Friday, September 28, 2012

The Ski Bum Institute

posted by Chris Bangs

Mount Moran

My first HPM style trip started in 2002, when I rode my bicycle from Missoula, Montana to the Grand Tetons.  I stayed for a month (for free) at the American Alpine Club Teton Climbers Ranch, (thanks Sue!) and climbed and skied and frolicked my merry way around the Grand Tittie Mountains. Running into old friends, meeting new ones, and taking care of old vendettas.  Namely Mount Moran, and skiing the Skillet Glacier. No other mountain at that time had cast a stronger spell over me than Mount Moran. The first time I saw Mount Moran and the Skillet Glacier from the shores of Jackson Lake during winter, I dropped down to the ground and almost puked. Instantly the mountain's spell overtook me. It was love at first sight. Drop me to my knees style love, monarch butterflies in my stomach, style love. I will never really have lived until I ski this line, all by myself, just me and the mountain, together as one, style love.

That first view of the Skillet Glacier was back when I lived in Jackson Hole in 1997. I was in the process of becoming a full fledged ski mountaineer, and seeing lines in the mountains like the Skillet Glacier always took my breathe away. This time though I was seeing the line in person, and in winter when the run from the summit, all the way down to the lake, is over 6,000 vertical feet of relief.

Five years later, having graduated from The Ski Bum Institute, located in Valdez, Alaska, I was now back in the Tetons, one my first HPM style trip. Looking for love. Good old-fashioned Mountain-Man-LOVE.

This is what love looks like.

authors notes:

The Ski Bum Institute, does not actually exist. Yet if you manage to graduate from The Ski Bum Institute,,,, then you're in your thirties, still living in a total dump, and probably don't have a girlfriend. 

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