed by owner Don Alan Hankins, who brewed for years in Alabama before opening StillWest with his wife Chaney. Hankins’ beers tend towards faithful interpretations of classic styles. Beers like Kolsch and Irish Red Ale anchor the menu year-round, and limited-run beers like Peach Wheat or a spiced pumpkin ale emerge when seasonally appropriate. The food menu here is strong on southern classics. The Bama Sandwich— seared thick-cut bologna, bread-andbutter pickles, and a fried egg—is wonderfully executed. Also popular is the modern and colorful walnut pesto pasta with eggplant and chicken. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 45 E. Snow King Ave., 307/201-5955, stillwestbreweryandgrill.com ROADHOUSE BREWING COMPANY WHILE STILLWEST IS the newest brewery in town, the title of newest taproom goes to Roadhouse Brewing Company. Roadhouse was founded in 2012—it started in the back of a now-defunct barbeque restaurant on Teton Village Road—then moved to a larger facility two miles west of downtown in 2017, and, late last year, opened a full-fledged brewpub on the Town Square. Roadhouse is the brainchild of brewer Colby Cox and chef/ restaurateur Gavin Fine. You’ll immediately notice that the space is built to foster lingering, with tons of seating and sports-tuned televisions.


BRADLY J. BONER

Melvin Brewing was born in a small closet in the back of Thai Me Up restaurant.

One wall of the dining room is clear glass, behind which lives a 20-barrel brewing system used for small test-run batches of new recipes. (Roadhouse’s main brewing facility remains in West Jackson.) Five or six of the taproom’s experimental beers are available at any given time, and they’re only available here. In addition to these small-batch beers, Roadhouse has about a dozen of its flagship beers and an equal number of beers from other regional breweries on tap. In total, more than 30 draft options are available and, yes, Roadhouse does flights. On the food side, the menu satisfies those looking for either a full meal or a snack. You can’t go wrong with a sausage or hotdog plate (made locally by Fine’s butcher imprint Bovine + Swine). The classic homemade beer pretzel is enough to share. If you want to eat more adventurously, the duck wings—rich meat and crispy skin tamed by a sharp Chinese mustard sauce—are shareable, too. Those looking to lean into Mountain West ingredients will be happy to find bison, elk, and trout on the menu. Open daily at 11:30 a.m., 20 E. Broadway Ave., 307/739-0700, roadhousebrewing.com MELVIN BREWING MELVIN BREWING ISN’T immediately recognizable as a brewery. This is because it’s inside the restaurant Thai Me

Up. Still, Melvin has won more awards for its brews than any other local brewery (it is also the only local brewery with international distribution and brewpubs outside the valley). Numerous awards recognize Melvin for making some of the best hoppy beers of any brewery in the world. Core beers Hubert, Melvin, and 2x4—a pale ale, IPA, and double IPA, respectively—have all received gold medals in international competitions. To further aid in hoppy exploration, every two months Melvin features a new Imperial IPA, aka a high alcohol hop bomb. If hoppy beers aren’t your thing, don’t worry. The brewery has also won awards with its stouts and lagers. Of the four brewery-restaurants in town, Melvin/Thai Me Up is your best bet for late night action. (It’s also the best bet for Kung Fu fans; its TVs are continuously tuned to vintage Kung Fu movies.) Food and drinks are available here until, or even past, 11 p.m. You can’t go wrong with the Central and Northern Thai curries or the burgers, which come with toppings like fried peppers and house-made Thai mayo. Also, the late night snacks are magic: “Cowabunga rolls” are a homemade take on pepperoni pizza rolls; “Thai poutine” consists of fries topped with curry and mozzarella cheese. Open daily from 5 p.m. to late, 75 E. Pearl Ave., 307/733-0005, melvinbrewing.com WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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The Snake River Brewing Company is popular with locals and visitors.

SNAKE RIVER BREWING WITH A TWENTY-FOOT “brewpub” sign and facilities that take up an entire block, Wyoming’s oldest brewery (founded in 1994) is hard to miss. Snake River Brewing, known as SRB or simply “the

IN TERMS OF FOOD, SRB IS THE CLOSEST TO TRADITIONAL PUB FARE, WITH A MENU BUILT AROUND SEASONALLY CHANGING BURGERS, PIZZA, AND PASTAS.

brewpub,” is one of Jackson’s most popular hangout spots. It’s spacious, casual, and families with members under the age of 21 are welcome in the upstairs dining area. For beers, Pako’s IPA is always on tap, along with the worthwhile Zonker Stout. 124

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If you happen to be lucky enough to be around when SRB is pouring its coffee stout made with local Snake River Roasting coffee (this usually happens in late October), order it. The past two years it’s won gold in the crowded coffeestout category at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival. In terms of food, SRB is the closest to traditional pub fare, with a menu built around seasonally changing burgers, pizza, and pastas. But here traditional doesn’t mean boring. There’s a pizza topped with house-made chorizo and dried figs, and a bison burger with frisée and smoked onion aioli. Appetizers include beer-battered buffalo cauliflower, and fried green tomatoes with tasso ham and pimento cheese. Both have the kind of salty-savory richness that pairs well with hops. Open daily at 11 a.m., 265 S. Millward St., 307/739-2337, snakeriverbrewing.com JH


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DINING

East Rising Jackson Hole’s Asian dining options go beyond the usual. BY SCOTT EREN

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“IT SEEMS THAT restaurants open here in waves. First all the barbecue places opened within a year of each other. [Then, last spring/summer] we went through a wave of cool Asian places opening up.” So says Nick Phillips, owner of Sweet Cheeks Meats, a butcher shop and eatery on Scott Lane in Jackson. He’s not wrong. Take a stroll around downtown and you may first notice the abundance of barbeque restaurants. You’ll also find plenty of Asian dining options. These include relatively recently


Sweet Cheeks Meats often blurs the lines between American barbeque and traditional Asian fare. RYAN DORGAN

opened restaurants that exceed what you might expect to find in a small, landlocked town. These new Asian restaurants suggest that Jackson Hole diners now embrace food with a more precise sense of place. Suda, a Japanese gastro pub, shines with a variety of noodle, fried, and grilled dishes, all perfect for sharing. The Phoenix and the Dragon serves rarely seen Malaysian and

