Not Every Trip Is Epic (But Epic Fun)
by Meredith Edwards
Sometimes being mountain athletes we get caught up in the idea that every time we go out in the mountains we need to be pushing the limits. We have to ski the biggest line, climb the hardest route, or be the fastest.
Well that doesn’t always happen and sometimes the best trips are the ones least expected. This past week I had the opportunity to make a couple new friends, ski unbelievable powder, and slow down to enjoy the view.
The Arch is a classic skin-to line in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort sidecountry.
I was in a group of 11 people, 7 of them being ladies. When was the last time you heard of more women in the group then men? I knew this was going to be fun. I only knew 3 people before this trip. Myself and one other member have been to the arch before. Our group consisted of wide range of skiing abilities. With a group this big, dynamics can be hard but we did well and had a great time.
We started our trip at 9am with a ride to the top of the tram and then scaled up the rock ridge and made our way to the backside of Cody Peak.
All of us where surprised to ski light powder. Right away we all had smiles and knew today was going to be a lot of fun. With the first powder field skied it was time to put on our skins.
Eleven people transiting at once can be a lot. I was happy to see another member of the group bring an I-pod with speaker to pump some tunes. Delighted by the fact I didn’t have to rush in transition, I could slow down, breath, and practice.
When everyone was ready we made our way to Pandora’s. Pandora’s is a beautiful ridge that has amazing quick shots that are easy to access and usually hold cowboy pow. With the skin not being long or difficult everyone made there way just fine.
I took turns putting a skin track in with another member. It’s moments like these that make me love the mountains. I enjoy being able to take in the view and get to know the members of the group. You find out you have similar interest and goals. Other’s you teach better skinning technique or just help them get up the skin track. It’s refreshing after a winter of intense racing.
When we made it up to the top of the ridge the stoke factor was high. With the snow stable and safe we all knew the turns down where going to be great. One of the members in our group was celebrating his birthday. We made sure he got the goods first and then one by one we followed. Most of us deciding to hit a small cliff all cheering and hooting.
Gathering at the bottom we had some navigational decisions to make. If you have ever been to the arch before you know sometimes its difficult to line up exactly where it is. With only two of us being there before it was a bit hard to find.
Myself and the other knowledgable member of the group made our way left looking for the Arch. Keeping the group together above, we skied lower down the slope to scope the area. When we looked around we realized we went to far left.
Communicating back to the group, we directed them to the right to line up above the Arch. Regrouping with everyone at the bottom, we began to dig an area out for a lunch spot.Since two of us missed the Arch initially we decided to put a skin track up to the right of the Arch so we also ski through it. When we got to the top we yelled down to our group and they watched and cheered us on.
Regrouping at the bottom of the shot we all celebrated a great winter. We took turns exchanging memories we made and time we shared. It was a great place to reflect everything that came out of this winter. I was happy to be back in Tetons and to feel the energy this place puts off.
After spending sometime eating and hanging out we tore down our camp and started to make our way out. Our plan was to skin out of granite until we could skin our way back up to the Village and come out Tensleep Bowl. So there we where, all 11 of us skinning down a track singing tunes and enjoying our surroundings. There something to be said when everything in the world seems right. It’s like being a kid again, exploring and just being.
Once again I took turns breaking trail. When we came up to a huge talus field I had to stop and skin around some of the boulders. They so big and some made great little shelters to sit in. It’s a great place to break and get water. As we winded our way around the landscape you couldn’t help but stop and take it all in.
When we finally made it back to the Village we stopped to take in the sunset. What a day! Fresh powder and new friends.