The following stories have been sent by guests of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - some are anonymous, some have names attached, but all of them are about great memories on the Tram. Feel free to submit your own on the Contact Page!
In January of 1984 I was 8 years old and my brother only 5. My dad had been skiing at Jackson Hole since the 60s when lift tickets were about $12 and instilled in us a love of the big, challenging mountain, but never let us ride the tram - it was just too tough to get down, he'd say. Instead, we skied the runs on Thunder and spent a lot of time on the Casper and AV chairs. Finally, on a day when the sky was as blue as it ever it gets and the wind was calm, we talked him into letting us ride the tram. We stood in the back of the car in a corner. It seemed like my eyes barely made it over the bottom edge of the window and my dad held my brother the entire ride so he could see the terrain as we rose up the mountain. Everyone was staring at us and I'm sure questioning my father's parenting. We followed the green signs down Rendezvous Bowl, but it was still a thrill. When we finally reached the base - probably about an hour later - my brother and I collapsed in the snow, exhausted, in front of the tram building. My dad took a picture which he still has hanging on the wall of his office.
We now ride the tram dozens of times each year, but the thrill of getting to the top hasn't subsided one bit these past 20 years.
My first trip to Jackson Hole was Christmas break, 1973. I was a senior in HS in Edina, MN. With 3 of my good buds, we headed west in my '62 Plymouth Valiant to our friend's (Tom Malone) apartment at the base of Snow king. We drove all night through a huge storm finally arriving in the Hole and after some quick unpacking, headed straight for the Village. That was the first time I saw the tram, coming down out of the clouds, through the falling snow and into the loading dock, so huge, red, and awe inspiring. I had never seen anything like her. The snow continued falling. As I stood in the tram line, I could hardly wait to click into my 205 cm Kniessel Red Stars and head down Rendevous Bowl to explore a huge new mountain. As we ascended past tower 3, I vividly remember looking down in awe and with great anticipation at what was soon to come.
That day was absolutely perfect. I had fallen in love with a mountain of unparalleled terrain, most of which was only found from the top of the tram. For the next 14 days it was 30 below every morning, the sun rarely showed its face, the snow kept falling and the fog seldom lifted. I slept in the tiny apartment with 7 other people happier than a pig in sh^$ and dreamed of yet another epic day in the hole. School had resumed back in Minneapolis, but we simply couldn’t leave. I know I’m not alone here. What’s a person to do though? Every morning we would awake to 2 more feet of fresh; it was classic skiing of epic proportions. Every day we would say, “we’ll leave tomorrow” but our pow addiction kept us there, it was simply irresistible. It was sexual.
On a Friday in early January of 1974, my parents finally caught up with me via the police dept to inform me that if I didn’t get back to Minneapolis by Monday, I would be expelled for the year as school had started a week earlier. I was 17 years old. Who were “they,” the “man” telling me what to do?? Didn’t they know that I was experiencing the best powder skiing on the planet w/three of me best buds and that I was learning more than anything found in an economics class? As reality set in and after a quick vote, we chose our path, said goodbye to Tom (with much envy), and reluctantly headed out of the Hole.
I don't recall anybody saying a word for the first hundred miles or so, but there were smiles all around. When we first left for Jackson we were buds, we were now Brothahs. Ski trips have a way of doing that to people, ya know?
Although the motor blew up in my $150 1962 Valiant outside of Mt Rushmore, we made it back to Minneapolis by midday on Monday (nobody ever said when on Monday). As our parents picked us up at the bus station, I couldn’t help but to snicker at the contempt in the glares coming from my friends parents as I was the scapegoat for the extra week of extreme. I held my head up high and never did “wipe the smile off my face” as my dad had so eloquently requested. In essence, the memories simply wouldn’t allow it.
I finally managed to move to Jackson in the 1979/1980 season and stayed for 4 years. If you were there during this time, you most likely would have found me in different tree stashes in my never-ending quest for pow, or in the Moose at days-end having a cold brew sharing stories.. This year is my fiftieth on this rock and I’ve been back to Jackson several times since. But with great clarity, I often look back to my time in Jackson as the most incredible memories of my life, and with absolute anticipation I look forward to experience first-hand in late March “Tram Days,” to ski the mountain that I love, to hopefully see some old friends, to enjoy all the festivities, and to say good bye to a legend, the Jackson Hole tram…so many phenomenal memories, I love you girl!
