Pg. 076 Jackson Hole
Cohen Bennie-Faull explains why the combination of Jackson Hole’s incredible terrain and regular deep powder is a skier’s dream
Hotham skier Coen BennieFaull has made Jackson Hole his home for the past two northern hemisphere winters, and he intends to keep going back. Here he tells us why…
Jackson Hole really is the Wild West – an untamed lifestyle where everything is possible and anyone who lives in Jackson is probably capable of anything. Jackson nurtures a special combination of talented and motivated individuals, as well as an endless opportunity to try something new and live outside the proverbial box. Not to mention the geography of the place, located amongst the Tetons in Wyoming, Jackson finds itself in the least populated state of America, and amongst some of the most mind-bending terrain you will ever come across.
However, what makes Jackson so rad in my eyes is the people that gallivant around this revered corridor of mountains. Drawn by the unruly culture and extraordinary landscape, the kind of crowd that finds itself in Jackson – whether it be on holiday, or sucked into the vortex for a more long term commitment – share the same unique enjoyment for adventure. Maybe it’s the love of the freakish week-long storms that drown the place on a regular basis, or the accessible terrain and vertical drop, or the backdrop that keeps your jaw dropping the entire time your within view of the Teton range. This shared take on life creates a culture unlike any I’ve visited before, collective in nature and extremely content with the world on a daily basis. Kind of like a friend with an infectious smile that you can’t help but grin with every time you lay eyes on it, Jackson Hole is infected with happiness, smiles, and an enjoyment of life in general. It’s hard not to catch the vibe.
From a skier’s point of view, Jackson Hole has always been the Mecca at the top of the list (it was at the top of mine for ten years before I managed to make my way here for the first time, just last year), with the
Jackson Hole is renowned for some of the best terrain in North America. Cohen dropping into another bowl and another face shot.
OPPOSITE: Hooking into cold, dry snow at speed. Epic
best amalgamation of regular deep snow, devilishly steep terrain, and unbounded options as to where and what a day of shredding can entail every time you click in. The resort itself throws up an assortment of challenges on its own, whether hiking the Headwall to take on some of the heaviest lines you could ever imagine, or dropping into the famous Corbet’s Couloir, or just feeling the burn from diving your way down 4,139 feet of vertical rise all off of the one aerial tram ride with a 100 people standing capacity. But it’s what lays both north and south of the big red box that should excite you the most. With an open gate policy, the backcountry here is never ending and rarely do you ski a day out of bounds that doesn’t take you to at least one new zone you have never seen or even thought about sending it to. In addition to that, all within a hop, skip, and jump from town, you can find yourself your own slice of ski touring heaven in both the Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) and up on Teton Pass, depending on how much time you can afford getting after that stoke. I have put myself in Jackson Hole the last two winters to chase the dream and surround myself with like-minded individuals in pursuit of making this lifestyle a sustainable one for the foreseeable future. Why not do more of what makes you happy in life?
Not only is it one of the best big mountain training grounds in the world, but it is also devoid of your classic beginner and intermediate ski resort crowd. The vast
majority of its terrain is rendered “extreme” by the nature of the Teton Range, rising almost directly vertical out of the prairie land below the clouds.
This past season stands in stark contrast to the previous, with endless storms dropping four, five, and six feet of snow in one cycle. Last year, a rarity for Jackson, no snowfall was seen between February 6 and the end of March. However, the stoke levels were still the same, enhancing the view that it is more than just the snow that keeps the vibe around this corner of the globe.
I ski and live in Jackson with some of the most determined and motivated folk I have ever met, and it seems to be a theme about town, an overwhelming push to get after it day in and day out.
With regular storms, this season brought a new adventure to just about every day, and the deepest snow I have ever skied. Waking up to 12 inches plus overnight with a further seven or eight falling by the time lifts stop loading at the end of the day almost becomes expected when Jackson Hole decides to turn it on for a winter. When that happens, the set limits of what is possible seem to blow away with each storm and you can’t help but get a glimpse of the feeling that all the effort to put yourself in that place, at that time, was completely worth it.
“This season brought a new
adventure to just about every day, and the deepest
snow I’ve ever skied.”
Matt Reardon, one of the many Squaw locals who hit KT22 on the good days. OPPOSITE: KT 22, accesses some of the best in-bounds
terrain in North America. This is only the front side.