Last week was an amazing week of winter. For those of you that aren't aware, this winter in the Tetons has been a very odd one indeed. Warm temps, few storms, sketchy snowpack. It has been a bit of a bummer, to say the least. Skiing and winter adventures are typically a source of rejuvenation and inspiration for me during this season, and I have been feeling the withdrawal from the winter stoke. The lack of snow this season made last week stand out as really wonderful!
It started snowing on Monday, and by the end of the day Wednesday, Targhee had received 20 fresh inches of snow. Monday and Tuesday were sweet, and Wednesday was one of the best days of the season for sure. It was sooooo fun! I was very happy to share the day with my sweetheart, Kyle, among many other good friends. After a lovely day of face shots and a couple of short hikes for more untracked pow, my quads were exhausted from tele turns and my cheeks were tired from grinning. It was fabulous!
On Thursday, Kyle and I packed up and drove up to West Yellowstone, Montana and headed into Yellowstone National Park. Kyle has worked as a winterkeeper for a few years now, clearing the heavy and potentially damaging loads of snow off of the roofs in the park, mentored by his great friend and photographer, Jeff Henry. I was more than happy to head into the park with him for some roof clearing and cross country skiing. We loaded up the snowmobile and sled with our skis, gear, and delicious food for the long weekend, and headed in! In a matter of minutes we were surrounded by lodgepole pine as far as we could see, and by the time we had been traveling twenty minutes we had seen bison, coyotes, and elk. Yellowstone is magical in the winter, the white expanse of snow allows you to see critters more easily, and it is much less crowded than the summer months. We reached our little abode for the weekend, and settled in for a relaxing night in preparation for the weekend's activities.
Friday we woke up to unexpectedly sunny skies. We loaded up and set out on our ski to some gorgeous hot springs. The snow conditions were variable, and the wind was honking, but it was so beautiful and we were happy to be out. It is a four mile ski into the springs, we saw lots of bison on our way, enjoying the thermal areas where the grass was more accessible for them. I never get over seeing bison, they are such majestic beasts! I always feel very humbled in their presence, and am thankful for them allowing us to ski through their territory. We reached the hot springs, where we ate a quick lunch and proceeded to blissfully soak for about an hour. This secret spring is a real treasure, in the summer months it is far too hot to soak in, the runoff from the snow in the winter is what makes it the right temperature for those willing to ski out to it. Growing up in Idaho, hot springing has always been one of my favorite activities, the waters are so healing and we are very lucky to have so much geothermal activity in the part of the world that we live in! The ski back was beautiful, and by the time we reached our snowmobile I was ready to get out of my skis, eat some food, and chill out for a bit.
That evening we went up to the yurt camp where Yellowstone Expeditions is based, which is another company that Kyle has worked for in the park. This company is really unique, providing cross country ski tours and yurt camping throughout the winter, based out of Canyon. It was great spending some time with the guides and the visitors, drinking wine and playing cards in the main yurt. A trip with Yellowstone Expeditions is an amazing and once in a lifetime experience, and I would recommend it to everyone.
On Saturday we woke up to a hearty breakfast of oats with maple syrup and delicious coffee, and headed over to clear a cornice off of one of the dorms. This was my first time helping Kyle clear a roof, and it was so fun! After my initial wariness of working on a roof at that height, we quickly got into a rhythm of working together. I sawed blocks of snow with a crazy snow saw, and Kyle slid the blocks off the roof to the ground below. It was a really cool experience, and I am excited for the next time we get to go into the park and clear a roof together.
Aside from the snowmobile trip out to West Yellowstone, that was the end of our awesome week. It was great to spend so much time on skis, and to be out in the elements experiencing winter. I have missed the succession of snowy ski days this season, and am very grateful for last week. It was rejuvenating and inspiring, and I am already dreaming up some Yellowstone and winter inspired prints. So stay tuned for some new print materials coming to the shop, and cheers!