What Mountain Athletes Are Made Of

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Post by: Forrest and Casey Jillson

For my sister Casey and I, being a part of the Mountain Athlete freeski team is a huge privilege, and commitment. We are doing everything we can to give ourselves every opportunity to achieve our on-mountain goals, including podiums on the Freeride World Tour, movie segments, photo opportunities, and overall exposure in the ever competitive world of skiing.  
Justin Mayers
Mountain Athlete is a gym based here in Jackson run by Coach Rob Shaul. It is a lot like Crossfit but different in the way it trains certain athletes in a way specific to their sport, making programming directly transferable to the mountain. At Mountain Athlete we train as a team and we are all very goal oriented, taking a serious and disciplined approach to achieving success in skiing. Training the way we do at Mountain Athlete is not the only route taken when skiers decide they want to make skiing a career but, if you want to have a drastic course correction, and you are transitioning from being a good recreational skier to someone who wants to take their skiing to the next level, and be recognized for it, it’s one that that must be taken.
the team
The best professional athletes from all major sports take their off season training very seriously, the same goes for competitive skiing. The time you spend on snow when you are skiing seems like the best time to progress, but training during the summer is an equally good way to grow in the sport and keep the ball rolling after ski season has ended. Off season training is a way to maintain the progression by continuing to become stronger, faster, more durable and become as fit and prepared as possible on the first day of ski season rather than using the first few weeks of skiing to get into “skiing shape”.

Forrest Jilson 1

At Mountain Athlete we spend the summers building a solid base and working every muscle in the body as well as the mind, gaining more and more momentum as the summer progresses. During our preparation for the ski season in the gym we roll into a more sport specific training cycle where we train eccentric leg strength and leg lactate tolerance, instead of focusing on work capacity and conditioning, and all around fitness, we spend more time hammering the legs, and the core muscles. This grueling 12 week cycle builds what Coach Shaul calls, the mountain chassis – a very stable frame for the us skiers to use while pushing our skiing to the limit. Isolating and working these muscle groups the way that we do makes us the most prepared as we can possibly be for the upcoming winter full of big mountain competitions, tram laps and as many mountaineering trips and summits as possible.

Rob Shaul
Something new this year is the collaboration of Mountain Athlete and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort forming a big mountain oriented freeski team Coached by Rob Delauriers. Rob will be focusing on the technical side of skiing and all the little things we can do to profoundly improve our skiing. Rob has been featured in eight Warren Miller movies starting way back when most of the team he’s coaching were still in diapers. He is one of the most aesthetic skiers we have ever seen making him by far the best candidate for the job. In a matter of two weeks of training twice a week, he has done an amazing job of breaking down each of our individual styles and habits on skis and shining light on both the things that we are very good at, as well as the things that we need to work on.
rob d scouting
Casey and I have been on skis since we were two years old, so being able to break through the habits that we have formed and subtly give our technique the tweak that it needs has shown to give us more confidence in steep terrain, making it possible to ski faster, more fluidity and with more finesse. Robs ability to not only demonstrate what it is he is trying to teach, but to also verbally convey it to us in a way that is very easy to absorb and understand is something that I find very valuable.

toilet bowl venue

Being able to live and train in this amazing town and to be on the elite team of skiers at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is something that we find ourselves laughing at in disbelief on a daily basis. We feel so fortunate to call this place home and to be able to chase our dreams with other outstanding athletes who also appreciate the opportunities that we are being presented with here in Jackson Hole.
Editor’s Note: Forrest and Casey’s first competition of the season will be this weekend at the Subaru Freeride Series in Snowbird.   For results and other event updates, check here over the course of the weekend.

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Dropping into the Weekend

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Just in case you’ve been watching a Law and Order Marathon with the blinds down for the last 3 days, you should know that it has snowed SO INCREDIBLY MUCH!  Can you say 31″ storm total?! The powder is deep and ready to be shredded.  When the lifts close and it’s time to relax, here’s a list of what’s going on in the valley.  Have fun and be safe!

