29 Film Photos From a Jackson Hole Backcountry Powder Mission
Living the high life in big sky country with Vans snowboarding—hiking couloirs, splitboarding sidecountry & soaking in hot springs
Some trips deliver. Sometimes it's epic snow. Others it's sunshine and fun times with good friends. When it all lines up, they call it all-time. And, well, a recent trip to Wyoming with the Vans Snowboarding crew proved to be all-time. And crazy enough, it's the second time we've said so.
Each winter Vans hosts a number of global events for friends, family, and key retailers as a way to test next years product and celebrate the past years successes. Jackson Hole has been basecamp for the North American retreat three years running, and we've been lucky enough to tag along for the last two.
As last year, the trip consisted of three days on snow, split between Idaho's Grand Targhee Ski Resort (located just across Teton Pass roughly 45min from Jackson), Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and an undisclosed backcountry zone with one of the better natural hot springs we've had the pleasure of visiting.
In other words, it's pretty sick and sorry for rubbing it in. But hey, I'm just a lowly desk jockey who only escapes New York City to get on hill a few times a winter, so let me have this one. Okay?
Sidecountry Splitboarding at Grand Targhee Resort, Idaho
Splitboarding is great. It's like hiking, but you get to slash some snow on the way down. We've been really keen on the human-powdered form of snowboarding for a few years now, and Targhee offered an excellent opportunity to stretch our legs, take in the Tetons, and even put our avalanche education to use digging pits and accessing terrain.
Let the limited number of actual snowboarding photos prove how sick the turns were on the way down. Nothing but flowing hippy turns here, folks. (Check the @fieldmag IG Story recap for more action.)
Backcountry Boarding at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
At Jackson's namesake ski hill we spent a day out the main backcountry gates hiking around Cody Peak, boarding classic lines in the relative zone. With JHMR guides and Vans pros Bryan Iguchi and Sam Taxwood in tow, the stoke was high. Turns were earned—shout out flying in from sea level and hiking staircase-like bootpack at 10,000 feet elevation—and lines left unridden few and far between.
Pow Surfing & Swimming at Granite Hot Springs
A ways outside of Jackson, WY is one pretty OK natural hot spring. Ten miles down a road passable in the winter only by snowmobile, dog sled, or xc skis is a secluded pool looked after by a surly older man who lives there nearly year round. And on our way there, we stopped for some pow surf hot laps care of legendary boarders Pat Moore and Hana Beaman.
Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 as part of FDR’s New Deal, the unique hot spring can reach temps of 112 degrees F in the winter. When snowmelt is at its peak in the spring, temps drop to the mid 80s, then steadily rise throughout summer. It’s a little slice of heaven well worth a visit. Just ask the kind bartenders at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for directions.