Get Local: The 30-30-30 Challenge at The Handle Bar – I DARE YOU!

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Let me start off with a cliché statement – don’t be that guy.

Don’t be that guy at a restaurant that looks at an eating challenge on a menu and says, “that sounds doable, I could definitely do that!” This is especially true if you don’t actually have the intention of attempting the challenge. You know what happens next? The people who heard you utter such a bold statement will hold on to it and pester you every week until you finally exclaim, “FINE! I’ll do it.”

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See? I did this to myself.

That’s what happened to me, Mike Swanson, that guy.  And that’s what led to these not-so-flattering photos, the story of my attempt and my soon-to-be wife whispering such sweet nothings as, “you are disgusting,” as I lay on the couch in agony.

It’s now time to introduce The Handle Bar at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole and their “30-30-30 challenge.” That’s a 30oz multi-patty burger, a 30oz boot of beer and a 30 minute time limit to ingest all of it with a large order of fries. Finish the entire plate and the whole thing is FREE along with the T-shirt and some serious food challenge pride.

Handle Bar interior - July 2013

The Handle Bar is modeled after a traditional beer hall, and it is one of Teton Village’s dining and winter après gems.

After a day of only eating a granola bar and trying to contain my “hangry” demeanor in meetings and interactions with coworkers throughout the day, I hit the Jackson Hole Bike Park for a few laps to build up an even bigger appetite. The base of the Teewinot Lift that accesses the bike park is conveniently located next to The Handle Bar, which makes the combination of downhill riding and delicious food and drinks a win-win. Check out their great specials this summer, like 50% off burgers on Friday evenings by showing your bike park pass/lift ticket (during and after Friday Night Bikes!). Also, order any local draft beer on Friday nights and $1 will be donated to Mountain Bike the Tetons. Don’t miss out on their all-day Happy Hour specials as well!

Note: We were having so much fun out there that we neglected to take any biking photos. But click here to learn more about the JH Bike Park. And yes, shocks, pegs, lucky, I did take it off some sweet jumps.

Now on to the challenge. I will start off by saying that there are a few BIG surprises that differentiate what you picture in your head from what actually arrives on the table as the bell rings and the timer starts.

Here’s what you think: 30oz of beer? No problem, I went to college.  30oz burger? Sure, people who know me know I love to eat. Some would say over-eat (shout out again to my future wife!).

I’ve been known to freak people out in dinner settings where I eat WAY TOO FAST. I can’t explain it, it’s rather primal. It’s embarrassing when I enter this zone and exit it looking down at an empty plate, while others are a few bites into their meal, looking at me like an animal out of its cage.  The positive thing about it though – maybe it is a direct advantage in this challenge?

Okay, throw all of that out the window. THIS is what arrives under your face and you are supposed to eat all of it:

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“What have you gotten yourself into?”

That’s right, a seemingly impossible heap of delicious beef, interlaced with mounds of caramelized onions, mushrooms, cheese, bacon (loads of it) and it’s all SWIMMING in a delicious-at-first-but-ultimately-punishing aioli. No mercy was given from The Handle Bar kitchen staff.

Prior to my attempt, I did a little research on burger challenges and went with the advice that you go all protein first; crush all the burger patties except for one. Eat the last burger patty with the bun like a regular burger, then move on to the starch/fries. This advice did not account for 3/4’s of the world’s supply of bacon, onions and mushrooms, the 30oz boot of beer and last but definitely NOT least, that dang aioli.

The burger has arrived, the bell rings, I’m so hungry, LET’S DO THIS!

30 Ounce Challenge from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Vimeo.

Okay I got through all the burger patties in about 10 minutes (wasn’t I supposed to leave one? Again, I eat too fast).  I’m doing it; gone are most of the onions and mushrooms as well.  The lost boys from Hook are in my head:

Bangarang!

I will admit, up to this point it was delicious! But oh, was it starting to catch up with me.

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Seriously? How is there still this much food left on the plate?

May I be excused? No? I need to keep stuffing my face?  Okay, time to work on this boot of beer and fries. WARNING: lots of gnarly belching is in your future with this challenge. Thank you, beer. Live with it, be proud of it, don’t worry about other dining patrons judging you harshly. You are on a quest to conquer the holy grail of burgers. No one can stop you!

Don't look at me, I'm a monster!

“Don’t look at me, I’m a monster!”

With 15 minutes to go, all that was left was, you know, a buffet tray of bacon, a few buns, lots of fries, a quarter boot of beer and enough aioli to spread on baguettes and feed the entire French army.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

For the record, I can still kick back some beer and I did finish the boot. BOOM.

Boot, boom.

Coll-ege!

Wait, was that a bad choice? Yes, yes it was. This is me hitting a wall:

"Milk (beer) was bad choice!"

“Milk (beer) was bad choice!”

“How can I possibly go on? Is this taking years off my life? Who puts this much aioli on a burger, seriously? Why did I open my big mouth?!”

Finishing the boot was the beginning of the end. I managed to trudge through some bacon and a couple handfuls of fries just to make it look like I made a dent. But right then, as my brain and stomach collectively screamed, “abort mission,” I knew that there was no way I was getting through that unintelligible mound of bun-bacon-aioli and remaining fries. It was time to throw in the towel.