Apres and DJ VerT-OnE  Presented by Bud Light

  • Location: Nick Wilson’s Cowboy Café
  • Time: Sunday, February 8th from 4-6pm.
  • Information: $1 off Bud and Bud Light, Great Prizes and Giveaways
  • The Inside Scoop: You can literally glide right into a party at the end of the ski day.   Why wouldn’t you drop in to see what the prizes and giveaways are all about?  Plus, the Spicy Pizza slice is something that makes my mouth water instantly . 

Live Music at The Mangy Moose

  • Location: The Mangy Moose Saloon in Teton Village
  • Time: Saturday, February 7th from 4-6 pm
  • Information: John Wayne’s World is Jackson’s only instrumental jazz-funk ensemble featuring five of the busiest and most talented musicians in the region.
  • The Inside Scoop: The Mangy Moose is notorious for it’s rocking parties and lively après sessions.  Order some nachos and some beverages and enjoy a band that occasionally comes to The Village to blow our minds.

mangy-moose-eventsJackson Hole Moose Hockey Game

  • Location: Snow King Arena
  • Time: Friday, February 6th and Saturday, February 7th at 7 pm
  • Information: Moose vs. Philadelphia.  Tickets are $9, $5 with JHMR Season Pass
  • The Inside Scoop: This is where the action IS on the weekend in Jackson.  The Moose Team is a talented group of athletes who might throw in a lively show (read: small fight) every now and then.  Plus, live music between every period makes it fun for adults and kids alike. Just make sure you bring your pass for a discount and maybe some gloves.


Laff Staff Improv Performance

  • Location: Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theater
  • Time: Friday, February 6th and Saturday, February 7th from 8-10 pm
  • Information:  Tickets are $10 at the Center for the Arts Box Office
  • The Inside Scoop: Though our local community may be small in numbers, the comedic talent is NOT lacking.   This show is bound to be a hoot, but best to leave the kids with a babysitter.

Family Valentine-Making Party

  • Location: Teton County Library
  • Time: Saturday, February 7th from 10-11:30 am
  • Information: Make valentines for family and friends.
  • The Inside Scoop: Tis the season to make Valentines!  If you bring the love, Teton County Library will bring the supplies.  <3

Madame X Gala: The Snow Ball Fundraiser

  • Location: Center for the Arts
  • Time: Saturday, February 7th from 6-10 pm
  • Information: Benefit for Off Square Theatre Company with dinner dancing and a murder mystery. RSVP to info@offsquare.org
  • The Inside Scoop: It’s time to get dressed up and hit the TOWN for a Clue-like murder mystery party.  I’ll be there….unless I get to be the mystery murder victim.  Dun, dun, dun…….





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265″ and Counting!

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Click play and see what’s happening in Jackson Hole.

With a storm total of 26″ and more snow on the way this week, February is off to a DEEP start. We have received 265” for the season with a snow depth of 95”.

Cooper Kahlenberg sinks into the fresh on Gannett this morning:

If you haven’t already, make plans to get to Jackson Hole for some of the best snow conditions in North America!

February Lodging Specials and Packages.

The first two days of the storm brought 6 and 6 inches respectively. Can you spot the Tram behind all of this SNOW?

2 3 tram snowy 2

Don’t worry, our team is digging out Corbet’s Cabin. You can still get a World Famous Waffle before you shred fresh powder in Rendezvous Bowl!

2 3 deck snowblower

Even the bus stop is a winter wonderland.
2 2 Start Bus

After a total of 26″ of fresh, Corbet’s Couloir is soft. Bryce Newcomb sends it off the nose.
Corbet's Couloir Bryce

Tigger Knecht punts it and stomps.
Corbet's Couloir Tigger

The skiing and riding was unbelievable today. Tim Swartz takes full advantage and gets buried.

The snow totals are looking very good for Jackson Hole this year.
Snow Totals by Resort

Right now you can save on flights with $200 air credits available. Also, check out Kids Ski Free and bring out the entire family. Happy winter from Jackson Hole.
Headwall Bryce


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Freeride World Tour Dispatch: Chamonix

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While it was difficult to leave Jackson with it’s solid snow base and posse of riders, waking up amongst the Alps reminded me of why I love competing on the Freeride World Tour.


Photo: Fresh powder in Austria.

