It was hard to leave McCall. I was feeling quite smitten with the area, but like a majestic bald eagle, I had to fly free. McCall has charm for days. Even during downtime from shred related activities, it’s an enjoyable place to be. Conditions suck on the mountain? No problem. There’s a beautiful lake right in town, and on a clear day it comes with the backdrop of the Brundage backside, free of charge. Even if it’s crappy weather in town, there’s live hockey to be watched at the ice rink, bad decisions to be made at the Yacht Club, and silly sports to be watched on TV (google “Red Bull Crashed Ice”). After getting a little bit more spring-like shredding in at Tamarack, I left this wonderland (normally a much more wintery one this time of year) expecting the next part of my journey to be less charming. I was headed back South to Boise to make my way east through Idaho, with some ideas for some off-mountain entertainment in the back of my head like getting a membership to Farmers Only or Christian Mingle (only kidding).
You’ve heard about Boise already, and the journey back to it wasn’t all that interesting unless you’re enthusiastic about counting the number of decrepit barns barely standing, alone in a brown, yellow, and white painted field. I counted about 35 before my greyhound-esque chariot reached the Payette River Canyon. I’m sure the guys who got kicked off the bus in McCall and fined $1,300 for smoking on board were absolutely devastated at the idea of missing out on the barn counting.
From Boise, I meandered my way into a group trip being taken by some old and new friends to Grand Targhee. The baron span of highway doesn’t offer much for entertainment until you get much farther east. If you’re ever on your way through the area, I highly suggest hitting up “The Devil’s Washbowl.” Just like me, most you have that adventurous gene. A gene that may manifest itself in your actions on snow, water, or land, and may often involve going places you’re not supposed to. Well, this location provided the perfect opportunity for my friends and I to do exactly that by climbing around on a scaffolding underneath the highway as it passed over the Malad Gorge.
Enough about travelling aye? This trip is about snowboarding! Unfortunately, this season has been a rough one (I’m starting to repeat myself, I know) and conditions haven’t been as ideal for that as I had hoped. The Teton National Forest area has been experiencing an unusual winter with less than ideal winter recreation conditions, like the rest of the northwest, but snow has been holding up a bit better than other areas I’ve been so far. Just like when I went to McCall, a storm followed me to Grand Targhee. It may have only been a few inches, but the quality of snow was light, dry, and very face shot friendly. With mediocre visibility and crowded lift lines, it was good to play a fun game of “keep up with the skier who knows the mountain really well” for the first part of the day. Things got tracked out quickly, but it was all in all a super fun day, with sunbreaks and buttery park laps to round out the day. This week’s theme was a bit different, in that I didn’t opt to work as hard for my turns and instead opted for extra hot tub time. After arriving at the cabin where we were staying, which was right off the road accessing Grand Targhee and provided a irresistibly photogenic view of The Tetons as clouds broke for clear skies as the sun approached setting on Saturday. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist pointing my camera at them for a little while before soaking my aching muscles.
Those clear skies came in handy for Sunday, which we had selected as our 80’s onesie/gaper day. These kind of days are what snowboarding is all about for me. Get out there, have fun, don’t take yourself or your snowboarding too seriously, and don’t be afraid to look stupid. Whether it was big laid back backside slashes, euro-carving, mid slash dance moves, or straight legged stiffies over park jumps, we definitely didn’t look bored. With Jammy Pack providing the tunes from my waist (Tears for Fears giving way to a slippery slope of Daft Punk and MSTRKRFT), even the kid in mid “french fry” during his ski lesson couldn’t look away.
The next week will consist of avoiding Mormon missionaries and finding the bottom of pint glasses in Idaho Falls, ID, while waiting to find a Craigslist ride to Montana (or wherever I decide to go next at the drop of my hat). Til next time!