The look of defeat.

“No, you’re a towel!”

Are you sick of photos of me? Me too! But did you learn the valuable lessons here?

-Don’t belittle an eating challenge you know nothing about unless you plan on defeating it valiantly.
-Don’t open your big mouth in front of people who won’t let you get away with it.
-Don’t expect your future wife to laugh when you say that 30 ounces of burger and beer was your “wedding diet.”

Do you think you have what it takes? Then I DARE YOU to head to The Handle Bar and take on this challenge. Summer or winter, it awaits its next victim. Maybe a full day of skiing bell-to-bell in the winter will do it? Probably not.

It will not be easy, and very few have succeeded in their quest. Good luck!

Cheers!

Over and out. Cheers!

 

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Get Local – The Jackson Hole Hootenanny

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This summer in our “Get Local” blog series, we have tried to portray the Jackson Hole experience from the perspective of local residents.  When you visit a destination, you don’t always get a sense of the real local community because of all the attractions and amenities.  I’m here today to continue this narrative and talk about one of our great musical traditions – the Jackson Hole Hootenanny (“The Hoot”). Every Monday from 6-9PM (except off season) at Dornan’s in Moose, WY, musicians gather to play traditional acoustic music for a receptive crowd in one of the most awe-inspiring settings in the world.

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I moved to Jackson Hole in 2010 as a budding bluegrass musician and was immediately told to head to the Hoot.  I will not lie, the first couple performances were very scary with such a dedicated and attentive listening audience.  But over time, performing became comfortable and an exciting thing to look forward to every week.  The Hoot has given me many things over the last six or so years.  It brought me together with like-minded musicians; we formed a bluegrass band and performed for a number of years in the valley.  We even recorded an album and released it in 2015.  The Hoot also gave me the opportunity to entice a special lady with a pretty voice to come sing with me in the fall of 2011. Today, I have performed at the hoot over 130 times with my musician friends.  As for that special lady, Kate – we are getting married this September.

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Well that’s enough about me, let’s get back to the Hoot itself.  The origins of the Hoot go all the way back to cool summer nights in the Tetons in the 1960’s. During the tail end of the “folk revival” period of popular culture, a couple of skiing, climbing and river-running enthusiasts would get together under a bridge in Jackson Hole to play traditional folk music in what would become known as the “Teton Tea Parties.”  This is not to be confused with the modern, political sense of the phrase “Tea Party” – rather, the polar opposite.  This was a group of counter-cultural renegades, living out their exploratory dreams in the limitless outdoor playground that is Jackson Hole.

Nightly they would get together and stir up some “Teton Tea,” basically a cauldron of tea, wine and/or other booze of choice, to keep warm and set the mood around a fire for a night of song sharing and storytelling.  A few decades later, co-founders Bill Briggs and Dick Barker convinced the Dornan family to host a weekly acoustic open mic, and the rest is history.  In September of 2015, the 1,000th Jackson Hole Hootenanny was celebrated at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, WY.  You can learn more about the history of the Hoot by watching the PBS documentary “Hoot in the Hole.”

[Note: this blog will fall short of depicting the many interesting and important figures of the Hoot. For a still incomplete list of other notable hoot musicians and their music, scroll to the bottom.]

I’d like to showcase two important figures from the Hoot starting with one of its co-founders, Bill Briggs. Bill is a local legend and in the skiing and mountaineering community, he is known as the “father of extreme skiing” in North America.  Among many mountaineering and skiing achievements in his lifetime, Bill is most famous for his completion of the first ski descent of the Grand Teton on June 16th, 1971.  When no one believed him, he went out with Virginia Huidekoper, the owner and editor of the Jackson Hole News at that time, to capture photos of his tracks and erase any doubt.  This achievement set off a chain reaction in the skiing community, and cemented Jackson Hole as center stage for extreme skiing for the decades to come.

Below is a recent photo of Bill with his trusty long neck banjo, getting ready to delight the crowd with his favorite old-time tunes.  Bill’s songs range from traditional folk, to skiing and mountaineering ballads, to hilarious tales and even yodeling.  You can also catch him at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson every Sunday for some honky tonking with the Stagecoach Band.

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Another regular figure at the Hoot is John Byrne Cooke, a man of many talents. He is an incredible writer, musician, photographer and the former road manager of the one and only, Janis Joplin.  John has lived in Jackson Hole since 1982 and brings his wealth of traditional folk, bluegrass and country songs to the Hoot every week.  He was immersed in the folk revival days in Greenwich Village and Cambridge, MA in the 60’s, and performed in the area with his bluegrass band, the Charles River Valley Boys.

John landed his first big gig as part of D.A. Pennebaker’s film crew at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival during the culturally expansive “summer of love.”  This eventually led him to sign up for the wild ride of road managing Janis Joplin and her various groups from 1967 until her death in 1970.  From her early days in San Francisco with Big Brother and the Holding Company, to Woodstock, to the Festival Express and beyond, John was along for the ride.  For an in-depth look at his experiences, check out his photography on his website and purchase his recent book, “On the Road with Janis Joplin.”  Here he is performing for the crowd at a recent Hootenanny:

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I’d like to share a few tips for experiencing the Hoot in both summer and winter.  In the summer, the atmosphere is more casual outside at the chuckwagon and pavilion at Dornan’s.  Here is the recipe for a great Hoot night in summer:

– Spend the day on the Snake River or exploring Grand Teton National Park, Dornan’s is conveniently located about 13 miles north of the town of Jackson at the main entrance to the park in “downtown” Moose, WY.  You can book a scenic or fishing float trip on the Snake River, take out in Moose and head straight to the Hoot.