Filipino dishes filtered through a Hawaiian lens. Everest Momo Shack’s menu includes Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian dishes. And then there’s Phillips’s Sweet Cheeks Meats, which, despite its very American name, keeps diners on their toes with specials that range from hearty Vietnamese sandwiches to Hong Kong-style stuffed baos. (Sweet Cheeks also dishes the best dumplings in town.) WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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SUDA WHILE THE OTHER restaurants mentioned in this article tend to cross borders to incorporate food from multiple Asian countries, Suda focuses on just one: Japan. Its menu is styled after Japan’s many izakayas, a type of bar-restaurant that serves food intended to be eaten with beer or sake. Many izakayas have limited menus—maybe even just one dish—but Suda’s menu includes several different Japanese offerings, including grilled yakimono dishes, fried katsustyle foods, ramens, and raw sashimi items. Because of meticulous attention to detail, Suda’s menu does not fall victim to its breadth. Fried foods like plump scallops and pork cutlet (an izakaya classic) arrive on a wire rack, keeping them light and crisp with no soggy spots. Kushiyaki, skewers of different foods cooked over oak binchotan charcoal imported from Wakayama, are always perfectly cooked. Options include shishito peppers, chicken liver, bacon-wrapped dates, or foie gras. Sashimi offerings are impressively fresh for a town situated a time zone away from the ocean. This is largely thanks to the owners’ years of experience sourcing fish for sushi at Sudachi, Suda’s older sister restaurant on the West Bank. The main difference between Suda and an izakaya in Japan is the design. Many izakaya in Japan are cozy, with diners packed in tightly together under low ceilings. Suda is open and airy with vaulted ceilings, a large bar, and a dining room that meanders over multiple levels. Open Monday through Saturday 5 to 9 p.m., 140 N. Cache St. Suite B, 307/201-1616, sudajh.com

SUDA’s kimchi tantan ramen.

RYAN DORGAN

THESE NEW ASIAN RESTAURANTS SUGGEST THAT JACKSON HOLE DINERS NOW EMBRACE FOOD WITH A MORE PRECISE SENSE OF PLACE.

Eric and Zarina Sakai serve Malaysian and Filipino dishes filtered through a Hawaiian lens.

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THE PHOENIX AND THE DRAGON AN INSTANT INSTAGRAM star thanks to its colorful and fun space—wallpaper featuring a whimsical print with baboons, birds, and flowers—Phoenix and the Dragon is more than pretty pictures. It is one of the friendliest and most welcoming restaurants in town. Much of this comes from co-owner Zarina Sakai, who is almost always the first face to great you, beaming from behind the bar. She and husband Eric are omnipresent and give this restaurant the feel of a mom-and-pop spot. The 30-something couple cooks the food they grew up with and the food they like to eat themselves. That means poke bowls from Eric’s time in Hawaii and the classic Filipino chicken and rice dish inasal na Manok that Zarina grew up on. The Sakais serve their version of the latter with delicate-yet-rich garlic


SMART GIVING. EFFECTIVE NONPROFITS. STRONG COMMUNITY.

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At Everest Momo Shack, Rita Sherpa cooks traditional Nepalese dumplings, among other Indian/Nepalese dishes.

fried rice topped with chicken marinated in lemongrass and spices. The dish is gorgeously colorful, with brick-red chicken on top of purple cabbage, golden carrots, and green onions. Because Eric and Zarina personally tend towards eating gluten- and lactose-free, it also means Phoenix and the Dragon is the best bet in town to accommodate groups that have diners with different allergies and aversions. (Plenty of dishes are meat-free, too.) Even diners without a dairy intolerance love the restaurant’s signature dessert: lactose-free soft serve ice cream. As one who succumbed to lactose intolerance about a decade ago, I nearly cried with joy when I was able to again enjoy soft serve. Phoenix and the Dragon uses a coconut-based mix that has an amazing creamy texture. Topping options are modern: Japanese matcha powder, extra virgin olive oil, or chocolate-tahini sauce. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunch; Dinner 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday, 145 N. Glenwood St., 307/200-6436, phoenixdragonjh.com EVEREST MOMO SHACK WHEN SANGE AND Rita Sherpa opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant on West Pearl Avenue in early 2019 the couple and their food were already established in the valley. The Sherpas and their Everest Momo Shack booth had been staples at local concerts, farmers markets, and fairs for more than a decade. They’d also had previous brick-and-mortar locations in Jackson and in Victor, Idaho. The restaurant’s name comes from its signature dish, momos, the traditional thick-skinned dumplings served throughout the northern Indian and Nepalese Himalaya. They are either steamed or pan- or deep-fried and stuffed with minced meat or veggies. Everest Momo Shack nods to its location in Wyoming by doing bison-stuffed momos. The Chili Momos are deep-fried dumplings topped with peppers, onions, and chili sauce. Not in the mood for dumplings? Momo Shack also offers Indian and Nepali style curries like chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5 to 9:30 p.m., 245 W. Pearl Ave., 307/201-1674, no website SWEET CHEEKS MEATS SWEET CHEEKS MEATS is a butcher shop that does double duty as one of town’s most inventive and creative eateries. (Because it has just five seats and a standing-only counter, most people get their food to go.) Sweet Cheeks’ prepared foods started out with grab-and-go items for breakfast and lunch that quickly became locals’ favorites. Last winter, owner Nick Phillips brought on chef Brad Ledo and the menu options grew. 130

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While the grab-and-go breakfast remains the same, Sweet Cheeks expanded lunch options to sandwiches that change daily and might include the best bahn mi in town. (Bahn mi is a classic Vietnamese sandwich that typically includes a combination of roast meat and liver pâté with pickled radishes, jalapeños, and cilantro.) It also has themed happy hours, one of which is “Asian Apres.” During this, diners choose among different types of dumplings, egg rolls, and baos with meaty fillings of local beef or pork. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a day when Phillips and Ledo blur the lines between American barbeque and Asian fare, like house-smoked brisket stuffed inside a dumpling. “I’m happy to serve food I want to eat,” Phillips says. “We want to keep it interesting for us and for our customers. If that means pushing boundaries on flavors and spice, we’ll do it.” Open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday, 185 Scott Ln., 307/734-6328, sweetcheeksmeats.com JH


When was the last time you treated yourself? Come have fun with our cheese and chocolate fondue, kick back to live music, and select one of our extensive value-priced European wines.

