How The West Was Done

powhiking

Jason Tattersall “Tats” made the call to load up on bagel and coffee from Pearl St and then head for Targhee. His weather man status was confirmed as we headed over the pass into Idaho and the fresh snow on the trees turned from inches to feet. After a couple of untracked laps inbounds it was time to explore the backside with a decent of Rotten Couloir. First man in Charlie Astor at the meagre height of six foot five inches, soon found himself nipple deep, with sluff moving down either side of the 40 degree Couloir. We realised it was deep, very deep. Tattersall geared up in Oakley’s Primed outfit was properly outfitted for this amount of snow. With three layer Dermizax, 30K mm waterproofing, 20K g/m2/24hrs breathability, fully tape-welded seams, and bibs to keep his kit clean he couldn’t have asked for better protection.

Our small group had soon shredded 5 high speed lines through brottens and found ourselves standing below the spot of Jamie Pierre’s infamous 255ft cliff jump. The cliff line stretches around the back of Targhee and forms a band of potential drop-offs that can only be described as a free-skier’s paradise. Matching Pierre’s Leap was going to be slightly optimistic so we headed west below the cliff line. Unfortunately for us there was no gradient and a boot pack through stomach high powder represented our only way out. Leading from the front, Tats cut a trench through the powder with the Brits gladly following in his wake. The Oakley Primed Bib kept him amazingly dry and without snow penetration to unwanted areas. Tat’s route took us up through a gap in the cliffs, presenting a selection of multiple airs to be taken on at will. Before the full group had reached the top, Tats had already slammed a 45ft ripper and was bounding back up his boot-packed stairs.

After Targhee, Teton National Park was next on our list. In order to ensure first tracks, we set off under the cover of darkness at 5am with head torches to show the way and ipods to drown out the deafening silence of a sleeping Teton. Again Tats showed the way, breaking track through 3 foot of fresh powder and putting a skin line in all the way to the top of Mount Albright. His lightweight breathable outfit kept him dry the whole way. At 10,600ft, Albright’s peak lies 4,000ft from the valley floor and after 4 hrs of skinning, everyone was surprised to see the 3 Londoners arrive at the top.

Pain and altitude were soon forgotten once split boards were reassembled and bindings re-clipped. George cut a sweet line over the top snow on his 166 Voile split, followed by Charlie and Pete who immediately disappeared up to their chests…..face shots come easy when you’re in trench town! Luckily we had on Oakley Seth Morrison Signature Series Crowbar goggles to protect our faces from the pow. By the time we had reached the bottom we had experienced everything from steep powder fields to tight tree lines and finished with a wide open sunlit finale of sweeping turns and train length roosters. By 11am we had climbed the equivalent of 4.1 Eiffel Towers or 3.2 Empire State Buildings and descended. Quite a morning no matter where you are in the world.

After successfully completing the ascent of Mount Albright, we headed to Teton Pass for what could only be described as a trip to the white room. Tats again led the charge up the boot pack, at 7.30am it was negative 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 Celsius). Words simply could not do justice to the depth and quality of the snow.

Thank you to Oakley for making such killer product. Without it our trip would not have been quite as enjoyable! We know that we could not have done it without you.

Happy turns,
Peter, Charlie, and George