Monday, March 23, 2009

March Variety

March in Teton-Yellowstone country means variety, and I've lived it these past 10 days or so. An annoying head cold slowed me down a bit, but I still managed to do the West Yellowstone Expo last week. For me, it involved working the R.U. Outside booth, doing a nice ski on the Rendezvous Ski Trails, and watching a little snocross racing out at the old West Yellowstone airport (photo).

We had good results at the Expo itself, once again in spite of the economy. Snow conditions were good, and Yellowstone Park was still open for snowmobiling (albeit only with a guide and on their approved 4-stroke sleds), which helped. It was R.U. Outside's 18th year exhibiting at the event, and it always brings back a flood of feelings. In March of 1992, Joanne & I showed up just out of college, with a duffle bag full of our BackThing back supports and a small table...and now here we are. Countless friends and memories line the path, and I'll forever have a soft spot for West Yellowstone.

As always, I took a break one afternoon during the Expo, and got out in the surrounding woods. It clears my head, gets the blood flowing, and is a nice mini-adventure in a beautiful area. West Yellowstone is well-known for its Rendezvous Ski Trails, but I had never experienced them before. It was impressive, challenging and fun. There's even a biathlon shooting range out there for the truly hard-core.

Back in Driggs, a late week warm up left a fair amount of pavement bare. I couldn't resist getting the bikes out and doing a Friday afternoon spin from town out to Horseshoe Canyon & back with Joanne. It felt great, and sent us into the weekend with high spirits.

Today, of course, I awoke to a Monday morning blizzard. Spring variety.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Epic Driggs Snowmobiling

I've been wanting to do an epic day on the snowmobiles for a while now. When my buddy Jon asked if I'd be up for a mid-week ride, I couldn't say no. Longtime local riders Brandon & Cody joined us, and led the way to powder bliss. There's nothing like a 360-degree, crystal-clear Teton view from 11,000 feet to put things in perspective. "Wow," was the word of the day.

From this vantage point, we could see the top of the Jackson Hole tram, the top of Grand Targhee's Dreamcatcher lift, the Grand Teton, Mount Moran, all of Teton Valley, the entire Big Hole & Palisade mountain ranges...and beyond. It was better than any movie, and we were in it. Let's ride!

Early in the day, taking a brief break and recalibrating sleds. Snow conditions were perfect: a storm the previous two days had dumped over two feet of fresh on top of a great base. Temperatures were cold, but nice. Not a cloud in the sky.

Mountain riding is demanding, and as the day wore on Jon and I spent more & more time watching Brandon and Cody do their thing. Watching those kids ride was like poetry, and they're as nice as they are skilled. This photo shows Cody dropping the biggest cornice of the day, launching about sixty-feet into a perfect runout landing. Absolute sweetness.

It was likely the nicest winter day of the season, and we happened to be out there in it. Good friends, great day, memorable times. The stars were aligned, and I was left with an ear-to-ear grin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Late Winter Daylight

Is it just me, or does our switch over to Daylight Savings come too early these days? Everyone I've talked with the past couple of weeks was really enjoying waking up to daylight...and now here we are waking up in the dark, again. Meanwhile, blizzards are still raging from Driggs to Minnesota, and the fact that it's light until nearly 8 p.m. just doesn't seem right. I liked the old timing better: start Daylight Savings at the end of March, when spring was more of a reality...and end it the third week in October. Call me traditional.

Moving on, apologies for slacking on the blog lately. It's a strange in-between time of year for me: no tradeshows, the R.U. Outside winter season winding down, no sign of the economy going down like the Titanic. It's all combined to put me in a funk, and as a result I haven't been out getting my usual adventure quota. I'm vowing to rebound, starting with a snowmobile ride w/friends in the Big Holes tomorrow and then the West Yellowstone Expo (& fun) this weekend. We'll then be into college basketball's March Madness, which is always a riot. I will be on my game for that...count on it.