Specials: Wurst Fest Sunday December 8 après kick off 1pm–8pm Après hours 3pm–5:30pm $2 PBR Tall Boys Daily during après Sundays Hof Band Polka during après 3pm–6pm Wednesday and Saturdays Live music during après 3pm–6pm Fondue Friday Après through dinner 3pm–6pm Wings on Wednesday 50 cent wings during après

Come Visit!

3255 W. Village Dr. Teton Village, WY 83025 307.733.3242

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DINING OUT

RESTAURANT

LOCATION

PHONE

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

ALPENHOF LODGE Alpenrose

Teton Village

307-733-3242 $$$

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Jackson

307-734-PINK(7465)

Snake River Brewing Co.

Jackson

307-739-2337 $ $$

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Wilson

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The Silver Dollar Bar and Grill

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GRAND TARGHEE

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ALCOHOL

KIDS’ MENU

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Daily drink specials, live music & Fondue Friday

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Après music, great food, and delicious drinks

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Homemade breakfast, lunch, pastries, & espresso bar

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Vegetarian friendly Mediterranean small plates/entrees

Enjoy Rocky Mountain cuisine at 9,095 R

Enjoy lunch and a full bar under the tram

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Incredible views, fabulous food & close to town

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Voted Best Pizza in Jackson since opening in 2011

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Family-friendly brewpub since 1994

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Experience exceptional food, service and ambiance

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FOR DINE-IN OR TAKE OUT ONLY, NOT VALID ORDERS • •MUST MUST PRESENT COUPON TO REDEEM FOR DINE-IN OR TAKE OUT ONLY, NOT VALIDON ONDELIVERY DELIVERY ORDERS PRESENT COUPON TO REDEEM

Handcrafted, award-winning fine wine made locally in Jackson, Wyoming.

307.734.7465 www.pinkygs.com Voted Jackson Hole’s Best Pizza every year W. Deloney Ave since opening in 2011 by JH Weekly

Voted Jackson Hole’s Best Pizza every year THE WORT TOWN HOTEL SQUARE since opening in 2011 by JH Weekly

Center St

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W. Broadway PINK GARTER THEATRE

Make an appointment Today! Summer Tastings 2800 Boyles Hill Road Jackson, WY 307-201-1057

Winter Tastings 45 West Broadway Jackson, WY 307-690-4516

www.jacksonholewinery.com info@jacksonholewinery.com

Pearl Ave

50 W. BROADWAY • 1 BLOCK FROM THE TOWN SQ BENEATH THE PINK GARTER THEATRE open 11am—2am nightly • in-town delivery 5pm—10pm

SALADS, APPETIZERS, SPECIALTY PIZZA’S & FULL BAR $7 Lunch Special any slice, salad & soda

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buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, fresh basil on a garlic infused olive oil base

Greek Spinach Salad

baby spinach, black olives, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, feta & house-made red wine vinaigrette

fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh basil & buffalo mozzarella

crisp romaine, parmesan cheese, herb crushed croutons & creamy caesar

pineapple, Canadian bacon & fresh sliced jalapeños

Chicken Wings

oven roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, red onions, ricotta cheese on house-made fresh basil pesto

WWW.TETONTHAIVILLAGE.COM Classic Caesar Salad

mild, hot, teriyaki, bbq, honey mustard, or hot honey

Margherita

307 733 0022

Flyin Hawaiian

BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER • HAPPY HOUR • LIVE MUSIC

Funky Chicken

Inside The Wort Hotel • 50 N. Glenwood St. Jackson, WY 307-732-3939 • Visit worthotel.com for our music schedule

French Fries

cheese, truffle oil, parmesan

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The Abe Froman

spicy sausage, buffalo mozzarella & fresh chopped basil

served with Pinky G’s marinara sauce

BBQ Porky G’Za

Calzones & Strombolis

served with Pinky G’s marinara sauce

kurobuta pulled pork, red & green peppers on a tangy BBQ sauce base

FOR A FULL MENU, VISIT PINKYGS.COM

WINNER

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VOTED

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- JH Weekly

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Sweet Briar College is one of the most innovative schools in the country, in part because of our pioneering leadership core curriculum and our focus on experiential learning. Our stunning 3,250-acre campus is conveniently located in the heart of Virginia and we’re so sure you’ll love our campus as much as we do that we’d like to fly you in for a campus visit. Contact the Office of Admissions to plan your visit. We’ll coordinate an agenda tailored to your interests and take care of the cost.

800-381-6142 admissions@sbc.edu sbc.edu/admissions

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ART SCENE

RYAN DORGAN

Jim Wilcox, center, chats with Jeanette “Moosie” Woodling and Cliff Poindexter last July during a 50th anniversary party at his Wilcox II Gallery on the Town Square.

Mixing Business with Art

Artist-owned galleries add to Jackson Hole’s creative scene.

