words and photos: Blake Paul
A few wintery storm cycles have made their way through western Wyoming the past couple of weeks, blanketing the high alpine with that fluffy white stuff we’ve all been waiting for. A foot or more had already fallen about an hour away from Jackson in the Southern Absaroka Range on the Continental Divide. I had already seen posts of Bryan Iguchi getting after it in late September and again in early October summiting peaks and getting pow turns with his #peakbaggingpomeranian Panda zipped up in his jacket. I returned home to see what the mountains had to offer. Guch hit me up that night, planning for tomorrow’s splitboard mission. It was time to dig deep in the closet, pull out all the gear, and get back into the winter cycle.
Guch, Alex Yoder, and myself headed north out of Jackson in Yoder’s newly-purchased truck camper. As we arrived at the bottom of the pass, the snow wasn’t plentiful–a few inches blew around on the dry sagebrush. As we climbed higher and higher, the road began to get icy and the trees began to turn white. Storms tend to get trapped up on the top of the pass right at the continental divide. The clouds will hover around the peaks of the mountains, just dumping snow. We geared up and headed for the hills.
I soon discovered that the mountains up here were much different than anything I’ve snowboarded around before. The terrain around this area offers an amazing amount of variety: long plateaus lead to 11,000 foot peaks, steep chutes, fun gullies, 800 foot cliffs, sharp rock spires shoot up in-between crests. I couldn’t believe the views. Looking in a 360, you can see the Teton Range, into Yellowstone, the Wind River, Gros Ventre Ranges, and all the valleys in-between. It’s always rad to get out to new zones and explore the mountains close to home. After several miles of splitboarding, a night spent in the parking lot, and a few core shots, bottomless pow turns were made and the stoke of scoring good snow and just simply riding a snowboard was back.