Training and Running with Jess McMillan

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This week I had the good fortune to run and train with my friend Jess McMillan.  Jess is one of Jackson Hole’s pro-skiers,  Pilates instructor and overall super mountain athlete.  She has been a great support this summer as I’ve been stepping up my running program with Eric Orton.  We hit the trails and also spent time in her Pilates studio to chat about what it takes to be an athlete.

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AC: In Eric Orton’s book he talks a lot of awareness.  What does that mean to you as an athlete and Pilates instructor?
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Grand Adventure (Boys and) Girls

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Yesterday, something really exciting happened. Riley Frances, Ilka and I had loose plans to climb the Wildflower Trail and then enjoy drinks on The Deck at the top. That was the plan until I found out that two of my favorite local kids were taking a trip to Teton Village to check out the Grand Adventure Park! The Grand Adventure Girls quickly decided that we should take Ash and Scarlett to the bungee trampolines to see how high they could jump–Ash said he could probably jump to the top of Teewinot, so we thought we’d check out his skills!

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Ash and Scarlett were no strangers to the Grand Adventure Park, so it was funny to watch them go through the Bungee Trampoline line.  Ash immediately assumed his “harness stance” (see below) and then patiently waited for his turn.  Like a true gentleman, he let his older sister bounce first.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett’s happy energy was contagious.  Hearing her squeal and scream while she bounced into the air brought smiles to every face within 50 feet.  She didn’t want to flip, but she gave out copious smiles.

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Then it was time for Ash to leave the bench and try his best to get higher than Teewinot.  He took off his shoes and told the trampoline attendant he wanted to go super duper high–and boy oh boy, did he!  There was a slight moment of panic on Ash’s face when he shot high into the air, but then he quickly let out some hearty giggles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAsh decided he was the highest jumper that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had every seen, and I’m pretty sure I agree!  It was sunny and very warm, so after taking turns on the trampoline, we decided to walk down to Nick Wilson’s to cool off.

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Once we got to Nick’s it was very clear that food was not the priority–Instead, we all decided to color on the kids’ menus and hydrate a little bit.  After a few games of Tic Tac Toe and some extra shenanigans by me, we decided to share some chicken tenders, quesadillas, and orange slices.  I even walked away with some art by Scarlett, which is now above my desk in the Olympic Sports Plaza.

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As I’m sure you can see, trying out the bungee trampoline with Ash and Scarlett made my day.  If you know any kids that love to have fun, be sure to make your way to The Grand Adventure Park and see if you can break Ash’s Top-of-Teewinot bounce record.

Stay tuned for next week with the Grand Adventure Girls!

Father’s Day in Teton Village

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Teton Village is buzzing with energy now that the summer season has started, and there are a slew of fun activities to do with the special dad, grandfather or uncle in your life.  So pack up the car and spend the day in Teton Village this Father’s Day!

Here are five FREE activities that dad will totally dig:

1.  Ride the Tram – Fathers ride for free this Sunday, June 21st.  Don’t miss the delicious waffles at the top, as they make great fuel before a hike or paraglide ride for a thrill-seeking adventure.dad-tram2-0007

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Grand Adventure Girls Show You The Ropes

Today, the usual morning coffee wasn’t providing the “punch” that Riley Frances and I needed to kick off the day.  Instead of upping the ante and ordering something with several shots of espresso, we decided to let a hefty dose of adrenalin wake us up.  Alas, it was time for the Grand Adventure Girls to take on The Ropes Course!

Riley Frances and Shellie take on The Ropes Course!

Riley Frances and Shellie take on The Ropes Course!

It was very exciting that Ilka volunteered to be our trusty photographer this time, because it allowed Riley Frances to step out from behind the lens.  Now you can finally see the face behind the last two weeks of photographic talent.

Riley Frances comes out from behind the lens.

Riley Frances comes out from behind the lens.

Our first stop was Teton Village Sports, as we did not have the proper gear for the course and the harnesses (dresses and skirts don’t work AT ALL).  After speaking with the staff, we followed their advice and outfitted ourselves with active wear that allows for a lot of movement.  Riley Frances sported a Lolë top and bright red fitted pants and I chose an outfit by Icebreaker.   Once we had our fresh, new gear, it was time to make our way to The Ropes Course.

