Storm Chasing

February 3 to 24 (Monarch, Wolf Creek & Crested Butte, CO; Grand Targhee, WY; Salt Lake City, UT) —

After leaving Leadville, we began a run of eight feet of snow in ten days. It was as good as it gets.

We began at Monarch, a fun little mountain outside of Salida, CO. It reminded us of a smaller PowMow and we loved it. Great snow with few (but friendly) people, and cheap. We had stock-piled a bunch of 2:4:1 vouchers at various Shell stations (free with a ten gallon fill up), which meant we were skiing for $30/each a day. We would have paid much more for this snow:


In the parking lot of Monarch, a couple stopped by to admire Tigger. It turned out that Heidi and James are also on the Pro Leisure Tour (like ourselves) and were also chasing snow (like ourselves). We made plans to hook up later in the storm cycle.

From Monarch, we headed to one of our favorite mountains in the world – Wolf Creek in the southwest corner of Colorado. It delivered.

Day 1 was deep.


Then it got ridiculous.

Alberta lift right after it opened at mid-morning
Waterfall area


Weighing where to head next, we received a text from Pete that he was heading to Monarch because they were about to get hit. Excited for some Bonus Pete, we back-tracked and met him in the Monarch parking lot for first chair.

Monarch again delivered, dumping all day.

No action shots because, well, skiing with Pete


After a great day at Monarch, we debated what to do next. Pete suggested that Crested Butte (a) would have been hammered by the same storm; and (b) would have been unlikely to have opened its steeper terrain because there was just too much snow too fast. We made the two hour drive to CB. Of course, our first stop was Secret Stash for some pizza where we met up with Andy and Heidi and congratulated them on their wedding the week before.

Andy confirmed that many of CB’s steeps hadn’t opened so the morning would be awesome. Andy and Heidi were kind enough to put us up in their house just across from the slopes. We were on it first thing and enjoyed great turns all day. We also received a text from James and Heidi (Monarch friends) who were also there, and we did laps with them all day.

Let’s ski that chute.


Well, actually, V did laps with them all day. After we all lapped a Poma for a half dozen untracked runs, Pete took us over the river and through the woods on a hike to an outer bowl that had just opened. The turns were awesome, but I was shot by the time we got down. Out of caffeine-filled shotbloks as well as red bulls, I couldn’t bounce back so I called it a day at 1:30.

Pete, V, and James skied until closing, hitting Third Bowl when it opened for the first time in a long time.

Hike to Third Bowl
V at top of some Third Bowl chute

Yes, we officially have reached the stage where V is a more hard core skier than I am.

Pete had to head back to work, and with no snow on the horizon in Colorado, we headed north. After a quick stop off in SLC to hit the Patagonia Outlet President’s Day sale, we booked it to Grand Targhee which was in the bullseye of the next storm.

We camped in the GT lot, which allowed us to be first in line. Targhee, as always, delivered the goods, but it also lived up it’s nickname – Grand Foghee.

It also – for the first time in our expereince – was absolutely packed due to the holiday weekend. We’re just not used to spending ten or more minutes in a lift line so we decided to try Montana.

On our way to Montana, V played around on her “new” iPhone (thanks Jay!) and created the above shot which we sent to our friends, Chris and Trey, who have a place near Driggs, ID and ski Grand Targhee. We hadn’t contacted them since they are both busy professionals, have three kids, and live in Houston. Much to our surprise, Chris and Trey were both in Driggs for the weekend due to Trey being in Montana for work and Chris flying in for a 36 hour visit. Excited to visit our friends, we flipped a U (after a stop at the Dillon, MT Patagonia outlet to grab gifts for their kids) and headed back towards Targhee.

We got to their house in Alta, WY (just up the road to Targhee from Driggs) and were delighted to eat delicious spaghetti cooked by Chris while drinking cocktails prepared by Trey. With dinner, we moved on to Silver Oak wine and then to a 20 year old Bordeaux that was outstanding. And then headed to the hot tub, where the wine continued to flow.

We had discussed skiing early the next morning, but an 11am departure to drive to Jackson to catch their flight to Houston made that difficult. Of course, it had nothing to do with massive hangovers.

We drove them to Jackson, killed bacon burgers and fries at MacPhail’s, then returned to their house which they graciously offered to let us use for the week.

View of the Grand Teton from Alta side
Grand Targhee at sunset viewed from house


V and I then entered a stage where, although we hit GT a few more times, we didn’t get out of bed early for less than 6 inches. [sometimes the jokes write themselves . . . . ] We also got caught up on Game of Thrones and hooked on True Detective. We may or may not have stayed up until midnight multiple times to watch “just one more episode.”

After an awesome week relaxing and skiing at GT, we headed to Salt Lake City for V’s birthday. Rob hooked us up with a terrific room at the Kimpton hotel in downtown SLC. We stayed in for V’s birthday night, ordered room service, and watched Catching Fire.

Why eat dinner when you can just have dessert?

After eating V’s favorite Belgian waffles at Bruge’s the next morning and then her favorite pizza at Settebello, we headed to the SLC airport for a flight to Baja for some surfing with Erin and Pete.


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