I arrived in Chamonix to compete on the first stop of the Freeride World Tour this past week. I’m always blown away by the mountains here -rising like giants out of the valley floor. The area is incredibly vast, and it seems like there is a chair, gondola, or tram going up every peak. With a great group of competitors in town, shredding around the resorts for a few days was a great way to get rid of our jet lag.

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Photo: George Rodney warming up for the tour with a massive backflip.

I felt pretty good after skiing such good snow in Jackson and was excited to see where my new limits would be. It turned out, for a variety of reasons, that pushing the limits would not be the name of the game this time. My run was far from what I wanted it to be. BUT, a few days later I had the best ski day of my year in Austria and was quickly reminded that there is more to the FWT than just competing.

hadley 4

Photo: Female Skiers draw bibs in downtown Chamonix.

We are now in Fieberbrunn, Austria. The snow hasn’t stopped since we arrived. Mulled wine and apfel strudel are served for apres, and the powder has blanketed the mountains with some much needed snow. The competition is slated for Saturday, and I’m ready to fly!





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Dropping into the (Super Bowl!!) Weekend

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You guys!  The weekend is almost here and it’s STACKED with fun activities and important sports championships.  Make sure you get outside, enjoy the slopes, and then get a group together for fun weekend times.   Here’s a look at some of the top events happening in Jackson–Have fun and be safe!

  • IFSA Jackson Hole Junior Freeride Open
    • Time: Saturday, January 31st and Sunday, February 1st
    • Location: Toilet Bowl, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Village
    • Information:  The JH Junior Freeride Open is open to skiers and snowboarders ages 12-18. It’s a 2-day event, and the first day is a qualifier for Day 2.


  • Spanish Language Classic Cross Country Ski Workshop for Adults
    • Time: Saturday, January 31st from 10-12 pm
    • Location: Wilson Centennial Trail Groomed Ski Track @ Stilson
    • Information: For more details, registration and rental information, click here.  $17 admission


  • After School KidzArt
    • Time: Friday, January 30th from 3:30-5:15
    • Location: The Art Association
    • Information: Art Workshop for grades K-2.
  • Stargazing
    • Time: Friday, January 30th from 7-9pm
    • Location: Center for the Arts
    • Information: Look through the giant Dobsonian Telescope.
    • stargazing-big
  • Birding for Beginners
    • Time: Saturday, January 31st from 9:30-11:30 am
    • Location: Jackson Hole and Great Yellowstone Visitor Center
    • Information: Indoor presentation followed by field session at the National Elk Refuge. 201-5400.
  • Kraut Workshop
    • Time: Saturday, January 31st from 4-6 pm
    • Location: Healthy Being Juicery
    • Information: Make fermented sauerkraut, $10 admission
    • Time: Sunday, February 1st from 3-10 pm
    • Location:  Nick Wilson’s Café in Teton Village! If you’ll be in town, here  is a variety of awesome options.
    • Information:  In case you haven’t heard, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are playing to win.  Who will walk away with a shiny new ring?  Only time and football will tell.

super bowl

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Waffle Taste Test

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While the rest of you skiers are foolishly out skiing powder, these kids are spending their time more wisely, getting jacked on hot chocolate and waffles in Corbet’s Cabin at the top of Jackson Hole.  Skiing with kids is all about the reward, and these 3 kids are not only crushing it, but they are showing the rest of us how it’s done.


Meet Laik:

2.5 years old, total rascal, and descendants of a strong line of Finn’s who will eat just about anything but greatly prefer sweets.  I asked Laik a few questions to get to know him better, (he’s my son, but he’s two so you never really know what you’re going to get).


Laik’s Favorites 

Favorite Thing to do:  Play

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Waffle: Nutella

Dream Job: A Monster Truck

Favorite Ski Run: Jumps

Waffle Eating Technique: Fast



Meet Millie:

Total babe, and total snow queen.  This chick lives in Carmel, CA but could not love snow more, her official quote of the week was, “If the sun comes out will the snow melt?” (It was precisely 20 degrees below zero at that moment…  “No dear, this snow might never melt”.DSC_1421

Millie’s Favorites

Favorite thing to do:  Ski

Favorite Color: Pink and Purple Polka Dots

Favorite Waffle: Strawberry Jelly

Dream Job: Kindergarden Teacher

Favorite Ski Run: The Animal Trails

Waffle Eating Technique: With lots of conversation, “This strawberry jelly waffle is just soooo good!”

waffle tester

 Meet Oliver:

This kid is the definition of California Cool.  He exudes a calm nature, but secretly lurks with some incredible smarts behind that cunning smile.  He’s 2.5 and is every bit of man that you are.


