Gales of windswept snow crystals swirl around the Jackson Hole tram as it pulls into its rhine-crusted stall atop Rendezvous Peak. Outside, a barren landscape awaits. The final stop along the edge of a massive mountain range. Yet, despite the exposed and windy conditions that typify mid-winter in the high alpine of one of the world’s greatest ski mountains, a sweet aroma slithers toward unsuspecting olfactory senses.
My fellow skiers and I have already decided to take a small break to savor the view of endless peaks across the horizon. During our approach, the grumbling of our stomachs was drowned out by the cacophony of the interior of the tram, but upon exiting the sprightly vessel, we can’t contain our hunger any longer. Not with Corbet’s Cabin just a few feet away.
The bunker-like structure seems almost like an optical illusion. Hidden almost by the clouds, it juts out from its sunken position among the whiteness of mountaintop snowpack. Surrounded by deep snow banks and lined with old skinny skis, Corbet’s Cabin looks like a relic — built in the 1960s, one could consider it as such. But it’s what happens inside the cabin that has piqued our interest as a delectable and unmistakable smell beckons us closer. Yes, it is here that one can find the quintessential ski day sustenance: waffles.
After wedging our skis safely into the deep snow that encircles the cabin, we lean against the wind and stagger toward the warmth that waits for us inside. The front deck is always shoveled, keeping the way cleared for the ski patrollers that share this shelter. Once indoors, we are warmly greeted by the sizzling sound of waffles on the iron and a homey interior decorated with nostalgic ski photos and gear.
We are not the only skiers on the hill in need of a re-charge, but as we walk in a group in the corner is layering back up and wave us to take over their cozy round table. We peel off jackets to feel the sudden thaw of warmth against our fingertips and welcome the short wait in line for providing a moment to grapple with the options. Hungry or not, making a selection here is not easy — these aren’t your mother’s waffles.
I choose to have mine smothered in nutella, the old stand by — though there are other, equally mouthwatering alternatives. We each get something different from the menu, with plans to divvy up slices of our favorites; brown sugar and butter, peanut butter and bacon, and lemon glaze with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Really, how does anyone decide on just one?
Lemon glaze with powdered sugar and whipped cream. On a waffle. While skiing.
At Corbet’s Cabin, a warm window seat and a waffle wrapped in foil is a flawless way to spoil yourself for lunch, though these hand held packets of joy are also totally acceptable breakfast food. Gleefully tired from a morning of countless tram laps, the warm and tasty pause in our day is a delight. Inevitably, we realize that we’ve over-warmed and over-gorged and, noticing gaps of views clearing in the clouds, we elect to finish our food on the deck.
To support this location feeling as if it’s a final trading post on the edge of the world, the waffle artists who create these culinary concoctions must transport everything to this little hut via the tram. There is no running water and perched at 10,450 feet, the term “top-of-the-world waffles” is justly earned. Clicking back into our skis, the 4,139 vertical feet of skiing immediately awaiting us seems easy. Departing the coziness of the cabin is the hard part. Because once you’ve had a Corbet’s Cabin waffle, every time you catch a whiff of that familiar scent steaming into the cold thin air, it’s damn near impossible to say no.
Corbet’s Cabin serves some of the planet’s most-needed waffles, hot and cold drinks including beer, cookies, snacks, and small ski essentials every winter day that the tram is running. 9 am to 3 pm. Or stop by for the views and bathrooms!
Images © Taylor Glenn