– Put in an order for pizza at the Dornan’s restaurant and bar or line up for the all-you-can-eat cowboy dinner at the chuckwagon.

– Stop by one of the best wine shops in the area, next to the Dornan’s bar, and pick out a bottle of something special.

– Grab your pizza or chuckwagon meal and find a nice spot to spend the evening.  Pack a blanket or camp chairs in case the seating in the pavilion is full.Dornan's Hootenanny (8 of 9)

– Enjoy sunset over the Tetons and a wide variety of acoustic music from traditional country, folk and bluegrass to a number of other musical surprises.

– Take delight in these  surprises, like this couple that flew in from Germany the night before and performed an accordion/concertina duo set of traditional German folk songs. You never know what to expect!

Dornan's Hootenanny (1 of 1)

Winter at the Hoot is a little different.  As the wind howls and the snow falls outside, head into the cozy Dornan’s restaurant and bar for a much more intimate experience inside.  Whereas the summer is more casual and you can have conversations outside of the main pavilion, it takes a dedicated fan of music to head out to Dornan’s in the winter.  This crowd tends to be mostly comprised of locals.  They are there to listen and the room is often standing room only.

If you head to the Hoot in the winter and want to catch up in conversation with friends during performances, prepare to be shushed!  This is what makes the listening room so special for musicians, but it can also be a little daunting as the audience hangs on every note you play.  There is a story of John Denver playing the Hoot once and calling it one of the most intimidating rooms he’s ever played.  More than it is intimidating, however, it is one of the most supportive crowds you will ever experience.  All performers are met with encouragement and support.  Even if you feel like you played terribly, you will hear cheers and applause.  That is what makes the Hoot so special and keeps musicians and listeners heading back week after week.

So if you ever find yourself in Jackson Hole on a Monday night, don’t miss out on a true local experience – the Jackson Hole Hootenanny.

Here are some more musical mentions, past and present hoot performers:

Co-founder Dick Barker singing one of his traditional ballads. Dick sadly passed away in July 2012 but his legacy lives on with the Hoot and the Barker-Ewing Whitewater company.

Anne & Pete Sibley

Ben Winship

Wood Smoke Rising

Byron Tomingas

Jack Keckler

John Sidle

LeeLee Roberts

Come to the Hoot and hear many more!

 

 

 

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Rendezvous Hillclimb 2016 Results

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The course record on the Rendezvous Mountain Hillclimb fell today but the one hour mark is still unbroken. The climb winds through single track at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with an elevation gain of 4139’ in just 6.1 miles. With $5000 on the line and a bonus to the first racer that breaks one hour the competition was fierce in the pro class.

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Racers of all ages from around the country tackled the hill climb.

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Getting them started young.

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Race leader Stephan Mulherin kicks it into high gear above the Cirque.

Stephan Mulherin  living in Jackson, WY during the summer shot out to an early lead and never looked back. His time of 1 hour and 5 minutes beat the course record set by Matt Chorney of 1 hour and 9 minutes last year.

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Mulherin went hard early and crossed the halfway point in just under 30 minutes keeping him in the hunt to beat the one hour mark. At mile five he was still on track to beat one hour with a time of just over 50 minutes. His last mile ended up being a 15 minute mile bringing him in at 1:05. His comments on the course, “way cool, I’ve never done a single track race and this was 95% single track and it was tough as can be. And it was runnable, usually single track is too steep but this thing was runnable the entire way.”

When asked if the one hour mark can be beat he stated, “I’m going to be coming back for many summers and I’m going to be more fit, yeah, it’s going to fall.”

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Sawyer Thomas of Wilson, WY came in second at 1:10:50.

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Winning female Samantha Diaz set a new female course record of 1:18:29 defeating Jenny Wolfe of Bozeman, MT record of 1 hour and 21 minutes.

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And the reward for all racers once they reach the top is the bacon station!

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Race organizer Doug Cook is a badass winning the 40 year old division and coming in at 1:17 in 14th overall.

For Cook organizing the race is a labor of love, he does it for his good buddy Chris Onufer who passed away in the mountains. “I wish Chris was out here running with us today, he did this many many times and to be running up the course and thinking of him is why I do it.”

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A huge thanks goes out to the Teton Trail Runners, race day volunteers and Doug cook for organizing the event.

For full results: Full Results RHC 2016 8-6-16

Until, next year…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Local – Meet Ultra Runner Meredith Edwards

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We caught up with Jackson Hole badass, skier and ultra-runner, Meredith Edwards to chat about her training and upcoming race  the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). The UTMB has been universally considered one of the most difficult running races on the planet. And with good reason—it sends runners on a grueling  circumnavigation of the highest mountain range in Western Europe on a relentless course that includes intense vertical gain and descent on the way back to the finish line in Chamonix, France.