Rendezvous for Two
Our Aerial Tram adventure at Jackson Hole might be considered ordinary. But ordinary in the way those ordinary moments - when strung together - can become something extraordinary.
We were nearing the end of a deeply satisfying day of skiing, legs all rubbery; cheeks wind roughened, slightly frosty fingers and toes. We were tired, but not completely whacked out yet. There were gray clouds over the Jackson Hole flats and it was some time after three-thirty - pre-dusk, but darkening by the second as the high cloud cover sank and began to shroud Rendezvous Mountain.
We arrived at the Aerial Tram and walked 'round the corner to see if they were still uploading skiers. The place was deserted. We looked about, wondering if we should be there, and then preceded through the turnstiles, expecting someone to holler at any minute, "Hey! Where are you guys going?"
The tram gate was open and, as the lifty nodded, we casually entered the box. A few moments later six patrollers boarded behind us, on their way to meet the rest of their crew at the patrol hut where they would begin a final sweep of the mountain. Neither of us wanted the day to be over, and we thought if we were super silent and hid in the corner like thieves, they might not notice us. There we were, a couple of tram-hikers, hoping that the six patrollers had suddenly developed acute glaucoma. We pretended to be invisible, we sucked in our guts to further the illusion, and then, as the gate clanked shut, it seemed we got our wish. Seven pairs of eyes glanced our way, wondering perhaps, but not concerned enough to ask outright what we were doing there.
There are parts of that ride that will remain forever frozen in our minds. We both remember feeling excited deep in our bellies as the tram began to ascend the mountain. When we looked to the peak we saw tram towers and cable lines stretching out and disappearing into the clouds. The wind had come on strong and we watched the tramcar swaying from side to side. As the box climbed slowly we heard the whine of the pulleys riding the tram cable as the metal cage was buffeted by the wind. The caged windows rattled and the tram rocked violently as we crossed Corbet's Couloir.
Inside the boxcar we stood silently in the shadows; standing instead of sitting because, despite our rubbery legs, "hardcore skiers" were tough no matter how tired or frightened they were. So we stood listening to the six patrollers, these silhouetted men of the mountain, barely able to make out their seasoned faces. They seemed oblivious to the antics of the wind, their rock-like expressions unchanged as they discussed in quiet tones situations that had developed during the day.
When we finally reached the top and stepped from the tram, the silence was profound, a deep settled silence, far, far away from civilization. We knew it was cold and growing colder by the minute, but in our excitement we did not feel it. Here we were ten thousand feet at the heart of the Teton Mountains, just the two of us, with four thousand vertical feet all our own to traverse below. It was something beyond magnificent. To us this was a stolen moment, the unexpected extra run at the end of a perfect day.
JH was always my dream place to ski. I try to share that dream with as many folks as I can. Three years ago I brought my family along and spent 5 glorious days on the mountain with my wife and three daughters. The two oldest have the bug now too, and Mom and the youngest 'understand.'
But this is about Tram memories, and the one I will share here is of the last ride up on our last day with the oldest two, 11 and 13 at the time. It was snowing and blowing and I was second-guessing having them along in such conditions. They were a bit nervous, but pumped themselves. They are gamers and wanted to add to their week of Wyoming adventure. We unloaded in a 30-40 mph breeze with lots of swirling snow. Someone needed to go to the bathroom, so we made an unscheduled pit stop in Corbet's Cabin. By the time we were back out, most all our fellow passengers were gone. Being possibly the last run of this JH trip, I was in need of a direct line down Rendezvous Bowl. I instructed the girls to 'follow the green dots and I'll see you at the bottom of this face'. I watched them ski into the distance as shadows, following other distant shadows, who I assumed were likewise following the green dots. I shot left, down the fall line stopping at the first crossing of the dots. Waiting, waiting, waiting....calling was of no use in the wind. No one around to ask if they had seen them. Hmmmm, would I ever be in trouble.... Skied down to the bottom of the bowl, hoping, expecting to find them wating there, safely. Alone again. Wow, this could be the most trouble I have ever been in, losing two kids in dreamland.... Then in the distance, shadows emerged along the ridge by the boundary fence. It was them and a few others they followed along the boundary line. My girls were both happy and unfazed by the detour they didn't know they took. They were thrilled by the conditions and having been 'on their own on a big mountain'. I was thrilled too, for different reasons. We skied the rest of the way down together, bonded better by our experience on the mountain that day. I need to get out there for a few last rides on the tram with my gals.
