As anyone who is lucky enough to live near Jackson, Wyoming, knows, adventure possibilities are stitched into the fabric of this country. Boating, mountain biking, climbing and mountaineering, and, of course, skiing are practically a language. Even the airport is located in a national park. Jackson is one of those blessed American towns where you can step off of your plane and find yourself on the slopes within an hour.
Which is exactly what happened in this case; I was on the tarmac at 12:30, and I was skinning up to the Phillips Canyon Trailhead off of Highway 22 by 1:15. For locals, Highway 22 represents more than a commute between Jackson and Idaho’s Teton Valley, it’s a corridor to Teton Pass and miles and miles of backcountry bliss. For a local rite of passage, just park at the top of the pass, climb the bootpack trail up to Mount Glory, and dive into Glory Bowl for heavenly turns all the way back to your car…a dawn patrol run can easily be wrapped up before the work day begins.
Which, unfortunately, is not what happened in this case. Time constraints and logistical challenges forced an alternate plan, but one that was only slightly less appealing: a short ski tour up Phillips Canyon, which was a good choice for its low-angle terrain (avalanche conditions were unusually high), easy access, and quick turnaround. The trailhead, which also serves Ski Lake, is snowed in in the winter, so the skiing begins at the road right below Mount Glory. We figured we had enough time to get back into the canyon for a few miles, find some down-canyon views from the ridge, and enjoy a few turns on the way back out to the car.
Because sticking to a schedule was an issue, we needed to keep an eye on time, distance, and elevation gain. The Casio Pro Trek Smart has several watch faces that can be downloaded via the Android App and synced between a phone and the watch (a functionality that works on iOS), and the Field face displays all of this information clearly and concisely on one screen.
Additionally, the Casio Pro Trek Smart features a bevy of options for keeping track of your progress: a quick-access compass interface and active GPS tracking makes navigation simple and fast, and activity tracking supplied all kinds of feedback about our active time, down time, and overall progress. Knowing how long it had taken us to ski up and into Phillips Canyon kept us cognizant of our necessary turn-around point. Based on all of this information, we were able to change our course and hit a ridge for great views and a short break, make a quick transition to downhill mode, and ski back down to the truck for the drive over the pass and into Idaho. It can sometimes be a challenge to squeeze your passions into a hectic schedule, but it's always worthwhile, and it makes the rest of the day so much more interesting.