February 09, 2005
Those less hardy, (or is that fool hardy), than ourselves might re-think heading north after receiving first hand accounts of the blue ice phenomenon sweeping the Northwest. Still others might retreat to the champagne powder of Southwestern Colorado after being offered free Jackson Hole passes with the caveat of "you can have them, but you won't want to use them". There are some who would see a sudden electrical problem, a faltering marine battery and an illuminated check engine light as divine intervention. But not us. We press on, heading for the icy north with nothing but a faltering truck and a battery that can only heat us for half a night to back us up.
After losing an hour in Craig, Colorado, which resulted in the blowing of 10 fuses, the purchase of a new in-cab inverter and an unsatisfying chat with the Dodge dealer, we pressed on for Little America, Wyoming. You may remember this place from the very beginning of our journey. Little America bills itself as the largest truck stop in North America; it even has its own post office, affording it township status.
This morning while eating in Little America's diner I read the story of how this "Oasis" came to be. Seems the founder owned the land and one night got caught in a storm forcing him to survive a night out with no shelter or food. He proclaimed in his despair that someone should build a place where one could obtain shelter, a fire and a hot meal here on this god forsaken patch of land. Thus was born Little America. Now you can get a room, a latte, a pepperoni log, some of that fake speed truck drivers use and even kitschy Wyoming trinkets, all while filling up at one of their 60+ fuel pumps. Now that's a good time.
From our little haven along the I-80 corridor we headed back to Jackson. The lure of good friends and seeing the only mountain that has ever scared my husband was strong. We made camp at Landa and Keith's house again. Dan paid our rent by haying Landa's horses in the mornings and wrangling Raymond, the pet cow, out of the hay shed.
Dan the Cow Whisperer.
Dan went backcountry skiing with Mike and Carol (of Grand Canyon fame). On Sunday Dan, Carol and I went snow shoeing behind Landa's house.
Views from the snow shoeing tour. (This photo was taken by Dan, as was the barn one above, see he doesn't JUST drive ;)
That afternoon we settled in and watched six hours straight of television, The Super bowl. This probably is equal to all of the other TV we have seen in seven months.
Monday we skied Jackson Hole. It was my first time there. What a mountain! Like everywhere besides from whence we came, they need snow, but you can still have fun and I could see how amazing this place must be on a powder day.
Dan reviewing the trail map.
Me a the top of the tram. The ride and views are equally impressive.
There is an RV friendly lot at the ski area. We paid $10 for a ski in/ ski out parking spot. No frills, but a level space and only steps away from the Mangy Moose a classic après ski bar. Apparently the cost to park overnight is $10, the price to "camp" is $40. We "parked".
As the last post and its amendments alluded to, we are at somewhat of a loss for where to go right now. Our plan was always to return to Rossland, BC for the winter. We intended to spend about 3 months skiing Red Mountain and immersing ourselves in this charming Canadian town. However, due to a serious lack of snow, and an abundance of rain, we are lacking the excitement we once had for this part of the trip. We have weighed all of your suggestions, as well as some other options, and have decided to stick to the plan for now. Currently we are outside of Missoula, MT. We should be in Rossland by Friday.
We are going to ski Red, see how it is and make up our minds from there. Spending the remainder of ski season in Canada is an expensive endeavor for us which is a big part of the decisions we are trying to make. To stay in Rossland, we would need to buy seasons passes to the mountain and most likely rent an apartment.
We may decided that this isn't the year to live in BC, in which case we will do a quick ski tour of some of the BC mountains we have always wanted to ride, and then retreat to Colorado. Otherwise we will tuff it out in the great not-so-white north. Either way I am certain we will be able to make the most of it.
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Our beloved Wolf Creek Ski Area is owned by the Pitcher family. Also owned by a Pitcher, is Discovery Ski Area outside of Anaconda, MT. This is not the year to plan your family vacation there but, this place has serious potential! We will be back.
As this picture of Anaconda shows, as we go further and further north, the snow gets less and less. Uh-oh.
Posted by Rachel Roberts at 7:40 AM