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Elite athletes from around the world choose to call Jackson Hole home. Numerous Olympians, endurance athletes, Teton Gravity Research and ski and snowboard superstars have grown up or settled here. The Tetons not only offer magical views but also some of the best training worldwide.  The Tetons are 40 miles long (65 km) and 7-9 miles wide (11-14.5 km). The highest peak is the Grand Teton, elevation 13,770 feet (4,198 m). And eight peaks are over 12,000 ft (3,658 m) in elevation.

Teton Range

Throughout the year you can find Meredith racing up and down these peaks.


Tell us a little about you? What’s your background?

Well to start, I’m a Pennsylvania Native. I grew up very active and played a lot of different sports. I first started skiing at age two. At age 7, I started racing ’till I was 18. My two other sports where field hockey and track and field. I went to the University of Louisville where I was originally recruited to play field hockey, but after 2 years I quit and started running again. I ended up running cross country and track and field for U of L. I knew in High School that I wanted to run but there was a lot of pressure to play field hockey and in the end that’s just what happens.

 

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After college, I moved straight to Jackson. I knew I really wanted to ski and was a bit burned out from running. I only took 6 months off and then I started trail running, I remember my first race was in Utah and it’s called the Wasatch steeplechase. It was literally straight up and down a peak for 18 miles. I love it and that’s probably how I got to where I am now.

What is ultra-running?

Ultra Running is anything over the marathon standard of 26.2 miles.

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What is your goal for your upcoming race?

Last year I competed in UTMB CCC 100k which was 62 miles with 20k vertical gain and was 10th so I feel having the knowledge that I gained from last year’s race I’m hoping this year to be top 5.

 

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Why is Jackson Hole a great place to train?

There are some many options in Jackson to train. With the national parks close by and the trail systems in and around town you can go just about anywhere. In relation to my race coming up, there are a lot of mountains to climb and technical trail to run and you are at altitude. You can run as easy or as hard as you want. It’s great having lots of variety to train on.

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How do you use Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to train?

The resort has amazing access. With trail systems starting at the base and at the summit it’s easy to link up long fun runs. It’s great for anyone regardless of your ability. There is something for everyone. I have some workouts where I ride the tram up and complete hill repeats up high. Other days where I run to the village via valley trail (GTNP) run up the resort and take the tram down. The Tram is what makes things so easy.


Watch Meredith and Eric Orton running in Jackson Hole.


How do you stay fit in the winter with snow on the ground?

Well, being a skier at heart I ski a lot of days at the resort. I am also a member of the US Ski Mountaineering team. Skimo is what we call it for short. It basically is running uphill, only with skis on and descending like you are on alpine gear. I really enjoy the break from running and when I race the distances are a lot shorter but with lots of vertical gain.
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You started training with Born to Run Coach Eric Orton this year. What are the benefits of having a great coach?

So many. Eric makes my challenging workouts possible. He is really gifted and smart at designing workouts and pin-pointing your weakness and building upon them. I really like that he keeps me honest in my pace and workouts. His positivity is what keeps me going. I’m really very lucky that I get to live in the same town as him.


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You have one of the top Instagram accounts for ultra-running and have been featured as one of the top ten running accounts to follow. How do you keep your account fresh and fun?

It’s easy when you live in a place as beautiful as Jackson. I really enjoy documenting my life and how I train. Usually, when I go out I bring my phone and I try to get a shot but if I don’t I don’t get to caught up in it.
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Following your Instagram account, it looks like you never stop. How do you stay motivated to keep going? Do you ever sleep?

I definitely sleep more than anyone I know. I usually require at least 10 hours a night haha. I stay motivated by setting goals, taking breaks, and just really loving what I do. I can’t imagine life any other way. I think even when I’m old I’m still going to be out there training ha.

 

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Follow @merejune on Instagram to watch her adventures.

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Fat Tire Tours – Guided Mountain Bike Trips

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Jackson Hole, synonymous with national parks and incredible skiing, is also home to some of the nation’s best mountain biking. From the epic downhill trails on Teton Pass to the picturesque and exhilarating cross-country trails that line the valley, Jackson Hole has a mountain bike experience for any level of rider. If you find yourself with a hankering to sample some of our local “brown pow,” but you aren’t quite sure where to go, I recommend checking in with Hoback Sports in Jackson. Their Fat Tire Mountain Bike Tours for families, groups or individuals will take you to the best local riding while providing a guide, a rental bike and a commemorative water bottle.

Hoback Sports’ Fat Tire Tours offer trips to two locations in Jackson Hole. First is a local’s favorite – Munger Mountain.  Located south of Wilson, Munger offers great views of the Snake River as well as the surrounding mountains. Munger Mountain is cross-country riding at its finest. The trail system has great descents, fun climbs and offers views that many visitors to the valley never get the chance to see. The second option is Shadow Mountain. Located east of the Tetons, Shadow offers spectacular views of the Tetons and Grand Teton National Park. Most groups choose to take the van ride to the top of Shadow and enjoy the Hidden Trail as it descends to the valley floor. Groups make 1-2 descents depending on skill level. You may choose to ride up and down Shadow if you desire.

