SNOW IS KING
I was caught between two emotions. Mother Nature has done it again, my flight has been cancel. Heavy, heavy snow fall was the reason. If I we had any luck, we would only be 10 hours late to our destination. Anyone who has been in this situation is no doubt taken by the anger emotion. It was no different for me, but there was the “face shot emotion” (if you are a snowboarder/skier, you know what I am talking about) making its way pass the anger emotion. My final destination, Jackson Hole was going to be covered by the same heavy snow fall that is causing me so much grief. Since I can't do anything about the delay, I mind as well let the “face shot emotion” turn my frown upside down.
After a few hours, it was pretty clear no plane was going to fly into Jackson Hole airport on this day. The next fastest mode of transportation was by bus. Normally, it takes about four to five hours to drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole . With heavy snow fall, our drive time was more then double. A cool 12 hours on a bus is a fun way to travel. You get to practice the art of falling into unconscious sleep and waking up every ten minutes. This is how the army trains their snipers. Every sniper has to log in 200 such hours. I was hitting the ground running.
Once we arrived into Jackson Hole , my uncomfortable rested mind and body was ready to hit the mountain and enjoy the fruits of the heavy snow fall which caused this delay. The anger emotion started to take shape again. My well waxed snowboard was no where to be found. My warm powder pants were also missing in action. It seems the airline has left my baggage back in Salt Lake City . 12 hours on that bus was for not. And it was also three in the morning. I am not going to be able to slide down the snow right now.
The next 18 hours went by. I have been in the same clothes for the last 30 hours. The snow is not letting up. It is coming down harder every hour. I am force to stay in my hotel room breathing the hot tainted air from our heater. My vacation is going just as I plan.
Time has a way of curing a lot of things. My baggage finally arrived. It was 3:30pm. I still had 30 minutes before the ski lifts close for the day. I superman changed into my gear and hit the slopes. Snow King Mountain was one step out my front door. The lift operator was nice enough to let me on for free since there was only 30 minutes left. Try doing that at any Lake Tahoe ski resort. You would be hand cuffed and thrown in the back of a cop car. The lift operator also advises me his favorite trails. The labor of my frustrations was finally rewarded the snow was soft and there was a lot of it. I didn't see a single soul on the mountain. I was like Turbo in Beat Street in that store before the cops arrested him.
Today three major ski areas have made Jackson Hole world famous for excellent skiing and winter sports. At the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Rendezvous Peak has the largest vertical rise served by one lift system in the country—at 4,139 feet above Teton Village . Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort, near the Idaho border, is famous for its deep and plentiful powder snow, and Snow King Resort serves locals and tourists alike with the valley's only night skiing.
I had the chance to ride all three mountains and I did. Jackson Hole Mountain is second to none. It's steep and covered by foot a pond foot of that wonderful soft stuff only present in the winter cold months. As much as I would like to praise this wonderful mountain, I have to stop because the town of Jackson and a mountain name Snow King had the most impact on me this vacation.
There is a shuttle which helps locals and tourist get around Jackson for free. The shuttle stops at certain locations around town every 15 minutes. If Cinderella had set her watch to the arrival and departure time of this shuttle, she would not have been late. I am a very puncture person, but this shuttle made me look like Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The drivers of these shuttles were just as professional. Their restaurant recommendations were that of a five star chef, right on target.
Everyone we interacted with in Jackson was outstanding people. There were never a shortage of stories to be told nor precise directions answered. If any thing, they talk too much. For me as a photojournalist, talking too much is a lot better then not talking at all.
Snow King Mountain is a fairly small mountain. There is no way it can compete with the other surrounding mountains. What set it aside are the people whom run the mountain. The King, as I like to call it, employs a mix of different people from all walks of life. In one day I came across a beautiful woman from Brazil , a snow bum snowboard instructor and a computer geek from near by Wilson . Each more helpful then the next.
To be honest, I was a little bit nervous about coming to Jackson Hole . I have had my fair share of racism and it was spawned more times then other in small middle America towns. I was very glad Jackson Hole especially Snow King was not like that.
Next time you get the snowboarding blues, check out Snow King.
Best steak ; The Gun Barrel steak and game house
Best breakfast; Shades Café
Best all around meal; Bubba Bar-B-Que
Most overrated steak; The silver Dollar Grill
Most overrated restaurant; The off Broadway Grill
Howard Van Lam