| Steep & Deep group atop the Headwall. |
Yes, Dina is wearing a down skirt as well as her new favorite
puffy jacket, a reversible Eider Olan.
But I’m not just skiing. I’m finally making an effort to get better. For the past four days, I’ve been one of 30 skiers in JHMR’s iconic Steep & Deep camp. I couldn’t have timed my camp participation better.
JHMR got upwards of six feet of snow the week I did the camp in late January. That’s right. Six feet! Six! Feet! It was snowing so hard the first and second days we were able to get fresh tracks at the end of each day. I love skiing in storms.
|Skiers come from all over the world for |
Jackson Hole's Steep & Deep Camp
JHMR still holds its Steep & Deep camps even when there is no fresh deep, but it certainly makes things better. One of the four other skiers in my group — the larger group is broken into smaller ones based on skill, athleticism, and aggressiveness early the first morning of camp — came to Jackson from Mexico City just for this camp. A 60-something guy in another group flew in from outside London, England.
Started in 1994 by the late, great Doug Coombs, JHMR’s Steep and Deep camps are unlike anything else offered by any other ski area in the country. Another ski area might have enough steep chutes, couloirs, and bowls to occupy campers for a day, but certainly not enough to allow campers to go for four days with very little repeating of runs. JHMR does.
It also has a stable of instructors that know how to ski them confidently and how to teach me how to do the same.
I started the camp able to get down most anything. But when it was steep terrain I was getting down, very rarely was it pretty. I was hesitant and my turns were irregular. I’d move my legs (and arms) any which way I had to to get myself down safely.
Two days into the camp that changed. How did I know? That afternoon I saw video proof. And there was still two days of camp to go.
At the end of the camp, I wasn’t at a point where I’d be mistaken for my instructor, even if we are of similar height and our jackets are similar in color, but there was no mistaking the progress. Or the smile.
JHMR has two more Steep & Deep camps this season: February 8 – 13 and February 29 – March 3. It comes not only with four days of instruction, but also four days of amazing lunches: flank steak, marinated chicken, fresh fajitas….
A 14-year resident of Jackson, Dina Mishev is the author of Total Tetons, an app available in the iTunes store. She is also a host of the Wyoming PBS show Wyoming Chronicle and is always looking for interesting people to interview. Email her if you've got any suggestions.