Ollie’s Favorites

Favorite Thing to do: Fly

Favorite Color: Chocolate

Favorite Waffle: Chocolate

Dream Job: Superman

Favorite Ski Run: The driveway

Waffle Eating Technique: Careful Mustache Bites


Riding the tram is not only the coolest 10 minute ride you or your kids will ever experience, but the reward at the top is a day maker.  This experience might be just the ticket that turns winter into a joy ride!


“What’s that?! You don’t think you or your kids would like nutella waffles on top of a mountain?”

waffles at the top of the tram

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Dropping into the Weekend

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TGIF skiers and snowboarders!  Here’s a list of what’s happening in Jackson this weekend. Have fun and be safe!

  • USAA Wes Barron Speed Series
    • Location: Après Vous at Teton Village
    • Time: Friday, January 23rd to Sunday, January 25th
    • Information: Jackson Hole welcomes USSA racers and their families from around the Intermountain Region for the annual Wes Barron Speed Series of Super G races. Click here for more details.

wes barron

  • 4th Annual Global Fat Bike Summit
    • Location: Various events at Hoback Sports, Snow King and more
    • Time: Friday January 23rd to Sunday, January 25th
    • Information: Hundreds of Fat Bike enthusiasts will gather at the Snow King Resort Jan. 24/25 at the 4th Annual Global Fat Bike Festival. Immediately recognizable by their huge 5” low pressure fat tires, Fat Bikes are the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry as winter outdoor enthusiasts realize how easy and maneuverable Fat Bikes are to ride. Hoback Sports, located in downtown Jackson, has been an early adopter of the sport and will be hosting events throughout the weekend.  Click here for details.


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News Years Resolution – Lifetime Skier becomes Snowboarder

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Happy New Year!

It’s hard to figure out what to do for a new years resolution.  Eat better?  Workout more?  Those are more like my everyday resolutions…

This year I went further, searched harder and am about to feel more pain.

Ryan Sheets - Snowboarding - 3


Yes, after a lifetime of skiing I have started snowboarding.

Ryan Sheets - Snowboarding - 2

Even I question myself on this one.  Skiing comes naturally to me after growing up doing it.  But something (or someone…thanks Tom!) kept pushing me to get into it.  I had tried snowboarding 14 or 15 years ago but I was terrible and switched back to skiing immediately.

This time it’s going to be different.  I have gone 4 times in the last couple weeks and put up my ski boots up for sale today.  This snowboarding stuff just got real…a resolution that is here to stay.

Ryan - Snowboarding - 1

Snowboarding is so different than skiing, its such a different feeling when you are carving down the mountain; at least the small part of the mountain I have gone down so far. 🙂   If you are looking for something different to try this year I recommend switching it up on the slopes…push yourself to learn something new.

For me it’s like falling in love with the mountain all over again…even today I have a itching to get back on the slopes as soon as possible.

Ryan - Snowboarding

Let it snow,

Ryan and Joanna




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Powder Skiing Continues in Jackson Hole

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21 inches since Friday and we are close to normal for season snowfall and snow depths.  Normal is really great in Jackson Hole!!! Our snowfall totals for the season are now 232” with a depth of 83”.

The storm began on Friday and on Saturday we woke up to our first of two bluebird powder days.

Jeff Annetts tests out the conditions in Corbet’s Couloir and the landing is soft.Corbets Couloir with Jeff Annetts

A quick traverse from Corbet’s to the Cirque and Jeff lays down first tracks.

The Crags were deep.

The storm returned on Saturday night and Sunday was a full on storm day. Every lap offered free refills and Rendezvous Bowl was a clean slate all afternoon. Don Watkins checks out Alta One and there was not a bump to be found.

