For a decade, over a decade ago, I chased winter. From the Northwest’s independent ski resorts and iconic summer snowboard camps to the modest ski fields of New Zealand and back. These days come spring if the number of days I got on hill need two hands to count, it’s been a successful season. New York will do that to ya. This year has been on par in terms of time spend strapped in, but the quality of boarding has been all-time.
I’m talking powder, baby. And lot’s of it.
A waist-deep December day in Whistler set the tone for the season. A rowdy day of cat boarding in Colorado last month cemented the purely positive vibe. Then three nonstop days of fresh snow and intermittent sun in the Jackson backcountry with a handful of legends came by way of Vans Snowboarding, and well, if I log no more days this year, that’ll be fine by me.
Jackson Hole is a proving ground. There’s no way around it. Cheap beer-fueled nights at Cowboy Bar may be carefree, but once you step into the tram the next morning it’s all business. You need your wits about you in Wyoming—it’s not a place for the inexperienced or snow-illiterate. Thankfully, for day one we had hometown hero Blake Paul, the 25-year old rising star of Vans, The North Face, and GNU to guide us around the gate accessed backcountry. Blake, along with a few faces from Vans' upper management, put on a show.
Day One: Gate Access Backcountry Boarding With Vans Pro Blake Paul
Day 2: Backcountry Powsurfing With Jackson Local & Big Mountain Legend Bryan Iguchi
Day two kept it coming with a 10 mile sled ride deep into a nearby backcountry zone, ending at a natural hot spring that somehow I only managed to shoot one film photo of (apparently I was eager to soak my bones). Before that though, local legend Bryan Iguchi played chair lift for myself and a few editors from TransWorld Snowboarding (RIP) and Europe’s Method Magazine as we lapped pow surf runs on a side hill.
Check the video below—all I can say is, an Äsmo Powsurf better be on every single one of your holiday wish lists next year. It’s the best. Few days can top that one.
Day 3: Cat Skiing at Grand Tarhgee with Mary Rand
We wound down the trip with a drive through Idaho to reach Grand Targhee resort on the backside of the famed Tetons. Fellow Vans team rider Mary Rand picked up the slack and showed us all how to make a proper powder turn. It’s not the easiest resort to access in the world, but boy is it a treat once you get there. A fun and family-friendly ski hill without the bullshit big money valet parking vibes of most mega-resorts these days. Nothing better than lapping powder and fresh roy with the gang.