Skiing Glory Mountain, Teton Pass
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When up in Jackson Hole, a few of us decided to go skiing Glory Mountain. I was really nervous. Probably much more nervous than I should have been.
I had just taken my AIARE 1 (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) with Apex Mountain School out of Eagle-Vail a few weeks before. It’s a course that teaches appropriate terrain assessment and decision making skills that are essential for staying safe in the backcountry. Over the years, I had fallen in to a false safety net that many others fall in to – Unfortunately assumptions get made in the wilderness. I know that I’ve hiked where I shouldn’t have, skied lines that easily could have slid on the group, and snowshoed through terrain traps. So I didn’t take the course with the intention of skiing monster backcountry lines, but so that I can stay generally safe.
Everything I had learned in class was spinning through my head during the 1,600′ bootpack ascent up the western side of Glory Bowl. For better or worse, the AIARE 1 course had done what I expected… scared the absolute shit out of me. With the amount of people out that morning, the whole “everyone else is doing it” trap resonated loudly. But conditions were rated at “moderate” and my friend was planning on taking us down a mellow ridge. He lives in Jackson and regularly does gnarlier ski ascents throughout Grand Teton National Park. In listening to him layout our game plan, I trusted him. Instructions and guidance he provided reverberated with precautions I had learned in class.
And it turned out to be one hell of a morning.