It was best to stick to the trees as visibility was poor because it was snowing so hard.
Don Watkins new snow

The sky cleared on Monday and we woke up to another bluebird powder day. With a total of 21″ of new snow it was a perfect day to catch a little air. Owen Leeper takes flight.
Owen Leeper air

The mountain was smooth as silk and powder turns awaited.
owen pow

A quick hike up the headwall with Casey Jilson,
casey jilson hike

and this is what she found.
casey jilson

If you’re looking to experience all of this snow in Jackson Hole, there are some great lodging and inclusive packages set up to get you a great deal.

Go Big in January with Ski Free Stay Free | Take advantage of a $200 air credit per person and Ski Free Stay Free deals for vacation packages starting from just 4 night stays with travel in January and the beginning of February. Purchase any 4 night SKI FREE STAY FREE package and get 4th night of lodging free and 3rd day of skiing free. Plus get up to $200 in air credits to apply towards you air purchase. Call 888.838.6606 to book or speak with a travel consultant. More Info.

Kids Ski Free | Choose any Jackson Hole Resort Lodging condominium or home rental for 4 nights* or more and for each paying adult, kids 14 and under ski free! This package also includes 10% off lodging. Check out more details and book via Jackson Hole Resort Lodging.

We’re all smiles in Jackson Hole.
casey jilson pow smiles

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Vertical Harvest Breaks Ground in Jackson Hole , WY

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Vertical Harvest will be the first three-story, 13,500 square-foot hydroponic green house built in the United States operating year round to sell fresh, locally grown produce to the Jackson Hole community through multiple venues at a competitive and consistent price. Vertical Harvest will provide inclusive employment year round for citizens with disabilities and be a self sufficient for profit business that will serve to set new standards in architecture, growing and employment.
Vertical Harvest will sit on a 30’ x 150’ downtown plot providing an urban planning solution to food production while setting new standards with the “vertical” nature of the architecture and green house growing systems. “It’s the first of its kind in the country,” says Vertical Harvest co-founder and architect Nona Yehia of Jackson-based E/Ye Design. “This building is exciting in that it wraps social, architectural, and agricultural innovations into one dynamic project.”


Even the business model for Vertical Harvest is pioneering. It has been set up as a LCCC, a for-profit organization that includes a social mission. “We feel it is critical for the long term sustainability of the business and important for the employees to be engaged in a for-profit structure,” stated Penny McBride, Vertical Harvest co-founder and business partner with Yehia. Through a combination of private equity, grants (the largest from the Wyoming Business Council), the Town of Jackson support and local “seed funders”, the founders raised nearly $4 million prior to the groundbreaking this week. At the ceremony a large crowd celebrated with Wyoming Governor, the Honorable Matthew Mead and the head of the Wyoming Business Council Shawn Reese, both in attendance. The opening date is set for Fall 2015.

vertical harvest

From the Left:  Jefferson Ellinger, Nona Yehia Eye Design and Co Founder Vertical Harvest, Anna Olson, JHMR VH Board Member, Governor Matt Mead, Mayor Mark Barron, Amy Linn, Self Advocate/Future Employee, Sean Reese, Chair of Wyoming Business Council, Penny McBride, Co Founder Vertical Harvest, John Scott, First Interstate Bank

“After full investigation into the Vertical Harvest business model, the combination of the employment model and the private/public partnership made it clear this was a viable business, but more importantly to me was the societal innovation in the employment model and the solutions that were found beyond traditional financing,” stated David Sokol, Equity Investor, CEO Teton Capital. “Jackson Hole is known for our beautiful National Park backdrop and long winters of snow and skiing so if we can do it here, the message is it can be done anywhere and that is the point,” Sokol added.

vert harv

Future employees of Vertical Harvest at Groundbreaking Ceremony with Governor Mead

Major Grants were received from: Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Governor’s Council on Developmental Disability, First Interstate Bank, Teton Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and 1% for the Tetons.
Corporate Sponsors: First Interstate Bank, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Teton Lodge Company
Seed Funders: Over 300 local Jackson Hole residents
*Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of people with the most significant disabilities in the workplace and community. Under the Employment First approach, community-based, integrated employment is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with significant disabilities. Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in typical workplace settings where they earn at least minimum wage, work with persons without disabilities and they are paid directly by the employer. (Source: U.S Department of Labor)

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