I’m not going to lie, I definitely had a few butterflies bouncing around in my stomach.  Riley Frances was a ball of excitement and tried to convince me that there was nothing to be nervous about.  As soon as our passes were scanned, the Ropes Course staff outfitted us with full harnesses and some nice lookin’ red helmets.

Harness time!

Harness time!

A few of the staff members checked the security of our harnesses and gave us the “ok” to head over to Ropes Course orientation.  We learned how to clip in/out of the Ropes system, and, once we got the hang of it, it was time to adventure through the course.  Riley Frances led the way and continued to be my fearless leader.

Geared up from the feet up!

Geared up from the feet up!

In the beginning, the ropes challenges were easy.  There were tightly suspended bridges and a couple of tightropes, but there was always a place to hold to keep your balance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we got to the more advanced challenges.  There was a single tightrope that required a lot of focus and balance, as well as a series of rope loops that we had to move through.  Even though the heights and challenges were intimidating at times, I was amazed by the support that I heard not just Riley Frances and Ilka, but from the other folks moving through the course.  There was a group of little girls that kept shouting “you can do it!” which made me laugh AND encouraged me to finish out some of the more advanced challenges. Check out this photographic evidence!

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At the end of each ropes series, it was time to zipline down to the bottom by jumping off a wooden platform.  Staying true to her fearless leadership, Riley Frances jumped off the 35 foot platform first, and hooted and hollered with joy until she hit the ground.

I was a bit more hesitant, but the staff member gave me a little bit of encouragement and reminded me that it’s more fun to jump than to stay perched on the platform all day.  So I jumped!  And it was just as fun as Riley Frances made it seem.

Our time on The Ropes Course came to an end, but our adventure left us VERY thirsty.  Instead of drinking from our water bottles, we decided to get something more appetizing at The General Store.  Our choices?  The Mango Tango smoothie, the iced caramel latte, and the decadent cookies n’ cream milkshake (covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce).

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With our delicious drinks in hand and an umbrella overhead, we looked through some local planners and discussed what The Grand Adventure Girls should do next week.

Cheers to conquering The Ropes Course!

Cheers to conquering The Ropes Course!

Pretending like we don't want to gulp down our drinks.

Pretending like we don’t want to gulp down our drinks.

 

Oops, drinking all three.

Oops, drinking all three.

The Deck is open starting June 21st, so we’ll be hiking to the top and rewarding ourselves with drinks and appetizers!  See you then…

 

 

 

Wildflower Trail – A Special Run in Teton Village

Now a few weeks into my Eric Orton running program, I am adding mileage, hills and speed to workouts.  I’ve been spending a lot of time alone with my fancy watch on the trails, so I called up Tim Mason, JHMR’s General Manager, to head out for a run up the mountain on the Wildflower trail.  There is no one better to run with than Tim, as he loves the mountain and knows it better than anyone.   Wildflower, swing, mason -June 2015
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Summer’s in Full Swing at JHMR!

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Good weather in Jackson Hole is finally here and so are all of the fun summer activities in Teton Village. The Grand Adventure Park and Bike Park are officially open for action on Saturday, June 13th.

New this year, Jackson Hole is offering The Grand Adventure Pass, a full-day pass that provides unlimited access to all of the outdoor activities in the Grand Adventure Park! For just $79, you can spend your entire day exploring the Aerial Tram, Ropes Course, Bike Park, Bunge and Climbing Wall.

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If you like an extra dose of excitement, come check out the Bike Park, accessed by the Teewinot Chairlift. Great for all ages and abilities, the Bike Park has trails that range from easy to more difficult. Look for Friday Night Bikes starting on June 19th, when music is playing, energy is high, and lift tickets are only $10. JH Sports offers 2 for 1 bike rentals from 5-7 pm.

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Jackson Hole Sports Rental Team is ready to loan you a sweet downhill, cross-country, or cruiser bike!

