Soul Ski

Early season dawn patrol

Like snowflakes, no two early seasons in the Tetons are alike. Some Decembers we are up to our ears in fresh snow, taking advantage of the short lift lines before Christmas crowds descend on Teton Village. Other years, we wait patiently for mother nature to deliver the goods while simultaneously missing the long days of summer and yearning for the storm skiing our harsh winters have in store.

A high-pressure weather system in Jackson has brought little of the fluffy stuff lately, and it has thrown in some sub freezing temperatures to boot. Factor in the shortening days (did it really just get dark at 4:30?!) and it can be tempting to light a fire and cozy up to some Netflix, hot chocolate and chill, admiring winter in the Tetons from a safe distance. One thought of the frigid air working its way under your neck warmer and the dry wind against your summer-soft cheeks, and you might just pull the wool blanket back over your eyes. Excuses are a dime a dozen when the conditions aren’t exactly epic.

But, if you are tempted to forgo the pre-dawn alarm clock for greener (whiter) pastures ahead, think again. This time of year it is especially important to make time to get outside, stay active, and enjoy our alpine home in all its glory (bootpack, that is). For seasonal blues, we prescribe a morning spent underneath the bluebird sky. And no, walking to your car doesn’t count – it’s time to spend some quality time with the outdoors.

How you spend that quality time is totally up to you. Take hot laps at the village with a group of friends, or unearth and unstick your skins to head out on a backcountry mission. Go for a snowshoe in the park, a cross-country ski sesh at the Pines, or even a dog walk on the Wilson dike or Teton Pass. Let’s be honest– our legs aren’t quite ready for waist deep powder yet, anyways. Put in the work now, and reap the rewards once the next storm hits.

As you labor up the Glory bootpack, the alpine sun rising behind you and fresh, cold air bringing blood to your pasty cheeks, you might be reminded just how lucky we are to have ski access right in our backyard. As you lay a skin track through untouched crystalline flakes, you might just find that you don’t care about the less-than-stellar conditions anymore.

Enjoy sunny December days with this mantra in mind: there is no such thing as a bad day spent out of doors among silent pines and glittering peaks dusted with the finest drugstore-donut powder snow.

New snow or no snow, we would rather be skiing.