Mountain biking the bottom of Shadow Mountain is great for any level rider!

Mountain biking the bottom of Shadow Mountain is great for any level rider!

Fat Tire Tours is a great way to spend your time in Jackson Hole. They recommend the trips for riders of intermediate skill level and above, and are tailored to the participant’s skill level at the beginning of each ride and the trip lasts 3-4 hours. Trips start and end a Hoback Sports and the price includes bike rental, guide, water bottle and shuttles to and from the trail head. I assure you that these tours offer unique experiences that will be enjoyed by all participants.

For information call Hoback Sports 307-733-5335 or visit their website.

Fat Bike Tours’ kids having fun on the drive back to town.

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Get Local: Top 5 Reasons to Run the Rendezvous Hillclimb

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Top 5 Reasons to Run the Rendezvous Hillclimb

Last year, I participated in the Rendezvous Mountain Hillclimb. This mountain running race is a long-standing tradition, and last year was held on a brand new course.  It’s hard, steep and exhilarating all at the same time.  So why accept the challenge to run to the top of Rendezvous Mountain on August 6th? Here are my top five reasons!

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Last year over 200 runners accepted the Hillclimb challenge!

(more…)

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Get Local: The Last of the Old West

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Howdy folks, my name is Bill Lewkowitz. I am the Business Development Director for JHMR and have been working for the resort since 1984.  I have a great job and in winter, I try to get out on the mountain every morning to ski and I absolutely cannot miss a powder day.  When I moved to Jackson, Wyoming in the spring of 1981, I came to the West looking for a more exciting place to ski and call home, and Jackson Hole and the Tetons surely exceeded my expectations.  Not only did I find the best place in the US to ski and live, I found a true western community that was so much more than just a ski town.  I fell in love with the area, the people, the western culture and I looked for new things to do that would broaden my perspective on living and playing in Wyoming.

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After a few summers of playing softball, fly fishing, camping and trying other Jackson pastimes, I realized that I was in the perfect place to nurture my lifelong passion for horses.  At first, I leased horses, and then worked part-time on a dude ranch; guiding trail rides and wrangling on pack trips.  At that point, I knew I was hooked and horses would always be part of my life.  I was lucky enough to meet my future wife Natalie, a Wyoming raised girl, who just happened to own a wonderful barrel racing and team roping horse. I quickly became immersed in the world of horses – team roping and rodeo.

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Summers in Jackson Hole are the perfect time to do all sorts of outside activities and team roping has been my activity of choice for the past 20 years.  It’s an exciting sport that features two mounted riders and a live steer.  The first rider tries to rope the steer around the horns and then the second rider tries to rope the hind legs.  Sounds simple, right? However, trying to accomplish this task with two riders, two horses, and a steer that is trying to get away makes it much more difficult than it appears. The sport derived from activities necessary on working ranches and the technique is still used by cowboys today to capture steers when they need to be restrained for doctoring or other needs.  To be a good team roper takes a lot of experience and practice, but having a good horse is one of the most important elements in the sport. I am very fortunate to have two wonderful rope horses named Jax and Skamper. Horses need to be well bred, stout,have the right mind/temperament and be well trained to become a good roping horse.  The horse of choice, for almost all ropers, is the American Quarter Horse and ropers look long and hard to find “a good one”.

In Jackson, we are fortunate to have several nice public arenas where one can practice team roping. There are two arenas at the Teton County Fairgrounds and one is an indoor facility, where you can practice year round.  Another great place to team rope is at the arena, located at Owen Bircher Park in Wilson. Here members of the Wilson Roping Club can be found roping steers every Tuesday and Thursday night May-October.  This tradition has been going on for over 50 years. On these nights, you will find kids, men and women of all ages roping and enjoying the thrill, excitement, and camaraderie that comes with this truly western activity.

Of course, if you are going to rope, you are going to want to compete and cowboys and cowgirls have plenty of opportunities in and around Jackson at various rodeos and roping competitions.  Local ropers and rodeo contestants are lucky, since there is a rodeo in Jackson every Wednesday, Friday (most) and Saturday nights from Memorial Day – Labor Day.  Located at the Teton County Fairgrounds in the town of Jackson, the Jackson Hole Rodeo has over 100 years of tradition and visitors and locals alike come to see cowboys and cowgirls compete.

Events include bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, junior bull riding, ‘muttin-busting’ , tie-down and team roping.  Rodeo competitors of all ages can be found all summer long competing in these events for nightly prize money and year-end buckles and saddles.  Every cowboy or cowgirl knows that winning prize money is an important part of rodeo, but I doubt you can find any rodeo competitor who does not want to win a gold buckle or saddle sometime in their rodeo career.  As they say, money lasts only to your next entry fee is due, but the buckles/saddles and the memories that come with them, last forever.  For more information and the rodeo schedule, you can visit the Jackson Hole Rodeo website at www.jhrodeo.com

carnival

Another great western tradition in the Jackson Hole area is the annual Teton County Fair and Rodeo.  This year marks the 60th year for the Fair and the dates are July 22nd – 31st.  The Teton County Fair is dear to my heart and I spent 15 years working on the Fair Board to help produce this annual event.  I truly enjoy everything that comes with the Fair and there are activities for all ages and preferences.  There is no admission fee to the Fair, but there is a charge for some of the evening events that include Pig Wrestling, Professional Bull Riding, Rodeo and the local favorite, the Figure 8 car races.  In addition, there is a free concert on Wednesday night July 27th, featuring Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band and the Grammy-nominated Reckless Kelly Band.  Everyone loves a carnival and the Teton County Fair offers one of the best traveling shows in the western US.  There are plenty of games to test your skill and luck, all kinds of carnival food and of course, plenty of rides for kids and thrill seekers of all ages.