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REBECCA NOBLE

Painter Amy Ringholz’s new gallery in downtown

THE WILCOX GALLERY features landscape paintings by Jim Wilcox, a Jackson-based painter who has been invited to participate in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s prestigious Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition 36 times. He was awarded the show’s biggest honor, the Prix de West Purchase Award, once, and its Frederic Remington Painting Award twice. But his galleries—Wilcox Gallery has two locations, one just north of town and one on Town Square—do not display his work exclusively. Wilcox Gallery represents about forty other artists, from portrait painter Judith Dickinson to Gerald Griffin, who sculpts and does still life paintings. When considering what artists to represent, Wilcox says he looks for works that are “highquality, priced appropriately, and compatible with the rest without overlapping.” While 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of Wilcox opening his gallery, he didn’t plan on being a gallerist. In the late 1960s he was a painter in the valley looking for a gallery to represent his work. At the time, there was only a handful of galleries, two of them run by artists who did not show work that was not their own. “The other gallery didn’t have room for me,” Wilcox says. In early summer 1969 Wilcox and his wife Narda saw a building in downtown for rent. “We decided we could handle $100 a month in rent,” Wilcox says. “It was a shoebox—about twelve-by-sixteen feet.” However, that season proved successful enough that the Wilcoxes were able to rent a bigger space the following summer. “We laid carpet ourselves, put burlap on the walls ourselves, did lights ourselves, and started carrying other artists’ work,” Wilcox says. “I would have had trouble filling the space [with my own work]. I thought the gallery would do better with variety and, as an artist, I wanted to be exposed to other artists. You can’t be an artist and see other people’s work without learning something.” Since then, the Jackson Hole gallery scene has changed dramatically. Other valley artists have followed in Wilcox’s footsteps and opened their own galleries. For instance, painter Amy Ringholz opened Ringholz Studios in 2014. Painter Kathryn Mapes Turner opened Trio Gallery with two other artists in 2004 and, in 2018, renamed it Turner Fine Art when she became the gallery’s sole owner. And painter Carrie Wild opened Gallery Wild in 2018.

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Carrie Wild and her husband Jason Williams move one of Wild’s paintings into Gallery Wild, which the artist herself owns.

This doesn’t surprise Wilcox. Jackson has grown “from a little western town with a few artists to being the center of western art,” he says. The National Center for Arts Research backs him up: Its 2019 annual ranking of the country’s most arts-vibrant cities combined Jackson Hole and Teton Valley, Idaho, calling the area number-one for small cities. Turner, who in 2019 was invited by the prestigious Salmagundi Club to exhibit in its annual American Masters exhibition in New York City, says, “The gallery scene here in Jackson Hole is something the whole community can be proud of. It is up there with Santa Fe, San Francisco, and New York. It’s a group effort and each gallery contributes something different. Our artist-owned galleries allow collectors to talk to the artist directly about their process and motivation, and learn the story behind the piece.” IT WAS THE opportunity to interact with collectors and the public that inspired Wild, who paints contemporary pieces of wildlife subjects, to open her gallery. In 2012 she began participating in events and shows where, she says, “I was actually able to witness expressions on viewers’ faces. Whether it was a smile with a gasp of excitement or a scoff of disgust from someone who preferred a more traditional representation [of wildlife], I found I enjoyed engagement with people. As I enjoyed these interactions more and more, just dropping my work off at a gallery and saying ‘good-bye’ to it didn’t feel like enough.” Turner feels the same way: “I don’t love sending work off and getting a check in the mail. It feels very unfulfilling. I want to meet the people that take a piece of me home with them and make it a part of their lives.” For Ringholz, interacting with collectors and the public is about exposing them to her process. “I enjoy making work around an audience because I like for them to see the authenticity in my skills and my process,” she says. “People love to watch behindthe-scenes painting and I enjoy delivering that to them.” 138

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Kathryn Mapes Turner’s work is inspired by the natural world around her. When selecting others to represent, she looks for artists who also draw inspiration from their natural surroundings.


TERI MOY

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Another benefit to artists who own a gallery is freedom. Turner says that when other galleries represented her art she was asked to work within the confines of specific requests. “They would say, ‘I only want your horses’ or ‘I only want landscapes.’ As an artist, it’s hard to work that way.” Since she’s represented herself, Turner says, “I can paint what is moving me at any time. Of course, I’m assuming all the risk then—financial, and I’m making myself vulnerable trying new things in the public eye—but for me it is critical that I keep all of my creative options open.” Last winter, after Wild painted a piece for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Solitude Station with softer, more delicate colors than the vibrant, jewel-toned colors she was known for, she wanted to continue to explore this palette. Because she owned her gallery, she could do this. She does the majority of her painting in her gallery, so she was also able to see how people reacted to her new colors. “I found that as I painted with the softer colors, onlookers responded to them just as much as they did to the bright colors,” she says. You’ll now find her paintings with both palettes in Gallery Wild. BUT YOU WON’T see just Wild’s paintings in her gallery. Like Wilcox, she finds inspiration in the work of other artists, and thinks variety helps her gallery’s bottom line. “I consider myself a collector, and I can’t imagine not being surrounded by some of my favorite artists’ work in the gallery,” she says. “Having other artists’ work alongside mine helps provide a complete package for our visitors. Collectors may find an artist that they really love and enjoy and will have several pieces of, but not very often do they only collect just one artist.” When selecting artists to represent, Wild looks for ones who are “fresh and new to Jackson Hole” and who “complement each other but don’t compete with each other.” More than half of the artists showing work in Gallery Wild had never before been represented in the valley. Turner says she “loves representing and working with other artists. Having the opportunity to provide them space to share

what they’re working on is one of my favorite things about having a gallery.” She also enjoys being surrounded by the work of other artists. “It’s a regular infusion of creativity coming through the doors.” Her gallery represents artists who “have a relationship with the natural world and use that to drive their work. I personally never would want to have the gallery be just my work, but I do want there to be a common thread among the artists.” Since Turner’s work is so inspired by the natural world, it makes sense for that to be the common thread in her gallery. Ringholz Studios opened as a 1,000-square-foot gallery in 2014 and moved to a larger space on Broadway Avenue in 2019. In contrast to the other galleries featured here, it does not carry work by other artists. Ringholz maintains that this has made her a better and different artist than if her gallery did represent other artists. “I try to look like I am several different people within one room,” she says. “If my work was too similar it would be overwhelming, or repetitive and dull. Using different mediums and subjects, I am able to bounce from watercolor to oil to drawings on wood, and this allows me to keep pushing myself. I like the challenge of filling an entire space with my creativity and figuring out how to stay relevant and exciting as a one-man shop.” Whether or not a gallery is a one-woman shop, or artistowned or not, Wild says, “Art galleries as a whole are important. Having a strong art presence with a lot of selection and variety within Jackson Hole is important for our art scene and will guarantee that the arts thrive here. One gallery can’t represent everyone. Having multiple galleries gives talented artists a way to be a part of our art culture and gives their art a good home. It also helps to make gallery walking a full-day activity for Jackson Hole visitors.” JH

