What originally started out 5 years ago as an employee perk to recognize a job well done has evolved into so much more. More than anything else it helps reconnect our staff to the sport of skiing and remind us of why we do what we do at our shop year around.
No other sport can stir one's emotions like skiing does. Beginning with the amazing scenery of the mountains and our connection with nature & the environment.
Skiing allows all of us to ski at our own level & pace and challenge ourselves if so desired. Regardless of whether or not you are a beginner or expert, skiing allows all of us to experience "freedom" firsthand.
Skiing also creates lifelong friendships based around the shared experiences on the slopes and the love of the sport. You can see it in the smiles on everyone's faces. Plain and simple - it's FUN!
And last but not least the reward at the end of a fulfilling day on the slopes = APRÈS SKI!
In the end, the trip has reinforced our goal which is "To provide our customers the finest in equipment, clothing & service through our own active participation in & passion for the sports that we sell." The staff that skis together wins awards together...
So ends our 5th annual end-of-season shop employee ski testing trip to Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming.
I would like to thank the following individuals for helping make our trip complete: Tom Blair, Chip Camillo, Will Frohlich, Gary Ladd, Jeff Ludwigson, Nick Pachmayer, Jon Theis, Brad Weidt.
Overnight the Tetons received another 1"-2" dusting of snow and with the help of a little wind a bit of "fill" had taken place. Everyone got packed and checked out of their condos and headed up for our last day of skiing.
The sun was out and as we headed up the Dreamcatcher lift we were a bit surprised at how cold it was at the top. Our crew fanned out across the mountain to realize that it was total "hero" snow with the groomers in perfect condition; one clean arc leading to the next.
When Dave, Eddie & myself reached the top for our 2nd run we noticed that the Ski Patrol just opened the avi gate to Mary's and we immediately decided to go up.
At the top of the hike we realized that there were only two other sets of tracks which were left behind by the two patrollers who had gone up to check the snow stability. This meant we were going to have first tracks in what now had become the best snow conditions of the week.
The crew did lap after lap, taking short breaks to squeeze all of the remaining vertical they could on our last day.
Bands of snow showers started to come through and with each successive one the texture of the snow started to transform yet again. We were enjoying "fill" taking place right while we were skiing. Areas previously thought to have been "skied out" were renewed.
A few of us continued skiing laps and surmised that most of our crew had called it a day and had headed to Jackson to overnight prior to tomorrow's flights out. As we headed up yet again we were proven wrong as we spied Kellie, Fred & Al ripping down Big Thunder.
Areas that were unskiable earlier in the week had finally received enough coverage to provide fresh tracks and the Lightning trees and Instructors chutes were amazing during the last hour of the day.
The day of skiing and I would suggest the trip had become similar to a book that you have have been reading that is so good you just don't want it to end. Most everyone caught the last chair of the season just before the 4 PM closing.
Everyone came back down to the parking lot at the condo's to turn their skis in and 6 of us packed our rigs for the 18 hour ride home, three of our crew stayed one more night to ski the Ghee and the rest of our group headed to Jackson to fly out on Friday.
The promise of another 3" to 5" of snow never came through as the weather never could quite decide what to do. One run was in the sun and the next one you were looking for the pine boughs on the upper access roads. Regardless the mountain continued to ski great.
Everyone was on the hill between 9 and 9:30 and skied run after run seeking out the best snow. At 11:00 most of us ended up at the base grabbing an early lunch at Snorkles. The Mac & Cheese was the call of the day and was unbelievable.
Dave & Eddie were the most ambitious in the group and opted to hike Mary's for the 2nd day in a row and they were happy to report it was the best snow on the mountain.
Everyone rallied after the first 2 days and skied much later into the afternoon. It was a lot of fun as the group ended up skiing together for the rest of the day.
The day started to wind down around 3:30 for most and for the first time of the trip everyone ended up at the Trap for après ski.
Last but not least, we now have photographic evidence for Joanna's parents...
Overnight the temperature dropped into the middle teen's and the Targhee grooming crew did the strategic runs while leaving enough of the fresh pow alone so people could still venture off and find some stashes.
With 12" of fresh over the past couple of days several in our group were chomping at the bit to hike Mary's. After setting off several charges the patrol opened the gate and the race was on.
The whole crew really got after it today. As previously noted, just the right number of groomed runs, unspoiled pow and good visibility had everyone doing laps.
A couple of years ago the locals were on the back deck of the Trap looking up at Fred's Mountain as the snow kept coming down. One of them commented "Here comes the fill". I asked who's Phil? To which they responded "It's all going to fill in tonight". I like fill!
It started snowing again in earnest around 2 PM which again limited visibility. When this happens we start heading into the trees to pick up some contour and run after run produced new lines and fresh tracks.
The evening wrapped up with an awesome spaghetti dinner cooked by none other than Chef Bruce Morrissette.
It was "lights out" between 9 & 10 for most everyone as we are under a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" with potentially another 8+ inches of snow on the way with temp's in the low to mid 20's. Looks like we will be "testing" more wide skis...
Everyone in our condo were like kids trying to sleep in on Christmas morning. We were all up by 6 AM completely psyched to look out the window to see that it was snowing. 3" on the ground and it's supposed to snow all day!
The old saying "There are no friends on a powder day" could not have been more true as Dave, Eddie, Terri & myself arrived by 8:30 and to our surprise there were already 4 to 5 inches on the ground already.
The Ghee delivered again for the Pierce Crew and as always we really felt welcome. On the information boards at the bottom of every lift was the message "Welcome Pierce Skate & Ski".
Not only does the trip enable all of us to reconnect with the sport of skiing but at the same time with each other away from the shop.
This trip is our 6th in the past 7 years and our 5th straight year at Targhee. The photo below represents the 6 staffers who have made every trip. From left to right - Hugh, Bart, Terri, Dave, Eddie & Ted.
The snow kept dumping and and our crew kept doing laps.Tough work but somebody has got to do it! As the day progressed more & more of the staff headed to the best après ski bar in the world The Trap Bar.
By the end of the day there were only 4 soldiers standing Bart, Craig, Dave & Eddie. It was tough to shut it down as the snow kept coming down and kept stacking up with well over 12" by the time the lifts closed.
The entire crew ended up at the Royal Wolf for beer, dinner, the Final 4 Championship game and did I mention beer?
The whole crew was completely stoked when Davis Silver showed up to ski 3 out of 4 days with us.