No Fair would be complete without a livestock show and sale and this is the true foundation of the Teton County Fair.  It has become a time-honored tradition to come to the livestock sale on Friday afternoon to get a chance to watch the sale, visit with neighbors and bid on the kids 4-H steers, pigs, lambs, and rabbits.  Generosity prevails from the local buyers and local business owners who bid on the livestock and many healthy college funds are bolstered at the sale.  There is much more to do at the Fair that I have not mentioned, so come see for yourself and check out this summers ‘Steers, Cheers and 60 Years” Fair.  You can get more detailed information at their website at www.tetoncountyfair.com

Well ‘pard’, I hope this gives you some insight into the activities and traditions in the “Last of the Old West” available in Jackson Hole.

Let’r buck!web-20130418_ES_lockhartranch

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Get Local: Riding (and Building) the new Skyline Trail with Andrew Whiteford

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The Skyline Trail is the latest (and maybe soon to be greatest?) piece of trail in Jackson Hole’s extensive Cache Creek trail network.  Though not yet complete, the Skyline Trail will run 6.31 miles along the Skyline ridge, connecting the top of the Ferrin’s trail to the Cache-Game Divide, offering up incredible views in all directions in addition to creating a multitude of new singletrack options for trail users.  The trail is not yet complete, though the distance of the trail changes everyday as work is ongoing.  Did I mention the views?

Andrew-Whiteford-Skyline-Trail-Views-MTB

 

Today I’m riding the trail with Andrew Whiteford, a JHMR winter athlete as well as pro mountain biker who also serves on the Friends of Pathways board.  Whiteford is a passionate trail builder and trails advocate, and he certainly knows how to enjoy a nice piece of singletrack.  As I struggle to keep up, I let Andrew do the talking while we climb from the base of Snow King, then continue on to the top of the Ferrin’s Trail where the Skyline Trail begins.  I gasp for air and ask Andrew a few questions, while he cruises along at a nice conversational pace (for him).

“I’ve always enjoyed my time outdoors, and I’ve never been one to avoid manual labor.  Trail work, like gardening, can be meditative, and provides you with tangible results directly related to the effort you put into it.  Talk about an awesome stress release, too- I don’t have a gym membership or a boxing bag at home, but I can certainly go move around some rocks and lift logs and let my mind wander and release that energy in a really positive way.  As a cyclist, I started digging dirt jumps in parks with my friends in elementary school, and since then have always associated the creation of new trail and features with increased personal enjoyment, new challenges, and improving my own skills. ”

We reach the top of Ferrin’s and take a break to discuss the new trail as well as our love for the existing trail network in Cache Creek.  Ferrin’s itself is an incredible trail, and when combined with the Hagen trail is probably my favorite “quick” climb/descent in the valley.  With a vertical gain of about 1,400 feet this makes for perfect after-work exercise, though this is really just the beginning of the offerings in Cache Creek.  Once Skyline is complete, trail users are going to enjoy many new options for longer outings, and I’m sure that all sorts of crazy combinations will be created by Jackson Hole endurance junkies.

The view from the top of Ferrin’s:

Ferrins-trail-jackson-hole-friends-of-pathways

I ask Whiteford about what kind of combinations he looks forward to when the trail is complete, and he has trouble deciding amongst the variety of options.

“I think it will depend on available time and energy, but I could ride from my neighborhood in Rafter J, along the bike path towards town, and then I’d link together: Linda’s to Sink or Swim towards the bottom of Ferrin’s, then descend to Hagen.  Continue up Hagen along to Cache Creek trail and take that to Game Creek.  Then I’ll ride Skyline from Game Creek divide to Ferrin’s saddle, and either wrap up descending West Game Creek and out Game Creek to the bike path, or perhaps Wilson Canyon if I’m up for a spicy descent.  I’ll definitely enjoy testing out all the possibilities!”

We notice some potential weather moving in and head out the Skyline Trail to see how much of it we can squeeze in.  The trail is getting better everyday as it gets more use and gets “ridden in.”  Exploring the new trail is a blast and I’m amazed by all of the new views and trail I get to experience right in my own backyard.  The trail climbs a bit before a quick descent and then some more gradual terrain.  The views are spectacular and flowers are out, though a storm seems to be moving in on us quickly.

Andrew-Whiteford-Jackson-Hole-Skyline-Trail-Mountain-Bike

The trail is brand-new and it looks it.  We cruise through each section, perhaps taking less time to enjoy it than we normally would while feeling rushed by an evening storm.

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The Teton views to our Northwest are incredible, but the beauty of the Skyline Trail is that you experience a variety of aspects and views.  Looking south let’s us know it may be time to turn around.