Disc Golf received a face-lift this year as well! It’s boasting a full 18 hole course, with a completely different layout. Check out the map and scorecard below. (Download Map)

 

Tater at the Top

In this day and age, dignified celebrities are hard to find. In Jackson Hole, we are lucky to have a small, furry celebrity who knows how to stay true to himself, despite the fame. Who is this small town celeb? Tater Tot, of course!

For those of you who haven’t laid eyes on this adorable puppy, Sir Tater Tot of the Tetons is a local avalanche rescue dog-in-training who has spent the majority of his young life learning about mountain life. Over the past 108 days (his lifespan thus far), Tater has been introduced to snow, skiing, swimming, four-wheeling….and flocks of doting women.

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Yesterday, I was lucky enough to join Tater on his first Tram ride and learn more about a day in the life of this pup.

Unlike many dogs, Tater is not bothered by the open grates leading up to the Tram.  In fact, he wasn’t very phased by walking into the Tram itself–Cool as a cucumber! Once we were inside the car, Tater immediately introduced himself to everyone on board before sitting next to me on a bench.

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In this phase of his life, Tater is getting familiar with obedience basics.  He’s learning commands like Come, Sit, Stay, Lie Down, and has already shown impressive progress for his age.  Once he’s mastered the initial commands, he’ll move onto more advanced rescue-oriented tasks like Hide and Seek games focused on sight, sound, and eventually smell.  He definitely has a good nose–Tater was sniffing the air for several minutes before we noticed a marmot in a distance!

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Though many dogs are motivated by treats, Tater works hard on learning commands so that he can do his favorite activity–Tug of War! Even though he’s a puppy, he’s been known to play a hardy game of T o’ W with dogs twice his size!

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Just as I thought our trip to the top was winding down, Tater spiced things up.  His attention was drawn to something beyond a ledge of rocks, and he quickly ran away to investigate. I followed him to see what was so interesting and was not surprised that Tater found a big patch of snow where he proceeded to tumble, run and play until it was time to go.  This guy seriously loves snow!

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For more Tater photo updates follow @jacksonhole on Instagram where he is often featured.

 

Following a Running Recipe and Putting it All Together

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I read Born to Run a few years ago.  At the time, I was not running due to a mountain bike crash that left my back completely jacked up and thumb broken.  I finished the book totally inspired, so I started running casually, but never thought about it too seriously other than being a great mechanism to be back on the trails (and not on my mountain bike after that crash!).  Then last year I met Eric Orton, and very recently I finished his book, The Cool Impossible.

20140630_ES_orton4Eric Orton – making the uphill running look like a piece of cake!

Here is my shot at a metaphor expressing how I feel with the newly acquired knowledge I gained from Eric’s book: For the first time in my life I have all the ingredients and tools to bake a really fancy cake.  And I don’t bake.

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And so starts my attempt to make that cake… I bought a really fancy watch.  It took me three weeks to get the nerve to buy it, set it up and actually try it out, but I did!  This is not just a watch, but also a GPS, a heart rate monitor and can plug into my computer so I can download and sort all the data it’s collecting from me, which we will use to develop and maintain an optimal training schedule.  In this day and age, tons of people have watches or gadgets like this, and you can track EVERYTHING.  But I’ve stayed away, out of fear.  Fear of knowing I’m not getting enough sleep, that I’m not running as fast as I thought, or that my heart rate is way too high while talking to my mother on the phone!

I take a breath and remember, this fancy watch is the oven to bake my fancy cake.  It’s essential it to put everything together.  So now with my watch, my new knowledge and willingness to dive in 100%, I meet Eric in Teton Village to get started.

I ran my first mile with Eric, and it was actually fun to use the watch.

Running in the Tetons with Eric Orton (6 of 9)

Orton likes my slightly cheesy metaphor, and like a good coach, told me that with time, “the oven will always be ON and you are putting yourself out there for everyone to taste your cooking.”  So, I hope this installment tasted alright.  Hopefully next week will be even better when we hit the trails!

