It has been two weeks since the last storm, and Porter Fox settles in to wait for the next. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is a powder sanctuary reserved for the most skilled backcountry ski mountaineers. After a decade in the spotlight, 23-year-old professional skier Sean Pettit sits at the helm of a meticulously crafted empire. On the crest of the Sierra Nevada, Sugar Bowl holds on to its history to keep skiing alive. Plus, the best skis of the year. Celebrating 45 years, the September issue is on newsstands now.
The carefully commoditized skiing experience of Sean Pettit
He's quiet and calm at home among his close friends, not one to entertain the room. But when we're out, Pettit holds court everywhere we go, greeting each hostess with a kiss on the cheek, making plans and slapping backs with every guy he runs into. He exclusively orders cocktails ("I've never seen Sean drink a beer," says Nick McNutt, one of many friends we run into) and schmoozes like only a man trained to build relationships, both professional and personal, at parties since age 12 could.
How Grand Teton National Park became skiing's greatest treasure
Swirling gray clouds obscure the peaks as we slide our skis across the frozen surface of Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Buried beneath several feet of snow and ice, Phelps is one of six morainal lakes that sit at the base of the Tetons, a small range with big vertical along the Western edge of Wyoming. Halfway across Phelps, snow blows horizontally into my left ear, and we all instinctively reach for our hoods without breaking stride. Though the weather is ominous, our spirits are high, and we keep a steady, rhythmic pace to reach the mountains hidden in the clouds.