Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it. ~ Sir Edmund Hillary
Before the trip had begun, I had gotten my snowboard waxed, glued a torn edge, fastened the binders with screws which had gone missing. I caught the lift Dream catcher at the well kept secret resort known as Grand Targhee, Alta, WY and I was on my way to first descent. The first run was not very enjoyable as expected and I did that on a cat-track1 to its entirety as the waxed board was not smooth during the maiden run, but it was really cool from Run-2.
The powder here is epic, to anything I have seen in the resorts around Bozeman. I have been on powder days at Bridger Bowl and have relished it and even wrote a poem on it. However, those were ankle deep powder, here we are talking knee and waist deep of powder. I got to relish some quite a few runs on virgin snow. The descent was always similar in one way, It would start with a noisy run2 on the groomed tracks and as I venture out on powder, I would be greeted with smooth blissful silence.
1– Cat-track is a summer road, buried by snow and sometimes ice.
2– Noise coming from snowboard and packed snow.
After the epic sleeping on the restaurant, I went to the same one for having my packed veggie sandwich. Too much powder and immersion on it had made me tired and cold. the Camelbak hose would always freeze near the suction. BTW No beer has been consumed yet on the trip .
The best run for the day was going to come only in the afternoon, the runs through a really really long ravine gully and through an open field from the lift Sacajawea. The long open field was a beauty in its own right. The only slight blemish that day was that the mountain was foggy, fellow local riders on the lift were calling the resort Grand Foghee. So, the great view of Tetons were not there to greet me .
In the meantime, over the course of days, I finished ‘Into thin Air’, a tragic memoir of 1996 Everest disaster. Though the book was full of inspiration, heroisms, tragedy, unrelenting men and unforgiving mountains. The book definitely made me to consider mountaineering. But more than anything else the book made me humble in front of men, mountains and most importantly Nature.
I was too tired after the countless beautiful runs down the mountain, and I wanted some good sleep, I went to super-8 motel and haggled my way getting a nice deal with my cheesy smile and stupid chatter. And with that I got myself a deal and with that I had a run of three evenings continuously with hot spa and a swimming pool. Not bad for a vacation, I guess.
And for the record, I indeed got nice views of Grand Teton from the west side even from my motel.
I am venturing even more south tomorrow, Saying Bye Bye to Wyoming and Idaho. Utah, here I come.
-Santhosh K Ramachandran
P.S: Snowboarding is not a matter of life or death….its way more important than that..!