Warm Weather, Wool & Whiskey

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Finally!  The sun is shining and the birds are chirping (loudly).  As soon as the fog burned off this morning, Ilka, Riley Frances and I headed to The Village Commons to soak up the sun and discuss more of our Grand Adventure Girl summer plans.  Not long after, our boyfriends, Tim and DJ,  caught wind of the gorgeous weather and met us on the lawn.  Right when we were really started to make progress on our collective tans (except for me, no point in lying), the weather spontaneously shifted into a sun shower.  As pretty as it was, the rain was (surprise!!) wet, so we made our way to the covered walkway.   This is where the fun began!

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

The sign sat in our path like an omen–Happy Hour ALL DAY!  That seemed like a perfect way to wait out the shower, so we wandered into Wool & Whiskey to see what the offer was all about.  Alas, all types of fun ensued.  Ilka and I expected the guys to go straight for the whiskey bar, and were quite surprised to see both Tim and DJ perusing all of the racks.  DJ and Tim are both snappy dressers, but it was fun to see them try on new styles and really work the camera for our dear photographer, Riley Frances!

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

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credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

Located next to Teton Village Sports on the Village Commons, Wool & Whiskey is a men’s mercantile shop with a fully stocked whiskey bar. Though the shop is known for  menswear inspired by a modern mountain lifestyle, there are a lot of accessories and sweaters that Ilka and I couldn’t resist checking out.   That said, we didn’t want to take away from Tim and DJ’s time to shine in Wool & Whiskey’s ruggedly sophisticated threads.

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

Once the clothes were tried on, modeled and purchased, it was time to get to the main event: whiskey tasting.  The bar had a lot of variety, which made our decision somewhat difficult.  Not to worry–with a little bit of guidance from our knowledgeable bartender, we decided to taste the Bulleit Rye and Knob Creek.  Inevitably, the spirits ramped up our spirits (terrible wordplay, apologies) and soon we were toasting to all sorts of things: warm weather, delicious BBQ, a well-tailored pair of pants, the softest flannels, and of course, GREAT whiskey.

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

Honestly, our Wool & Whiskey adventuring couldn’t have played out better, because as soon as we walked out to the commons, the sun was out and it was time to resume the tanning/freckle-collecting.   Thank you Wool & Whiskey for the impromptu day of fun!

credit: Riley Frances Boone

credit: Riley Frances Boone

Next week, Ilka, Riley Frances and I will check out the Disc Golf Course in Teton Village and see if we can take on the sport professionally.  See you then!

JH Bike to Work Day!

Doug Loham wheeled his penny-farthing bike to Teton Village from Jackson.

National Bike to Work Day – in all other areas of the country – is May 15.  As you all know, Jackson Hole spring weather isn’t always conducive to a community bike ride, especially when it’s 30 degrees and raining. Which is why, TODAY, JUNE 1 is Jackson Hole’s Bike to Work Day.  And what a beautiful day for it!  It feels like our summer has finally begun, after it rained for most of May. pearl-street-1

A quick stop at either of the 2 bike stations at Pearl Street Bagels(town and Wilson) get you a free tune-up, courtesy of Hoback Sports in Jackson.  And, if you’re biking, you get $3 in bagel bucks and a free cup of coffee – you can’t beat that deal!


The new bike path tunnel near Stilson is complete!

The new bike path tunnel near Stilson is complete!


Kim Prebish powers her way to JHMR one her first ride of the year!

Kim Prebish powers her way to JHMR on her first ride of the year!


Community wide, bikers are encouraged to use alternative means of transportation to get to work. Biking, walking, riding the bus, and carpooling are great ways of accomplishing this. As a kick-off to the summer commuting season, today starts the Commuter Choice Challenge – a Friends of Pathways sponsored summer-season event. Simply create an account here and start logging your miles! Join an existing workplace team or create a new one.  It’s a great way to track your personal mileage, as well as compete with other teams in the valley.


Doug Loham wheeled his penny-farthing bike to Teton Village from Jackson.

Doug Lowham wheels his penny-farthing bike to Teton Village from Jackson.


Maybe this is the new retro style of downhill bikes?

Maybe this is the new retro style of downhill bikes?


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Jon DeGroot enjoys a bagel, bike bell, and stickers from the Friends of Pathway‘s station set up to reward the bikers at Teton Village.