Jackson Hole, Wyoming

March 13-20 2016

Jackson Hole 2016 Group

Excellency and Distinguished Members,

On Sunday, March 13, 2016 twenty-six brave and stalwart Members of the Harford Ski Club set out for Jackson, Wyoming, home of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, considered by many to be the most challenging Ski Area in North America. Having conquered the Mountain, with a side dish of Grand Targhee, we returned victorious on March 20th, suffering but a single Casualty.

Our Expedition got off to an early start, owing to the unfortunate coincidence of our Grand Departure with the insidious dawn of Daylight Savings Time. Thanks to the persistent, (some might say annoying), warnings from our intrepid Trip Leader, almost all of our Adventurers arrived on time at four o’clock in the morning at the BWI docks. Unfortunately, Delta’s farewell committee apparently forgot to set their own timing devices ahead, and strolled in forty minutes later. Even so, Embarkation proceeded smartly thereafter, with only a minor kerfuffle or two over switched boarding passes and one late arrival (a boarder, naturally).

Despite the unseemlyHour, everyone was in High Spirits as we boarded the mighty Airship that would take us across the Continent, buoyed by the news that is was snowing hard in Wyoming. Our transit was blessed with a fair wind and we were greeted with Mimosas (a wonderful local concoction of orange juice and Champagne) by the welcoming committee upon our arrival at the JAC docks. Whilst we were awaiting the transfer of our baggage train, we were joined by our fellow Adventurers from the Minnesota Chapter and our two Scouts, who had reconnoitered our return route and pronounced it Safe.

A pair of costumed Teamsters with their fine Coaches awaited, and we clambered aboard, stuffing somewhat more people and baggage into the carriages than was prudent. Regardless, we arrived at Snow King Resort in good order, and we were all quickly settled into our Chambers.  With our Lodgings now secured, we set out to procure Victuals and Strong Drink in the Town.

By five o’clock in the afternoon, our Larders were full and we gathered at the Trip Leader’s accommodations for a Welcome Party and Safety Briefing. Several varieties of Italian Pie were served along with a good quantity of Beer and Wine. Along with stern warnings regarding cranial protection and signaling devices, the Trip Leader provided our transport passes for the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, then everyone returned to their Lodgings. Most succumbed to the call of the Sandman shortly thereafter, dreaming of fresh, fluffy powder and untracked runs.

Lift ChairWe awoke to blowing snow and frigid conditions on the morn, but everyone was keen to begin our Conquest of the Mountain, so we set out in high spirits. All too soon we were confronted with the Magnitude of the Challenge awaiting.  Rendezvous Mountain loomed four thousand feet above us, stretching more than ten thousand feet into the sky. The Winds at the Summit were blowing with such ferocity that the operators deemed the primary transport Tram unsafe, and we were forced to seek transit on other conveyances. Undeterred, we scaled the Mountain heights in Gondolas and Chairlifts, triumphantly disembarking with great Enthusiasm, ready for the challenge ahead.

Alas, we soon discovered that Jackson Hole’s formidable reputation is well-earned. Heavy cloud cover and blowing snow produced a flat light, obscuring the treacherous trails descending before us. The snow was deep and heavy, not the light and fluffy powder that had inhabited our fanciful Dreams. Many experienced explorers reported it was the most physically difficult day of skiing they had ever encountered. Yet we prevailed! Time and again we ascended to the summits and schussed to the valley floor, sweeping all resistance before us.

Jackson Hole TramConditions improved on Tuesday, and once again we challenged the Mountain. The Tram was fully functional, allowing us to ascend to the highest Peak, and thence to plunge down the steepest terrain in search of Glory and Thrills. Victory was ours once again! In the gathering dusk, we assembled at a local tavern of high repute, the Sweetwater Restaurant, for a glorious Feast. Our repast included Trout, Sirloin, and Pork, suitably accompanied with vast quantities of Ale and Wine.

Wednesday presented a new Challenge – a distant Mountain called Grand Targhee.  Once again we gathered in the early morn to board a fine coach for our journey to Alta, Wyoming, only to discover that some Thief had purloined our Trip Leader’s skis! Fortunately, the local outfitters were quick to respond to his desperate pleading, and we were on our way with only a short delay. We crossed the magnificent Grand Tetons via the Teton Pass, briefly passing through the Valley of the Tetons in Idaho, before crossing back into Wyoming.

Bright sunshine and fresh powder greeted us at Grand Targhee, and we quickly set out to stake our claim to this remote but magnificent Mountain. Many of us sought the services of an experienced Guide, who proved most valuable in exposing the Mountain’s hidden treasures, despite her tender age. Once released to explore on our own, we charged the trails with abandon, once again securing Victory for the mighty Harford Ski Club. On our return journey, we celebrated our accomplishment at the famous Victor Emporium, home of such tantalizing treats as the sublime Wild Huckleberry Milkshake.

For most, Thursday was day of well-earned rest and respite, although some chose to venture out onto the nearby Snow King Ski Area, best described as a sheep in wolf’s clothing. With only a handful of trails and a modest fifteen hundred foot vertical drop, it is easy to be fooled by this small but mighty Mountain. Known as the Town Hill, this queen’s Diamonds are all of the double-black variety, boasting the steepest North facing FIS race course in the Continental United States.

Also on Thursday, a few of our company were dispatched back to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Their mission, to perform a reconnaissance to ascertain how conditions had changed during our expedition to Grand Targhee. Perceiving the limited numbers in our scouting party, the Mountain chose to launch its counterattack, hiding a most foul Snow Snake amongst an Army of wicked Moguls. The vile Creature struck at Lady Hannon before being driven off by her stalwart escorts. While she is expected to make a full recovery from her injuries, she was forced to retire from active campaigning for the remainder of the expedition.

As yet unaware of the dastardly Attack on Lady Hannon, a good many of our Company joined the Natives at a local Celebration in honor of St. Patrick that Evening. The Streets and Taverns were packed with Revelers enjoying live Music, Irish Fare, and locally made alcoholic Stimulants.

Jackson Hole SlopesFilled with righteous Indignation, might I say Fury, we resumed our Assault on the Mountain with renewed vigor on Friday and Saturday. Aided by a brilliant Sun and warmer Temperatures, we forced the fearsome Eminence into submission by repeated assaults upon its Summits and Peaks. In the Gloaming we celebrated our Victory at the incongruously named Mangy Moose Tavern, a fine establishment, with an excellent selection of local Ales.

Not all of the excitement on these Expeditions happen on the Mountainside or in Taverns. During the course of our Adventure, we also encountered many Species of local Wildlife. Lady Bish first observed a Moose eating the shrubbery across the street from our Lodgings. Another of that noble Species was observed from our Coach while traversing Teton Pass. One morning, while awaiting the Coach to Teton Village, four members of our Party saw a rare Black Fox, with its remarkable white-tipped, bushy tail. On our last day, on the carriage ride back from Teton Village, we spotted yet another Moose foraging in the woods. That evening, on the way to Supper, the Teamster had to wait while a pair of indecisive Mule Deer debated about whether or not they wanted to cross the road. Perhaps they should seek advice from one of the local chickens!

Like all successful Adventures, our Expedition came to an end on Sunday, and we once again rose in the early hours to board our Coach to the JAC docks. The Delta farewell committee seemed most anxious to erase our previous experience with others of their kind at BWI, and got us expeditiously on our way Home, where we arrived in good order later that day, completing a most excellent adventure.

Your obedient servant,
Steve Landry
VP & Trip Leader

PS: Join us on our next Great Adventure, to Portillo, Chile high in the Andes Mountains, in August 2017.