Women Artists of the West 50th Anniversary Exhibition and Sale

AMBER BAESLER

JUNE 15 – JULY 3, 2020

A first step for some local artists who went on to open their own galleries was to participate in an open-to-the-public painting event—like the QuickDraw, pictured here. They say they enjoyed the interaction with the public and being able to share their process. 140

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

Carlene Wallace, Walks in Dewy Fields

HEADWATERS ART & CONFERENCE CENTER 20 Stalnaker Street Dubois, Wyoming 82513 (307) 455-2687


THE COEUR D’ALENE ART AUCTION

Best of

JH

CRAZY HORSE JEWELRY

GALLERIES

WHETHER YOU’RE PASSIONATE

about plein-air, a serious collector of Western paintings by contemporary or deceased masters, or a casual art fan searching for a keepsake to remind you of your time spent here, in Jackson Hole you have the opportunity to enjoy art in its multitude of forms. Over the past two decades, Jackson Hole has grown to become one of the most heralded art centers of the West, popping off the tongues of aficionados alongside the likes of Santa Fe, Palo Alto, and Scottsdale. Begin by visiting some of the galleries highlighted here that show the diversity of art available in the valley, from traditional wildlife and Western art to contemporary paintings and sculptures.

GALLERY WILD

As Jackson Hole’s newest fine art gallery, Gallery Wild showcases the Art of Wild. Founded by wildlife painter Carrie Wild and wildlife photographer Jason Williams, Gallery Wild showcases works by various contemporary artists inspired by wildlife, conservation and wide open spaces. Curated works include photography, paintings and sculpture by both established and emerging artists. You are also welcome to explore the artist studio where Carrie and other artists will be working on new works within the gallery.

80 West Broadway 307.203.2322 gallerywild.com

Specializing in the finest classical Western and American Art, the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction realized a total of over $17 million in sales at our 2019 Auction with 92% of all lots selling. Recognized by the Wall Street Journal as “the nation’s biggest and most successful auction of Western Art,” we are now accepting quality consignments for our July 2020 Auction to be held in Reno, Nevada.

208.772.9009 cdaartauction.com

HINES GOLDSMITHS

For 50 years, Hines Goldsmiths has been Jackson’s Fine Jewelry Store and Fine Crystal and Glass Gallery. Our famous Teton Collection is available in Karat Gold and Sterling Silver in a range of sizes and price ranges; our Diamond pave and inlay pieces highlight our superb craftsmanship. In our Jackson studio we also create Elk Ivory & Bucking Bronco jewelry & Wyoming’s largest collection of unique gold and silver charms. Our dazzling collection of crystal and glass barware and giftware is hand etched with local wildlife. We can create custom pieces for weddings, anniversaries, business promotions and corporate gifts.

80 Center Street 307.733.5599 hines-gold.com

Crazy Horse Jewelry opened in 1978 and has the largest collection of authentic, handmade Native American Indian jewelry and crafts in Jackson Hole. Visit our store in Gaslight Alley to explore intricate sterling and precious stone jewelry, home wares, rugs, authentic Zuni Fetishes, storytellers, baskets, pottery and spectacular beadwork. Our artists from Zuni, Navajo, Hopi and Santo Domingo peoples handcraft each item we carry, from contemporary to historical.

125 N Cache St 307.733.4028 CrazyHorseJewelry.com

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is consistently recognized as a top attraction in Jackson Hole. The stunning building overlooks the National Elk Refuge and features 14 Masterwork Galleries, Museum Shop, Palate Restaurant, Children’s Discovery Gallery, Library, and outdoor Sculpture Trail. World-class exhibitions change regularly so there is always something new to see. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Carl Rungius, the Museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection inspires humanity’s relationship with nature. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

2820 Rungius Rd. 307.733.5771 WildlifeArt.org WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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NATIVE JACKSON HOLE

Native has been serving clients in Jackson Hole since 1983. We feature contemporary, museumquality fine art work and artisan, precious and semi-precious jewelry. Our fine art collection includes local landscapes, wildlife and one-of-a-kind Native American art. Whether you are searching for a hand-crafted gold ring of the Tetons highlighted with a diamond or fine art painting featuring the beauty of the area, our curated selection and decades of experience will to connect you to Jackson Hole’s rich living history.

10 West Broadway 1.800.726.1803 NativeJH.com

SUSAN FLEMING JEWELRY / WORKSHOP

Hand.Made.Things. Workshop is a boutique specializing in contemporary crafts by local and national artists and home to Susan Fleming’s jewelry studio. We offer a unique mix of locally handcrafted ceramics and jewelry, home goods, children’s gifts and apparel. We are located one block off the town square in the quaint grey house.

180 East Deloney 307.203.7856 workshopjh.com 142

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

NEW WEST KNIFEWORKS & MTN MAN TOY SHOP RARE GALLERY OF JACKSON HOLE

Locally made “Knife Art” for the kitchen and field. The finest materials and craftsmanship make tools the New York Times called “as beautiful as they are useful.” Elite chef knives, hand-crafted butcher-blocks, and steak knife sets reflect the beauty of the Teton Mountains. The MTN MAN TOY SHOP features exotic, Damascus steel hunting and pocket knives forged by top custom knife-makers alongside tomahawks, beaver-lined trapper vests, and a variety of tools and wares for the discerning outdoorsman. NWKW and MMTS are located just off the town square in Jackson.

RARE Gallery, a collector’s destination! At 6,100 square feet, one of Jackson Hole’s largest and most acclaimed galleries, we represent nationally and internationally collected artists. Featuring museum exhibited artists in mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, glass, 3-dimensional art, and designer jewelry. RARE Gallery was named Mountain Living Magazine’s “Hot Shop in Jackson Hole.” Our Curator is available for private gallery or in-home consultations.

98 Center St, Unit C 307.733.4193 newwestknifeworks.com

60 East Broadway 307.733.8726 raregalleryjacksonhole.com

TAYLOE PIGGOTT GALLERY

Tayloe Piggott Gallery specializes in the exhibition of significant works of contemporary art and fine jewelry. Committed to providing a unique and inspiring experience, the gallery showcases internationally recognized artists and designers in both a stunning main exhibition space as well as an intimate project space. Offering excellent service in art and jewelry consultations as well as curatorial projects, Tayloe Piggott Gallery brings fresh aesthetic vision to you.

