Snowy Decembers are every ski resort’s dream. Thick snowpack, widespread coverage and lots of open terrain for the coming holidays set the bar for an exciting winter season. With 87 inches of settled snow at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl, we have our deepest December snowpack for that location in 42 seasons. Even our base elevation snow is Top Five in depth. We owe our success to multiple storms, three of which have deposited up to 30 inches of snow with three inches of water content. Since the first of the month we’ve had 18 days of snowfall, making for some of the best December skiing on record.
For JHMR and the Teton Range, copious amounts of snowfall equate to increased avalanche mitigation at the resort. Ski patrollers and avalanche forecasters from the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center work in tandem to safely evaluate and mitigate the avalanche hazard each day to the hundreds of known slide paths that make up much of the resort’s infamous terrain. Intimacy with weather and terrain is paramount, and having effective rescue tools at our disposal is integral to safely working a dynamic mountain environment.
This last year we partnered with Mammut Sports Group to outfit our patrollers and alpine guides with their RAS (Removable Airbag Systems) backpacks. Designed and built for daylong comfort, the RAS packs have a moderate carrying capacity of 30 liters that provide three access points to the main compartments for packing explosives, additional layers, avalanche rescue equipment, and extra gear. The stowable trigger handle to the airbag lives in the left shoulder strap, while the airbag itself rides close to your back, separated above the rest of the pack.
We patrollers, like craftsmen, appreciate good tools. It allows us to work with purpose and efficiency. Mammut has been making mountain equipment since 1862, so it’s no surprise they’ve crafted a pack that satisfies the myriad demands of a large alpine workforce.
This is not to be taken lightly. Patrollers are notoriously nerdy, picky and opinionated. Any patroller who says otherwise is lying. We like what we like, and there’s a reason for it: we want stuff that works. It’s already cold, windy and dark when we head out on route in the mornings, so having a tool that allows us to literally carry out our duties with the least amount of drama is the tool we want most. This isn’t meant as a testimonial for all to marvel. It’s just a simple shout out to our partner in the industry who’s created a worthy product that we like and trust.
Jackson Hole Ski Patrol