This last month has had some of the best backcounry skiing conditions you could ask for! The team has worked hard all season honing in their skills such as avalanche awareness, transitions, kick turns, and uphill fitness. We have become quite the unit, all helping each other out and building off one another experiences. This all has paid off and aloud us to go on some pretty great tours in Grand Teton National Park. The team is at the point where they are making most of the decisions on their own. Such as where to go, what pace to travel, and what slopes to avoid due to avalanche danger. Occasionally the coaches will step in and make minor tweaks to their plans, but it is pretty amazing to see athletes at this age go through the decision making process successfully. After all, when we make the right decision this usually means skiing fresh backcountry powder!
Our two tours this month included Wimpies and Shadow Peak, both in GTNP. Shadow Peak was a big day for a lot of the team and it was awesome to see everyone push through when they thought they just couldn't skin any further. For those who know this skin track can be in rough shape at times with many kick turns and a tall 3500' climb. But after nearly six and a half hours of climbing we topped out. The way we came up had been baked by the sun and our group made the call to ski a north facing run, meaning fresh powder and a longer loop back to the trailhead.
The Wimpies tour is a popular run just north of Death Canyon. We opted to make this a lighter day all agreeing to turn around whenever the group felt tired. We made it nearly to the top and were able to find a nice slope to do another lap on. Once the team was too tired to skin anymore we had some great hands on practice building an emergency shelter, and assembling a rescue sled.
Check out some photos below from the Wimpies, and Shadow tour. That's a wrap for the first year of the JHSC Backcountry Program. We couldnt have asked for a better team to start the program off with!