Wyoming forever

Bruno and Layla take us through the second chapter of their adventures in the U.S.. After visiting the shops, it’s time for skiing in the mountains with pals from Wyoming and Montana.

Jackson Hole is the “little Chamonix” of American-flavour freeride skiing although the price of the lift pass and the millionaire mansions that hug the imposing cable car do leave you wondering. Being a skibum here is certainly not an envious social standing but one that is respected nonetheless. Just like in other exceptional places, the future of the resort seems to be orientated towards luxury tourism but there is still a steadfast, true community of passionate people taking on the first lift challenge, opening couloirs and claiming first tracks on the best faces around.

Here it’s impossible to ignore the Jackson Air Force and the legend that this gang of skiers has conveyed for the last thirty years under the guidance of skiers like Doug Coombs. Becoming a member of this club is still a mark of recognition for your passion and commitment to skiing. Malachi, our host during our stay over there, admitted that he cried when the elders granted him the gang’s badges of honour…It was such a pleasure to share some runs, if not days, with locals who are so happy and proud to show you round their backyard.

Layla Kerley

This trip was truly astounding for both of us. We discovered a country where space and landscape shake you to the point of having you round the throat, forcing you into an alluring melancholia. This is a very young and conservative country where you’d better play by the rules, in resorts and elsewhere, but the mountains and the wide-open spaces remain expanses of liberty.

Meeting so many folk meant we discovered a whole gallery of different people, so many characters, people who believe in what they do, what they represent. One thing that is typically American is taking pride in your social status and your job, even if it’s a modest one-like my friend Brenden who chose to be a ski patroller in Jackson to fulfil his dreams of living as a skier. Or the skiman with his veteran’s get-up: bandana, long hair and moustache, faded blue tattoos on forearms as knotted as tree roots and overalls worn down to the bare thread, who’s working on a dent, cutting and delicately repairing an old pair of skis because their owner loves them and can no longer find that model.

Malachi Artice

We also had the pleasure of bumping into Rob who we’d skied a lovely early-season Cosmiques with and who’d opened his doors to us and showed us round his home resort of Big Sky in Montana.

Arriving in Utah, the ski conditions worsened. Spring-like temperatures, sticky snow and the price of lift passes ushered in a new direction to our trip: taking one of the most beautiful roads in the world, the road trip you dream of when you read Kerouac’s On the Road…

To be continued…

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