62 South Glenwood Street 307.733.0555 tayloepiggottgallery.com

A TOUCH OF CLASS

Add a little sparkle to your life by stopping by A Touch of Class. Showcasing spectacular jewelry and sparkling keepsakes, A Touch of Class has been serving Jackson Hole since 1983. Our family-owned boutique features premium selections and exclusive charms from internationally renowned brands such as Swarovski® and Pandora, plus locally made charms and jewelry to serve as a thoughtful memento of your time in Jackson Hole.

125 N Cache St 307.733.3356 Facebook.com/ATouchofClassJH


WEST LIVES ON

180 E. Deloney Jackson WY | (307) 203 - 7856 | workshopjh.com |

@workshopjacksonhole

The West Lives On Gallery features fine art reflecting the rich heritage of the American West. Featuring Western, wildlife and landscape art in our traditional and contemporary galleries. The West Lives On Gallery has been representing over 100 national and regional artists since 1998.

55 & 75 North Glenwood 307.734.2888 westliveson.com

WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE WEST

Women Artists of the West celebrates their 50th anniversary with a June art exhibition and sale in Dubois, Wyoming. This Show will open June 15th with a large public reception on June 19th and will hang until July 3, 2020. As a true celebration of the women in the arts, this all inclusive show promises to embody the essence of what it means to be an artist – to create, to share and applaud the beauty in the world around us.

Mary Ann Cherry, President 208.524.1284 maryanncherry@icloud.com waow.org WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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Best of

JH

AS THE HOLE DEEPENS

It’s Not Easy Being Santa for Ski Kids BY TIM SANDLIN // ILLUSTRATIONS BY BIRGITTA SIF

FOR SOME REASON known only to God and Nostradamas, Roger Ramsey scored the job of playing Santa Claus at Teton Village. Why the anti-toddler would let himself be kicked in the shins by children in ski boots is a mystery to those who know him. My theory is his wife, Elsinore, demanded retribution for a serial social blunder Roger committed at last summer’s company barbecue. It must have been a doozy for Roger to don the Merry Costume and sit on a snowbank-molded throne (with a side table 144

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

for his tequila slurpee) there behind the Mangy Moose. Roger didn’t don the entire Merry Costume. Just the top half since the original trousers were large enough to hide a microwave oven in the seat. Roger wore orange snow pants from Dick’s Sporting Goods—the sort with the barf-resistant bib—and Tony Lama cowboy boots. The top half was straight Santa red velvet, lily white faux fur trimming, and a beard that smelled like cat box on account of where it is stored the rest of the year.


I rode the START bus out to the Village to document Roger’s original Grinch act for Instagram. Somebody had to. These days an action isn’t real if there’s no image of it. I arrived as a little girl ran off, weeping, her mother screeching something about a formal complaint. Roger drank slurpee and called to the retreating figures. “The prom is over, lady. Tell your kid it’s a rough world.” The next little boy to climb aboard was five or so and clothed in six layers of Gore-Tex. Roger said, “You’re sticky.” The kid said, “You smell.” “Why are you sticky?” The lad licked the gaps between his fingers. “Rhonda June showed me how to make ice cream from snow and Karo syrup.” “You can’t do that anymore. Snow turned radioactive in the seventies, and who is Rhonda June?” “My au pair.” The kid pointed to a girl facing away so she wouldn’t have to watch the child she was watching. Rhonda June had porpoise pod sleeve tattoos and more piercings than Saint Sebastian. The kid asked Santa for a pair of Stockli Stormrider Pro skis. I Googled quickly and saw where they sell for a bit under $500. Roger said, “You’ll outgrow them in six months.” The kid said, “What is your point, Santa Claus?” Roger spread his knees and the kid went down like a hung man falling through a trap door. At his scream, Rhonda June oozed over to pick him up out of the snow. She said, “Smooth move, Ex-Lax.” Roger said, “Where did you find Karo syrup in Jackson Hole?” Next boy was older. He had a list on his iPad that he read off: “Uglydoll Swarovski watch, Makeblock mBot Smart Robot kit, KD Interactive Aura Drone with Glove Controller, Lego Hogwarts Castle, Tom Clancy’s Six: Siege,” which I think is an Xbox thing. “And I demand a Nintendo 3DS, the same one Justin Bieber endorsed in his ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ video with Mariah Carey.” Roger was almost but not quite speechless. I’d call him flabbergasted. He finally got out, “Is your name Trump?” The kid went haughty. Six-year-olds can nail haughty. “My name is Xerxes. Write that in your book. Two Xs.” Roger pretended to look for his book. Was he supposed to have a book? “Look Xerxes with two Xs. I decide who is naughty and who is nice and you are naughty at a bizarre level. For Christmas, I’m bringing you two Mandarin oranges

and a #2.5 lead pencil, and if you don’t pass them on to the less fortunate … “Which is everybody,” Xerxes said. “… you won’t get squat next year either.” Xerxes made a production of taking Roger’s picture with his iPad. “Okay, Santa, my dad can buy and sell the North Pole. In point of fact, he already has. When he gets through with you you’ll be living in a cardboard box in Myanmar, selling match sticks to monks.” Roger said, “In point of fact, get off my snowbank.” A small girl with red curls and a Greta Thunberg sweatshirt two-foot hopped onto Santa’s lap, spilling some of Roger’s slurpee. She asked for an end to environmental degradation. Roger said, “You got it. What else?” “Red flag background checks for wife abusers buying AR-15s.” “I can do that. Anything more?” The girl reached up and yanked on Roger’s white collar. “How many polar bears died so you could look like a Coca Cola commercial?” My take is Roger was nonplussed. “This is polyester.” “Plastic.” “I don’t know what polyester is, kid …” “It’s plastic, like your straw.” “If you’d rather I kill a polar bear than wear fake fur that can be arranged.” “Either way, the Santa Claus paradigm is a metaphor for the destruction of the Arctic.” An LED-like light came on in Roger’s eyes. Something clicked. “You’re a ringer, aren’t you, little girl? Somebody put you up to this.” Roger stared my way. I shrugged. “Wasn’t me.” He blasted on. “No end of depredation for you. No red flag checks of wife beaters. I’m bringing you a lump of soft coal.” The girl gasped. “Soft coal is the root of all evil.” “Love of money is the root of all evil. Don’t you tree huggers read the Bible? Nothing in the Bible about soft coal and fracking, but it’s real clear that you’ll go straight to hell if you love money.” The girl’s eyes hardened into little black marbles of disdain. She jumped off Roger’s lap and turned to face him, fists on hips. “Don’t ever trash money to someone of my generation, you dip,” she said. “I want a $5,000 wire transfer to my bank account on Christmas Eve or I will tell the kid who can ship you to Myanmar your real name. Roger.” Roger grinned for the first time all afternoon. “That’s more like it.” JH WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

