Sidecountry IS backcountry. Don’t go out the resort gates without a plan, a partner, knowledge, and gear.
I know we’ve been seeing heroic snow totals in Utah, California, and Colorado this year. Meanwhile, up here in Wydaho we’re getting slow, consistent accumulation (especially on the west side), which doesn’t make for great headlines, but does result in relatively safe, deep backcountry conditions.
In the Tetons, five days without snow is considered a drought. Over the sunny weekend, hungry locals and tourists hunted down and slayed all the (many) powder stashes at Grand Targhee Resort, so our gang decided to head out the gate.
We packed snacks, touring and avy gear, and the backcountry atlas. Checked the report from BT Avalanche Center.
The snowpack had settled after the most recent storm, and the goods behind Targhee still looked real good.
We went out Scotty’s Gate and skied a wonderful, protected 500 foot shot, hit the bootpack, and sessioned some big airs into soft snow.
We then transitioned and skinned up the shoulder of Steve Baugh Bowl.
We did a couple laps there, slicing through the deep, sparkly surface hoar. We popped off rocks at the top and kind of decimated the bowl, leaving tracks all over the once-pristine zone.
We had snacks and beers in the sunshine at the top, where we enjoyed the views of huge mountains spreading in all directions.
Then we dropped into a south-facing shot to the valley floor. The snow was more affected on that aspect but it was still a great time. After navigating through willow saplings and crusty snow at the bottom, we skated the hour back to our shuttle car. Cross country skiers raised eyebrows at our heavy skis and full packs. We ripped off our boots in the parking lot and ate salami and cheese.
Grand Targhee always has something great to offer.