By Heather Hendricks
Jackson locals, pros, and powder hounds alike have been getting deep, real deep. Face-shots and freshies are a daily occurrence as Jackson has transformed into a real-life snow globe that continues to be shaken up. To date, over 435 inches, or 35 feet, of pristine pow has plummeted on the mountain mecca just this season.
In the resort’s 48 years of existence, February 2014 has been the second snowiest month of all time, as over 143 inches fell during what has been coined, “Stormuary.”
The Jackson Hole tram plowing through fresh snow
Arguably the deepest day of the year was February 23, where 19 inches of fresh fell in 24 hours. Then on March 2, another whopping 17 inches puked from the sky, lending a strong start to what has historically been one of the snowiest months of Jackson’s winter.
According to Bob Comey of the Jackson Hole Avalanche Lab, “The upper mountain snowfall in February 2014 was 205 percent of normal, and 176 percent of normal at the base. Rendezvous Bowl moisture in February 2014 was a staggering 263 percent of normal and moisture was 285 percent of normal at the base of the mountain.”
These totals continue to rise, as close to 60 inches of fresh have already fallen in March alone.
Olaus Linn is a 27-year-old Jackson local, who says this winter is the best he can remember. “This season has been epic—consistently great snowfall day after day, it’s been the perfect storm,” he said. “Six inches to a foot and a half of snow, almost every day. I’ve seen a lot of seasons in Jackson Hole—the record February in ’86 started with a blizzard on the night I was born—and this is one of the best in recent memory. Everybody is spoiled now. A week ago was one of my favorite days in Jackson ever. It was so deep and there was hardly anyone on the mountain.”
Everyone in Jackson is getting it good, but perhaps no one is getting more pitted than Rob Kingwell. The Jackson local just returned from filming in Japan for the 2014 PowWow, a snowboard gathering that’s all about riding pow with friends and culminates with a banked slalom in Dick’s Ditch. http://www.avalonseven.com/jhpowwowabout.html
“I’m sitting on the gondola with a crew of friends right now, and we got like another foot last night, so it’s on,” Rob said. “This season really has been all-time. It’s been snowing non-stop in Jackson. I have a six-inch rule, where if it’s dumped more than that, I have to be at the mountain by 8 a.m. and obviously we’ve had a ton of days like that, so I’ve been riding bell to bell. I’ve been in Jackson since 1980, and this season is definitely one of the top three. There’s a reason I’ve stayed in is the place– it’s the terrain, it’s so big, and snow is awesome. But, uh, tell all your friends Jackson sucks. There’s too many people here, lines are long, it get tracked outs super quick….”
There is a downside to all that snow however and that’s increased avalanche danger. On Sunday March 9, Teton Gravity Research supervising producer Greg Epstein experienced these dangers first hand when he was caught in a slide and seriously injured in Granite Canyon, outside of the Jackson Hole Resort boundary.
Because of the avalanche conditions, Jackson local Jamie Siddle has mostly been sticking to the resort. ” Honestly, we’ve ridden the resort most of the time because there are definitely layers of instability in the backcountry and it’s just been so good in-bounds,” he says.
If you’re thinking of heading outside of the resort boundaries be sure to pack the a shovel, probe, and beacon, approach slopes with caution, be sure to check the avalanche forecast from Jackson Hole Avalanche Center.