145


JUST A FEW THINGS TO DO IN

JACKSON HOLE

JACKSON n Try uphill skiing at Snow King

(p. 24).

n Thank a WYDOT plow driver

(p. 22).

n Soak sore joints in the hot tub

at the Teton County Rec Center (p. 99).

146

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

n Take a hike up Cache Creek

n Visit an artist-owned gallery

n Go tubing at King Tubes

n Try an award-winning local

n Catch a Laff Staff performance

n Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride

(p. 99). (p. 99).

(p. 149).

n Get a bahn mi at Sweet Cheeks

Meats (p. 126).

(p. 136).

brew (p. 120).

into a herd of elk (p. 110).


TETON VILLAGE n Treat feet tired from skiing

with BootCBD (p. 30).

n Stand at the top of Corbet’s

Couloir and ponder that Ellie Armstrong was 7 when she first skied it (p. 38).

n Apres-ski with a nice glass of

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK n Go for a ranger-led snowshoe tour. n Ski to Two Ocean Lake (p. 100). n Go on a wildlife safari looking for

wolves (p. 66).

WILSON

FURTHER AFIELD

n Engage in retail therapy at Wilson

n Ice skate on Lower Slide Lake

n Skate on the Owen Bircher Park

n Go wolf watching in Yellowstone

n Visit Alpyn Beauty Bar (p. 26).

n Ski at Grand Targhee Resort

Backcountry Sports (p. 44). ice rink (p. 28).

(bring your own skates) (p. 28). (p. 66). (p. 88).

wine at Osteria.

n Ice skate at Jackson Hole

Mountain Resort (p. 28).

Go to jacksonholemagazine.com for more details. WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

147


Best of

JH

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

RYAN DORGAN

Winter 2019-20

Young skiers work on their balance on the slopes just below the new-last-year Solitude Station complex at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The mid-mountain facility is geared toward kids and adult beginner skiers.

Area code 307 unless noted

ONGOING JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT’S 2,500acre, 4,139 vertical feet of terrain is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through April 12 with an aerial tram, two gondolas, and eleven other lifts. The Mountain Sports School offers ski, snowboard, telemark, and adaptive lessons for all ages and abilities. 1-888-DEEP-SNO (733-2292), jacksonhole.com JACKSON HOLE MOOSE HOCKEY team plays against other clubs from across the country. Home games start at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Snow King Center, moose.pucksystems2.com 148

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

GRAND TARGHEE RESORT, on the west side of Teton Pass, is open through April 12 (conditions permitting). Take advantage of short lift lines on all five lifts, 2,602 acres of powder, and a 2,270-foot vertical drop. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 353-2300, grandtarghee.com SNOW KING MOUNTAIN is Jackson’s locals’ hill—and was the first ski resort in the state—with four hundred acres of terrain and a 1,571-foot vertical drop. With three chairlifts and thirty-two named runs, the King is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday from November 30 to March 22. 734-3194, snowkingmountain.com

WAPITI WATCH. Sleigh rides onto the National Elk Refuge—and into the middle of the elk herd—depart the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center (532 North Cache) daily mid-December 15 through early-April (except Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations for groups of twenty or more are required; reservations for smaller groups are not necessary but can be made by calling 733-0277. fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART takes an expansive view of wildlife art with pieces in its 5,000-plus-item permanent collection from Albert Bierstadt to Pablo Picasso. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 733-5771, wildlifeart.org


KING TUBES & COWBOY COASTER at Snow King are alternatives to skiing. The former is a tubing park and the latter is the first alpine coaster in the state, with individual carts (to hold one or two people) that climb nearly four hundred feet before winding and looping their way down two-thirds of a mile back to the base. Open Monday through Friday from 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., snowkingmountain.com

DECEMBER 7: HOLIDAY ART BAZAAR showcases local artists in time for the holiday season. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Center for the Arts Theater Lobby and Black Box Theater, $5 suggested donation, 733-6379, artassociation.org

13-14: LAFF STAFF brings zany, original improv comedy to Jackson. 8 p.m., Center for the Arts, The Black Box, $10, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org 13-15: DANCERS’ WORKSHOP PRESENTS THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Center for the Arts Center Theater, $10-$30, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org 21-28: HOLIDAY ROUNDUP is a week of activities including stargazing, ice skating, and a visit by Santa Claus. Teton Village Commons, 739-2686, jacksonhole.com 31: GONDI GALA is a New Year’s Eve celebration atop the Bridger Gondola. Celebrate the year and dance your resolutions in with live music. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Rendezvous Lodge, 739-2686, jacksonhole.com 31: GLOW WORM TORCHLIGHT PARADE AND FIREWORKS start with kids 14 and under carrying glow sticks descending Eagles Rest. Fireworks follow. 5:30 p.m., Teton Village, free, 739-2686, jacksonhole.com

REBECCA NOBLE

12: AKHNATEN – The Met: Live in HD is presented by Grand Teton Music Festival live from the Metropolitan Opera 7 p.m., Jackson Hole Twin Cinema, $15-$25, 733-3050, gtmf.org

Musher Richard Beck of Yellowknife, Canada, and his team proceed toward the ceremonial start of the Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race on Jackson’s Town Square.