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Before getting pelted with rain and rushing back down to the valley, we take a quick stop at a piece of trail that Andrew wanted to show me.  It was just a little part of the trail with a small rock feature, but it stuck out to Andrew as something he wanted to share.  He reflected on the rewards of trail building.

“I find riding things that I’ve helped build to be incredibly satisfying.  When I test what I’ve been working on, that direct input allows me to further improve my digging skills too.  It’s cool to know in a really intimate way what that section of earth is like.  You gain memories from the various times digging, and become intimately aware of the different parts of trails.  In a way it gives me more empathy towards our environment, and what our impact is on it- noticing the smaller parts of nature that I don’t always get to see when I’m cruising along on my bike, appreciating the root structure of plants, the composition of the soil, and the different types of rocks in various areas.”

“I would say the single best part of trail work is hearing other people talk about a section that they’ve enjoyed.  A well made turn, a fun rock garden, a little jump…these are parts of a trail, but in a much broader sense knowing that other people are enjoying themselves because of something you made is a wonderful part of life.”
And with that, it is time to turn around.  There is more of the Skyline Trail to explore, but I will have to leave it to another day.  The storm is rolling in and we turn around at full steam in attempt to beat the storm.  We certainly don’t win the race versus the storm, but have a blast descending back to Snow King anyways.  This GoPro image from Whiteford during the descent illustrates the dark light and frenetic pace as he cruises through a meadow of balsam root.
 GoPro-image-by-Andrew-Whiteford

 

Andrew’s tips to those interesting in digging and/or donating to the trail system:

“We had a great dig day on Skyline on July 2nd, but a crew will be working it’s way from the top of Ferrin’s Saddle towards Game Creek divide throughout the summer, so expect to see other trail workers and a small cache of tools moving along at the fresh end of things.  Keep an eye on the Friends of Pathways calendar as well as the calendar for Mountain Bike the Tetons which generally do a dig day every Monday.  If you’d like more information on this, Chris Owen, the Trails Manager for Friends of Pathways (chris@friendsofpathways.org), or Tim Farris, Trails Supervisor with Bridger-Teton National Forest (@307-739-5414) are good people to contact- just know they spend most of their days out in the forest getting things done!

For those interested in donating, Friends of Pathways is a great organization that organized the funding of the Skyline Trail project.  You can always contact them to discuss donations, but I find the website is straightforward.  We do have a plethora of awesome non-profits that our community benefits from, and a great event to look into is “Old Bill’s Fun Run” in early September, held by the Community Foundation (http://www.cfjacksonhole.org/old-bills-fun-run/).

A personal thanks from me to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and everyone else around the country that have helped support the Skyline Trail, and other trail and pathway projects in our region.  We all benefit from safe, sustainable recreation and transportation, and I hope you can find your own ways to experience the outdoors, stay healthy, and happy.  Be mindful of others when you’re out (humans and wildlife!), greet each other with a smile, and follow the rules- please respect seasonal wildlife closures, and yield when you’re supposed to. (Hikers and bikers yield to equestrian users, bikers yield to hikers, and uphill travelers get the right of way, unless otherwise specified.)  Thanks again and see you on the trails!

– Andrew”

Skyline-Trail-Sign-Cache-Creek

 

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Jackson Hole – Snow in July

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Snow in July? Yes it can happen in Jackson Hole. Today we woke to a fresh coat of the white stuff in the Tetons. We took a journey to the top of the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to see what Mother Nature is up to. What we found has us dreaming of winter. Snowball fight in July anyone? Enjoy the photos.

Fly Here ’16/17 Winter

Big Red at the top.

JH-Fresh-Snow-on-in-the-Tetons

The clouds briefly parted yesterday afternoon revealing fresh snow in the high country.


We have a saying in Jackson Hole, “if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.” Summer returns tomorrow but if you are thinking about winter you can book your flights for this winter!

Also, 2016/17 winter camps are now on sale.  Book by August 31 and save! Book Now

Last evening from the top of the tram.

Last evening from the top of the tram.

The valley last night.

The valley last night.

The Grand Teton with a fresh coating last night.

The Grand Teton with a fresh coating last night.


A frosty tram door this morning.

A frosty tram door this morning.

This morning in the Tetons. Looking up Cascade Canyon.

Corbet’s Cabin will be serving lots of hot chocolate today.

A hike to Corbet’s anyone?

The wildflowers at elevation took a good hit last night.

Corbet’s Cabin – a bit wintery this morning.

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“Get Local” – Top Ten Summer Activities in Jackson Hole

JHMR-hike
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Hi everyone, I’m Eric Seymour, and I’m the guy behind the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort social media and video program. As a photographer, videographer and adventure athlete this job fits my personality perfectly. I have now lived in Jackson Hole for twelve years with my wife, professional skier, Jess McMillan.

Another day in paradise

Another day in paradise

I’m a bit different than most people at JHMR in that before moving to Jackson I worked as a pro kayaker and film maker.  But like everyone else in the marketing office, for 128 days straight, from November to April I spend most of my waking moments skiing or snowboarding or thinking about skiing or snowboarding. While winter is the time when all of us log as many powder days as possible, summer is a whole different beast with so many activities to choose from.

