In cowboy country, Wyoming highway authorities have decided to enforce parking regulations on Teton Pass above Jackson Hole. With limited trailhead parking but large numbers of backcountry skiers accessing a gigantic inventory of public land, parking spaces fill fast and skiers can find they’re forced to park illegally or go home.
|Teton Pass parking looks full this morning. Image from WYDOT webcam.|
According to a local source, due to topography such solutions as building more trailheads or enlarging the parking are not practical. A shuttle bus from Jackson was considered last year, with generous funding promised by ski industry companies who wanted to advertise on the bus. Thanks to my favorite entity, the USFS, this terrific ideas was nixed because advertising wasn’t allowed due to USFS rules. More anti commercial weirdness with ridiculous results. (Update: Looks like I was at least partially wrong about this, see comments.)
Wintry Storm 11 (WS11) is yielding a bit of fluff here in Colorado. Good to see as some parts of the Colorado mountains have been developing a layer of temperature gradient (TG) crystals in the snowpack, due to thin snow and cold temps. Such can lead to avalanches, as most of you know but deserves mention. Interestingly, because of storm variations, some areas have little to no TG development, while others are scary.
Speaking of avalanches, on December 11 our local avalanche center is having its annual benefit at Restaurant Six89 in Carbondale, Colorado. If you’re in this area I highly recommend, as Six89 is an incredible restaurant and the $68.90 price includes a four course meal with fine wine — easily a dinner worth a c-note. Take a date. Meet other like minded backcountry skiing or sledding folk. Resos and info: 970-963-6890.
Sad news from the Northwest, another non-avalanche suffocation in a tree well. Word is the Black Diamond Avalung is the ticket for preventing this type of nightmare. If you ski or ride in areas with gigantic snowfall, get one.
I got an interesting press release from Backcountry Magazine. They’re promoting Conor Hurley, a guy who converted a 1982 Mercedes to run on vegetable oil, and plans on piloting his enviro-ride for a five-month backcountry skiing road trip. I guess the idea is to assuage enviro-guilt. Problem is, just about anything you burn for fuel makes that pesky stuff called carbon dioxide. Wasn’t Backcountry the magazine who provided us with that bombastic movie a while back about the global warming disaster waiting to happen, due to carbon dioxide? As far as I know, only (presently viable) solution to that is everyone on the planet basically quits driving. Backcountry road trippers might need to be reminded of this inconvenient truth.
On the other hand, we’re high on what Hurley’s doing because we don’t believe global warming can be stopped (due to geo politics), so we figure everyone should just keep enjoying prosperity, only do it as enviro responsibly as possible. While still pumping C02, Hurley’s project is a good example of doing just that. More, we like the automotive tweaking aspect of this. Next thing you know, Backcountry Mag will be featuring a vegi fueled snowmobile. Now that would be a TWEAK.
Our only concern about the automotive side of Hurley’s project is his vehicle choice. Around here a lot of backcountry skiing trailheads are best accessed with a 4×4 truck or at least something like an all-wheel-drive Subaru. With a set of chains Hurley’s Mercedes will probably do fine for most such places, but not all. If this were us we’d have converted a nice Dodge diesel 4×4 pickup, added an Alaskan camper, then hit the highway.
The PR says Hurley will be looking for vegetable oil while on the road. I think that means the chemically processed stuff that’s ready to use as fuel, not your extra massage oil. Making the stuff is no picnic, but could be fun if you’re into homebrew projects.