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

9: MADAMA BUTTERFLY – The Met: Live in HD is presented by Grand Teton Music Festival live from the Metropolitan Opera 7 p.m., Jackson Hole Twin Cinema, $15-$25, 733-3050, gtmf.org

3: FLEABAG presented live from the National Theatre. 7 p.m., Center for the Arts Center Theater, $15-$20, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org

13: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY recorded live at the National Theatre. 7 p.m., Center for the Arts Center Theater, $15-$20, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org 26: DOWN UNDER THE TRAM: AUSTRALIA DAY celebration with free beer and giveaways. 4 to 6 p.m.,Teton Village Base Tent, 739-2686, jacksonhole.com 31: PEDIGREE STAGE STOP SLED DOG RACE begins in Jackson with a ceremonial two-mile leg starting at the Town Square. 5 to 8 p.m., 733-3316, wyomingstagestop.org

5-6: SPECIAL OLYMPICS WYOMING at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. 235-3062, sowy.org 7-8: LAFF STAFF brings zany, original improv comedy to Jackson. 8 p.m., Center for the Arts, The Black Box, $10, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org 8: 28TH ANNUAL MOOSE CHASE NORDIC SKI RACE is revamped this year as a community event and fundraiser for Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club athletes. It now includes 1k, 3k, 5k, and 10k skate skiing races. Citizen racers are welcome. Trail Creek Nordic Center, 733-6433, jhskiclub.org WINTER 2020 JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE

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10-11: JH SHRINE CLUB SKIJORING RACES jhshriners.org 10-15: KINGS AND QUEENS OF CORBET’S. Skiers compete to see who can ski Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s iconic run with the most style. Teton Village, 739-2686, jacksonhole.com 13: PORGY AND BESS – The Met: Live in HD is presented by Grand Teton Music Festival live from the Metropolitan Opera. 7 p.m., $15$25, Jackson Hole Twin Cinema, 733-4900, gtmf.org 22: BLACKTAIL GALA is an evening filled with wildlife art, delicious wines and food, and the excitement of voting on artwork for acquisition by the National Museum of Wildlife Art. 5:30 to 9 p.m., 733-5771, wildlifeart.org 27: WHODUNNIT is an anonymous art show and sale where partygoers bid on new works donated by more than 200 artists and guess WhoDunnit? $25 ($100 for VIP early entry), 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Center for the Arts Theater Lobby, 733-6379, artassociation.org 28-MARCH 1: DICK’S DITCH CLASSIC BANKED SLALOM tests racers’ ability to descend a challenging run as fast as they can. JHMR, jacksonhole.com

13: 38TH ANNUAL JACKSON HOLE SKI & SNOWBOARD CLUB TOWN DOWNHILL is one of spring’s most popular events, both for racers and spectators. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 733-6433, jhskiclub.org

9: THE FLYING DUTCHMAN – The Met: Live in HD is presented by Grand Teton Music Festival live from the Metropolitan Opera 7 p.m., Jackson Hole Twin Cinema, $15-$25, 733-3050, gtmf.org

19-22: 44TH ANNUAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SNOWMOBILE HILL CLIMB. Snow King Mountain, 734-9653, snowdevils.org

10-11: LAFF STAFF brings zany, original improv comedy to Jackson. 8 p.m., Center for the Arts, The Black Box, $10, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org

22: SNOW KING RESORT closing day, 734-9653, snowdevils.org 27-29: JACKSON HOLE RENDEZVOUS FESTIVAL is a series of free live concerts at the base of JHMR and on the Town Square. jacksonhole.com

12: JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT CLOSING DAY. Celebrate the end of the winter season dressed in your best (or goofiest) ski and snowboard gear. 7392686, jacksonhole.com

28: MARMOT COOMBS CLASSIC honors legendary local skier Doug Coombs with a full day of events. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., JHMR, free, 733-2292, jacksonhole.com

13: ALL MY SONS presented live from the National Theatre. 7 p.m., Center for the Arts Center Theater, $15-$20, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org

APRIL

MAY

4: KAREN OATEY POLE PEDAL PADDLE consists of five events: Alpine skiing, running, Nordic skiing, biking, and kayaking. Teton Village to the Snake River Canyon, 733-6433, jhskiclub.org

8-9: LAFF STAFF brings zany, original improv comedy to Jackson. 8 p.m., Center for the Arts, The Black Box, $10, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org

MARCH 6-7: LAFF STAFF brings zany, original improv comedy to Jackson. 8 p.m., Center for the Arts, The Black Box, $10, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org 9: SMALL ISLAND presented live from the National Theatre. 7 p.m., Center for the Arts Center Theater, $15-$20, 733-4900, jhcenterforthearts.org

12-14: 3RD ANNUAL JH FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL brings guest chefs together with Jackson Hole’s culinary community, renowned winemakers, and cocktail and beer experts for events at venues around Teton Village. Tickets start at $150, jhfoodandwine.org 150

JACKSON HOLE MAGAZINE WINTER 2020

BRADLY J. BONER

12: AGRIPPINA – The Met: Live in HD is presented by Grand Teton Music Festival live from the Metropolitan Opera 7 p.m., Jackson Hole Twin Cinema, $12-$20, 733-3050, gtmf.org

Jeff Leger, a.k.a. Dr. Huckinstuff, takes a leap of faith into Corbet’s Couloir during the inaugural Kings and Queens of Corbet’s competition at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Ledger failed to stick the landing but came away unscathed.


Only

For your next chapter

Your home is more than a building or an address. It’s where you experience life, connection, and growth. The real estate team you chose to represent your property should be as exceptional as you are, and as your next chapter is going to be. Only Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty offers unrivaled service and limitless opportunities.

jhsir.com | Jackson, Wyoming | Property ID: N68NGQ Each office is individually owned and operated


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Jackson Hole Magazine // Winter 2020  

jacksonholemagazine.com // Jackson Hole magazine’s staff and roster of freelance writers and photographers love this valley and they want...

Jackson Hole Magazine // Winter 2020  

jacksonholemagazine.com // Jackson Hole magazine’s staff and roster of freelance writers and photographers love this valley and they want...

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