A Winter In Jackson —Wish You Were There

By Bryan Iguchi

Snowboarding has always had its hot spots—and last winter it was Jackson, Wyoming. Bryan Iguchi, who stepped out of the pro shred spotlight in the late 90s only to reemerge stronger than ever when he moved to Jackson 16 years ago, documented a winter spent guiding the Volcom team, riding with Kevin Jones, lapping the tram, and pillaging the backcountry in the one place we all wish we were.

It all begins with my alarm going off, easing life back into the dark, cold winter mornings. The water is ice cold from the tap—nothing like an instant ice cream headache to snap me out of my grogginess. I brew coffee and jump online to check the weather forecasts and the avalanche and resort reports to begin piecing together the puzzle. I’ve lost track of how many days I’ve been going out shooting, it’s become a blur. This is when I feel I’m at my best, I’m tuned into the snowpack, I’ve spent so much time outside—I know my gear. I start envisioning the day’s possibilities, and I’m stoked to get out there.

Bryan Iguchi. PHOTO: Frode Sandbech

An Early Start

It was late October when I walked out of the Jackson premiere of Deeper fully stoked only to find it pouring rain. As I drove home, it turned to snow, and dropped over three feet of dense flakes on the Tetons…and just like that, it was on. I spent the next few weeks getting back in tune with the mountains, splitboarding with Kevin Jones. We were both stoked on predawn starts with coffee-fueled conversation as we drove to the far reaches of Jackson’s domain. We put together a hit list and daydreamed about the potential trips we could do as the winter began. We rode in solitude while most of the valley residents waited it out, rightfully skeptic about the quality of early season snow. The storms progressed and the mountain opened in late November “top to bottom, wall to wall”—the earliest opening in history with the most snow on record—over 10 feet had already fallen. It was amazing, deep powder, with the tram and all chairlifts running.

The storms kept rolling in until the end of January, extending into early February when a mass of cold air filled the valley. For several days we had crystal-clear skies and arctic subzero temperatures. It was during this high pressure that TWS Senior Photographer Frode Sandbech dropped in to start shooting a Volcom project. We had a loose plan with riders rotating through all February, Jake Price filming, Frode and Vernon Deck shooting photos, and myself in charge of making sure we got the best snow and terrain to ride. I liked the idea because it takes time and patience in the mountains to get it good, and it would give me a chance to spend time riding and hanging out with the team. It’s been a Volcom tradition to shoot in Jackson ever since we made Subjekt Haakonsen. Some of my best memories are of exploring the Jackson Hole Resort backcountry for the first time while working on the project with Terje, Johan Oloffson, Michi Albin, Sebu Kuhlberg, and Dave Seoane.