Jackson Hole, WY, Man Skied Over 5 Million Vertical Feet This Season

Gregg Frantz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
jackson hole
Photo Credit: Amy Jimmerson

Robert “Buddha” Baker skied 125 days and over five million vertical feet this season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. Baker is 52 years old and has been at Jackson for 33 years. On last season, he told me, “It was the biggest valley snow ever—one of those seasons you’ll remember the rest of your life.” The excellent skiing conditions Jackson Hole had this season contributed to his ability to accomplish his feat.

Baker used the Jackson Hole Insider app to keep track of the vertical feet he skied each day, and it also enabled him to see his daily, weekly, monthly, and overall totals. Buddha said it was fun because the app allows users to access other skiers’ stats, and it would motivate other skiers to try and catch his totals throughout the season. I asked Baker how he got the nickname “Buddha,” He said, “Everyone has a nickname,” with a chuckle. Baker continued by saying that he got the nickname from a skier out east who would say that Baker was “Big and round, can’t knock him down.

Buddha is originally from Fresno, CA, and started skiing at 12 years old at China Peak Mountain Resort, just south of Mammoth Mountain. Baker said, “My favorite part of skiing is just going up and down the mountain and skiing wherever you want,” adding, “The Mountain is like our mental institution, and the tram is the therapist.

Baker is also part of Jackson Hole’s Air Force, an elite group of skiers that hits Corbet’s Couloir. Corbert’s is an expert ski run at Jackson known worldwide as one of the scariest ski slopes in America. The King and Queen’s of Corbet’s competition is held every season, where the best skiers and riders showcase their skills while dropping into Corbet’s. Buddha said, “It used to be a big deal years ago, but now you have five and six-year-old kids dropping into it every year,” and “Corbet’s is an iconic run, and it is great if you get there early, and before anyone else does.”

I asked Baker if he had any specific workout regimen or diet this season when he skied 125 days with over five million feet of vertical. He said he did not and then nonchalantly said, “I just get off the couch and go skiing.”  I could tell that Buddha is your prototypical ski bum who skis as much as he can during the season and works all summer long. Baker works at a Teton Pines golf course during the summer, and, when not working, likes to fish, bike, and golf.

Jackson Hole is where Baker calls home now, and when chatting with him, I could immediately tell how much he enjoyed living and skiing there. Baker and I were discussing long-lift lines throughout the country, and he said, “Jackson isn’t close to big cities, and the best part about Jackson is that it’s not busy.”  He added, “You can ski right down and get right back on the lift or tram and not wait in line,” and “Jackson is busy for about four weeks in February/March, and the crowds are not that bad.”  I asked him if he had a group of friends he planned on skiing with throughout the season, and he said, “I did not have any plans, and you would ski with whoever, and that is just Jackson.”  

jackson hole
Photo Credit: Amy Jimmerson

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4 thoughts on “Jackson Hole, WY, Man Skied Over 5 Million Vertical Feet This Season

  1. I don’t understand how this is possible. That average is 40,000’ per day. I did 35,000 or so in one day when NO ONE WAS THERE and I could hit lift to lift. Makes no sense at all.

    1. No offense but youre really below average. People who strategize at certain mountains get 100k sometimes. The tram is 4k vert, thats just 10 runs a day.

      I start to question validity when the vert comes out to 60k a day on average. That leaves no room for fun runs or lift lines throughout the season.

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