My weekend waterfall

My Wyoming weekend waterfall

As an avid whitewater kayaker of course running the river is going to be on my list. But there are SO many things to do in Jackson Hole. In no particular order here is my top ten list of summer activities in Jackson Hole.

Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River Canyon

The Snake River is all about fun. You get wet, run some rapids, it’s not scary (unless it’s early spring and really high), it’s beautiful and you get to hang out with friends. If you don’t have the expertise or equipment to navigate Class III rapids safely I recommend going with a guide. Check out Jackson Hole Whitewater for experienced guides and a great trip.

Team building on the Snake with the marketing department

Team building on the Snake with the marketing department

Hiking to Goodwin Lake

I love hiking in Jackson Hole. I spend a ton of time in the Tetons in the winter focusing on different ski objectives. In the summer it is time to see different sites. I also have two wonderful dogs, and dogs are not allowed to hike in GTNP. Goodwin Lake is on Forest Service land, where dogs are permitted (on voice command).  The trail is off the beaten path, has great Teton views and the wildflowers are insane in early summer.

Goodwin Lake trail wildflowers

Goodwin Lake trail wildflowers with the Grand in the distance

Fly Fishing for Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat

I have to admit, I like catching more than fishing. Luckily there are thousands of fish in Jackson Hole and when the conditions are right, it’s game on. You also can’t beat the views when fishing under the Tetons for our native cutthroat trout. For more info on what’s fishing well or for a guided trip check out Grand Fishing Adventures.

Here’s a sample of what we got into on a private creek that you can fish too with Grand Fishing Adventures.


Mountain Biking Cache Game Creek

I haven’t owned a new bike in ten years but when I saw a shiny new ride at Hoback Sports with 29 inch wheels I knew I needed an upgrade.  My new Santa Cruz has the same travel as my last bike and weighs twenty pounds less. It’s amazing what technology does to make a sport even more fun. Cache Game is my favorite trail in the area. The trail offers great scenery, a good climb and a ripping downhill without big jumps. Hoback Sports even rents bikes if you want to try out a new ride.  

Andrew Whiteford ripping Cache Game

Andrew Whiteford ripping Cache Game

Camping at Jackson Lake

When I want to get away from it all camping at Jackson Lake is my go to activity in Jackson Hole. The views are stunning, water refreshing and sitting on a boat truly feels like vacation.

Jackson Lake underneath the Milky Way

Jackson Lake underneath the Milky Way

Trail Running at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

My favorite trails to run are right out my office door. I can strap on my running shoes and go for a quick loop on the Lower Faces or ride the tram and access the high-country. The trails at JHMR are world class and they are almost never crowded. Check out a quick video of trail running at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with Born to Run Coach Eric Orton and ultra-runner Meredith Edwards.

Taking Sunrise or Sunset Photos in Grand Teton National Park

There is something magical about watching a sunrise or sunset in the Tetons. You can’t go wrong on locations as they are all incredible. A few of my favorites are: Kelly loop, Schwabacher’s Landing, Snake River Overlook and Oxbow Bend.

Jackson Hole Sunset

A Jackson Hole sunset will take your breath away

SUP on String Lake

String Lake is my favorite location to go stand up paddle boarding in Jackson Hole. The water is warm, compared to other lakes in the Tetons, the lake is not deep, views are spectacular and there’s something meditative about SUPing under the Tetons. You can rent boards from Teton Village Sports in Teton Village.

Stand up paddle boarding on String Lake

Stand up paddle boarding on String Lake

Whitewater Kayaking

If I’m looking to get my whitewater fix there are a ton of options. Playboating and surfing waves on the Snake are a blast, the Gros Ventre and Greys contain good Class IV fun. If I’m looking for Class V, I head to the Winds, Clarks Fork Box or downriver on the Snake in Idaho. For more info on whitewater kayaking in Jackson Hole contact Rendezvous River Sports.

Below is the Milner Mile on the Snake, considered by many as the biggest whitewater in the Continental U.S.

Milner Mile 14,000 CFS and Star Falls from Eric Seymour on Vimeo.

Ride the Tram, Hike to Cocktails on the Deck @ Piste

Riding the tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a must for anyone visiting Jackson Hole. In just twelve minutes the tram whisks you over 4,000 vertical feet to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. The temperature is always cooler and seeing the Tetons from the summit of any peak is always breathtaking.

4,139 vertical feet in 12 minutes

4,139 vertical feet in 12 minutes

After arriving at the top I like to hike down to the Rendezvous Lodge at the top of the Bridger Gondola for a cold one. You pass by the infamous Corbet’s Couloir and the Headwall is usually full of wildflowers. For more info on hiking off the tram.

Skipping to Rendezvous Lodge - yes the thought of the best margarita in the valley makes you walk faster

Skipping to Rendezvous Lodge – yes the thought of the best margarita in the valley makes you walk faster

Arriving at The Deck @ Piste

Great food and drinks 3,000 feet above the valley floor

Great food and drinks 3,000 feet above the valley floor

Learn more about dining in Jackson Hole.

Cheers to a great weekend

Cheers to a great weekend

 

 

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