Testing the leg at Jackson Hole

Extreme temperature inversion today

Extreme temperature inversion today

Today was the litmus test to see if I could ski or have to cut this trip short. The answer is not entirely clear, as I am not sure whether it was the injury, a crash, or conditions that made me ski for only a short period of time today.

What is unequivocal however, is that today were the coldest temperatures I have ever skied in. The temperature at the base of the mountain was -32 degF (-36 degC) when I started. Quite uncivilized.

-32 degF = -36 degC. You know things are fucked when Fahrenheit and Celsius temps converge

-32 degF = -36 degC. You know things are fucked when Fahrenheit and Celsius temps converge

The inversion effect on the mountain was the most extreme I had ever experienced. There was a 30 degF plus difference between mountain top and base.

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A sea of clouds above the valley floor

I started off very conservatively, and while things were far from pain-free, I managed to stay in control the first few test runs on the groomers. Bear in mind, I really did not open myself up into full GS mode because that outside edge was still giving me problems. I was certainly not carving properly, and doing the sliding/skid on that side, to my dismay; and groomers when you can’t totally rip it just are not that fun. I crashed going at a decent speed and hurt my leg there, but after a moments rest and unbuckling my boot to give the leg some relief, I decided to test things out more on more interesting terrain. I tried not to feel bad that all the fresh snow was gone, and every thing was very hard from being tracked out and from the cold.

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This stuff is usually pretty mellow for me, but my leg made me approach things cautiously and without confidence :(

The lack of new snow made conditions quite challenging for me, because of the impact of the hard snow on the leg.

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Tracked out, hard snow. It wasn’t that much fun, but it was nice to be out under the blue sky.

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The crash really did me in because I was kept falling any time I needed to hold that outside edge. When I am face climbing (versus crack-climbing) I tend to trend to the right before having to return back to the route if it is to the left, because I am always leading with that right side. Today, I found myself skiing down to the left (inside edge) as much as possible until I would have to stop, sit, and flip the ski around to change direction. It was a bit sad.

Super tracked out under the tram

Super tracked out under the tram

I will continue to test the leg out on Monday (Martin Luther King Day), but will likely be relegated to easy groomers, which is really not what you go to Jackson Hole for. I have certainly become familiar with the town and the surrounding area, and it was wonderful to come back to a place I love but had never been to in the wintertime. But I’m ready to hit the road soon and move on.

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