When it’s early January and the only place to be is Jackson Hole.
Since I can remember, early season in Jackson Hole has always been the spot. Right around Christmas into New Years, snow cycles tend to pummel Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the surrounding mountain ranges. Massive snowfall quickly covers all those pre-season stumps, rocks, and other hazards, ski patrol starts pulling the rope on new runs, and soon everyone is riding the mountain full throttle. And when the storms clear, a nice cold window of high pressure normally sets in, beckoning us to get out in the backcountry.
For the last four years I have found myself welcoming our next rotation around the sun with a 6 a.m. wake up call, negative temperatures and mountains coated with a fresh blanket of snow. This past winter was no different, I crewed up with Bryan Iguchi and Mark Carter and we headed out to some familiar zones to start shooting for the season.
The crew spent the better part of January exploring the hills close to home, meeting up with a few other riders, filmers, and photographers along the way. We hit some classic jumps, some lines, pat downs, hips, and we even discovered an entirely new zone. The days spent in the backcountry met us with freezing cold temperatures, snowmobile exhaust, dry powder and bright sunshine. During the storms, we indulged in pow laps at the resort, dinners at Teton Thai, and beers at The Rose. It was a perfect way to start the season, just cruising around my hometown.
I have been riding in Jackson Hole for 16 seasons; it will always hold a significant place in my heart. The mountains and people here have had a major influence on my snowboarding—from riding with the snowboard team as a grom, to filming out in the backcountry with Guch and Carter. Having those guys show me the ropes is something I’ll always be thankful for. Every year I grasp a better understanding and appreciation for what we enjoy here in Jackson Hole. It will always keep me coming back.
Blake Paul is a traveler and board rider from Jackson Hole.