Update, Sunday, February 12: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort plans to reopen on Monday, February 13, after utility crews worked around the clock the last several days to restore power. After the resort closed down on Wednesday, February 9, due to a storm that brought down several power lines, Teton County declared Teton Village a “state of emergency.” Then, on Friday, local officials declared the county a “disaster area.” A ferocious and wet storm dropped copious amounts of moisture onto an unstable snowpack, closing down three of four highways into Jackson and causing avalanches at all elevations, including one on Snow King Mountain that ripped inbounds, on a mogul run, to the ground.
But with the storm having moved on, things are mostly back to normal. Anna Cole, communications manager for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, stated in a press release that the resort plans to operate “most lifts, retail outlets and restaurants” on Monday.
Editor’s note: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has announced they are unable to re-open the resort for the weekend. The earliest targeted open date at this time is Monday, February 13. The follow is a statement from the resort:
“Safety is the first concern, and JHMR is asking for only specific operational staff to come to Teton Village through the weekend. There is also the request for no unnecessary travel to Teton Village through the weekend as another winter storm approaches. Currently Lower Valley Energy has crews working around the clock to reconstruct the power poles.
JHMR would like to remind locals that there is no uphill travel at this time, and JHMR is seriously enforcing this policy and asks everyone to stay off the mountain during this incident.
The Ticket Office will not open today for refunds, guests are asked to keep tickets and refunds will be managed as soon as possible.”
I had some of the best powder turns of the season yesterday morning, Tuesday, at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. And I didn’t even get up that early. It was the increasingly rare circumstance where skiers were getting first tracks off a chairlift—not just for one run, but over and over again. Skiing off the Thunder chair, I hit the Riverton trail four times in a row and hardly crossed a track. The lift line was jubilant. I couldn't stop laughing.
The snowfall tally from yesterday put 14 inches on top of 15 from the day before, which came on top of a foot of delicious cream-cheese graupel from the weekend. With that, Jackson Hole crossed the 400-inch mark for the season, an almost unheard of statistic for Western Wyoming at this point in the year.
The winter that just won't quit kept rolling with a vengeance. The highway over Teton Pass closes at regular intervals for avalanche control work. Other thoroughfares to the north and south have been frequently shut down as well.
And then, the shit really hit the fan. At around 5:30 p.m., the lights flickered in my house. The microwave reset and my computer shut down. I thought the roof on our little condo was about to be sheared off by the wind, which howled outside like a freight train. A few hours later, we learned from the Jackson Hole News and Guide that up to 10 power poles had been snapped along the road to Teton Village, causing outages for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the Jackson Hole Airport.
Then, while in the middle of discussing the next morning's plan to ski, we learned that the resort wouldn't open today. Just this morning, resort communication manager Anna Cole released the following statement:
"Due to a massive windstorm last night, a significant number of power poles along Highway 390 were blown down, causing Teton Village to lose power. This power outage is being addressed by Lower Valley Energy, but the significance of this damage will be impacting Teton Village for up to seven days. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) will not be operating until further notice. All events scheduled for this week and weekend will be canceled, specifically Skijoring and Special Olympics.
“Safety is the first concern for JHMR visitors and staff, and JHMR is asking for only specific operational staff come to Teton Village today and request that no unnecessary travel to Teton Village is in effect until further notice. With another weather system coming into the area tonight, there is a winter storm watch in effect for the higher elevations. Warming temperatures could result in possible flooding in the valley, making conditions challenging for many reasons.
“JHMR is seriously enforcing no uphill travel this week and asks everyone to stay off the mountain. JHMR will be issuing refunds for all visitors, but at this time, we do not have a location to process those refunds. Updates on operations and incident information will be updated as they come in at www.jacksonhole.com/weather-snow-report.html."
As of noon on February 8, the resort hadn’t given any indication of when it would reopen. Meantime, avalanche danger is rated ‘considerable’ at all elevations this afternoon, and the forecast calls for another three to eight inches.
If there's any consolation, at least now all of us might have time to do some laundry. Then again, we could always meet up at Snow King.