My first photo project this season resulted in Storm Dispatch Three for Powder Magazine. I held on to the classic 80’s movie theme of Storm Dispatch Two, but changed the concept up a bit. I wrote close to five hundred words of inspiration connected to John Cusack’s ski movie – Better of Dead. The bottom line is: No matter how bad the snow gets, it is the days of the monster storm that make you truly realize you are not Better Off Dead.
I lay peacefully on my living room floor with my 7-year-old son stretched across my chest, enlightening him to the joy of an ’80s relic ski movie, Better Off Dead and reminiscing of the days when I wanted to ski the “K-12 dude!”
The Tram in Jackson, Wyoming, is definitely responsible for bringing people to the top of what was considered “extreme” back in the days of Better Off Dead. Although our ski culture may now consider a tram ride more mainstream than it was in the ’80s, I can tell you from personal experience that the thousands of acres of potential terrain accessible from the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram are just as temperamental as in the days of Better of Dead.
This winter storm was so aggressive that Tigger Knecht, Hadley Hammer, Andrew Whiteford, and I spent two days in a row sitting inside of Corbet’s Cabin until almost midday as ski patrollers relentlessly bombed avalanche zones to make it as safe as possible for everyone who wanted to access Wyoming’s K-12.
Every photo composition that I had pre-visualized was a no-go. We were confined to rope-lined boundaries of the ski area for safety. Avy danger was rated “high” pretty much to the valley floor. Rain was falling at my house 12 miles away during most of the storm, but here on the mountain peaks of the Tetons the snow was falling at almost an alarming rate. Both of the mornings that I sat in Corbet’s waiting for our ski light to go green, the mountain was reporting double digit snowfall totals…