[sponsored by Grand Targhee]
Photos by Eric Boomer
Words and Rider- Aaron Lebowitz
Catching the swell is an art.
Pay attention to the local weather reports and do some research on the typical patterns that bring snow to the area.
Check NOAA forcast and tune into the experts.
The position of the Tetons is a perfect catchers mit for precipitation currents moving in from the Pacific- over Washington/Oregon and if it dips below Montana it is a straight shot to Grand Targhee. Paired with arctic air running down the Rocky Mountains from Canada it can be a match made in heaven. Such as 8-18” of fresh cold smoke powder which can refill over a few days of storm.
First tracks are the best.
What else do you have that is more important first thing in the morning? This is the day you have the opportunity to bust out your powder sticks. Surface area is key to float, and float is the key to staying atop in the bottomless pow.
Get your gear dialed in the night before, pack the car, set up your attire in a method that everything get on and nothing is forgotten- from bedroom long johns to boots right in front of the door.
Remember it may continue snowing so include a low light goggle lens. Eat a gut sticking breakfast that will keep you going through the lunch hour because you wont want to stop. Leave the house 30 minutes earlier than usual because the roads may be snowy and why rush into an accident? Enjoy the dawn patrol cruise. Slow down through Alta. Also early ups get a parking spot in the gong show that may develop in the lot around 9/9:30am. At Grand Targhee parking is limited so carpooling with friends or catching the shuttle are great options.
If you are waiting in line before the lift opens you are already winning.
Every run is good! Are you a feel whats calling rider or do you have a plan? With a frothing crowd there isnt much time to wait around a make group decisions- which may lead to the “no friends on a powder day” motto, but then again sharing the bounty with a few close buddies on the same vibe makes a good day great!
In need of personal guidance? Check out the Knowledge is Powder and Ladies Only Clinics and get dialed in. https://www.grandtarghee.com/event/grand-targhee-knowledge-is-powder-off-trail-camp-3/
Where to ride- Pick zones that are leeward (where the wind has deposited the snow) which at Grand Targhee is usually the northern faces. Even if the crowds get heavy there are strategies to maximizing powder harvest. Go to your favorite zones first then work down the list. Check out the gullies. Save your secret staches for later when everything else gets chopped up and you will be riding freshies all day. Remember to check out Sac and Blackfoot.
Keep your eyes on the signage and when Mary’s Nipple opens- head out for a walk into the deep.