Alan, Natalie & Lydia
Dawn, Snake River overlook, I had arrived from Puget Sound 36 hours earlier after crossing Teton Pass just before it was closed for plowing and avalanche control. Fog was flowing then ebbing, north then south and clouds were tailing off of the summit of the Grand Teton. The fog lifted as first light hit the summits of the Teton Range. Golden yellows blended to magentas and pink, mauves faded to blues. A moose and her yearling crossed the flats along the river. I captured the image, packed my camera and hurried back to Teton Village and my skis. All day we rode the tram. Forty three inches of fresh, light, dry powder changes you. It etches into your memories. Inside the tram it was quieter than usual, everyone reveling in their thoughts of snow billowing over ski tips, knees, shoulders and head. We pondered each secret stash, and turns, and favorite aspens. Synapses closed, wrapping around the scent of inhaled snow. That afternoon I followed a single set of tracks down lower Sublette Ridge. The rope was gone from Alta Chutes - open for the first time that year. I flew off the crest and floated down an elevator shaft filled with down. Three turns, ten, forgetting to breathe. At the bottom I paused, gasping. A quiet hum, I looked up and saw the tram on its last run.....
My knees ache most of the time now and I take longer to loosen up. In mountain cafes I linger longer, my fingers basking in the warmth of steaming cups of coffee. And once in a while on my local mountain, I'll find a patch of powder, make just the right turn, get just the right lift and my memories fill me. I remember the colors of dawn light on the Teton Range, the scent of freshly fallen snow, perfect turns down Alta Chutes and that bright red tram set against the deep, deep blue of a western Wyoming sky.
A perfect day.
Thank you Jackson Hole.
As a kid growing up in New York City, I only dreamed of skiing. I somehow got a JH brochure and it became my Mecca. I finally made it there in 1985. By then I had skied everwhere else, Vermont, Europe, Colorado, and I really thought I was good. Just for fun, I hired an instructor for a 1-hour private lesson. It was snowy, so visibility on the ride up didn't really give a clue. At the top we stepped into the wind, snow, and shortness of breath! Holy Cow! Thank you Don Scott. That day, I became a real skier. Thanks for first humbling me and then teaching me the steep and deep. I remember marvelling at your effortless grace and balance while I was face-planting. I never fell so much in that single run down the mountain. That's right, we only made one run. At the end, soaked and exhausted, I had learned lessons that have served me the last 20 years (and now I am a ski teacher). I apologize for taking almost 2 hours to get down and hope the $20 tip compensated you for your time (I didn't blame you for being impatient).
This year I'm coming back with my 16 year-old son. I'll try to be patient with him if he has trouble coming down Rendezvous. On the other hand, maybe it will be he waiting for me!
I only had the good fortune to live in Jackson Hole for one season. But I will never forget it, and I will never forget the numerous butt ass cold, predawn morning drives to the mountain just to be one of the priveledged few to get first box on a powder day. The energy in the tram line builds as the sun starts to show what the previous nights storm has brought for all the good people. I won't be back out to ride the tram in it's final season, but I will always remember those early morning rides.
I have a tram story. Its not one of those moments in life you never forget, but it is interesting. (The real tram stories, the ones you never forget, can only be told to friends at the upstairs bar in the Moose after 6 PM , never in a public forum...) This incident took place early in one of the ski seasons between the big winter of 96/97 and when the gondola was built.
It was still dark and snowing hard when I had got off the bus that morning. It had been snowing all night, and the snow was dry. It was going to be an epic day if the hill wasn't blown down. I went straight to my locker, which is above the VC, and got into my gear. It must have been around 7 AM . When I got to the Tram dock, I was the only person there but some people had left about a dozen pair of skis leaning against the railing just above the ticket windows. These skis had been there for a while because they were covered with snow. Now anyone who knows anything about Tram etiquette knows it is absolutely forbidden to reserve spots on the Tram dock this way on a powder day, so I assumed it was tourists or just Ferrangi trying to pull a fast one. (There used to be a sign on the dock reading "NO UNATTENDED SKIS"). Right after I got to the dock, someone else showed up. This person had just gotten to the hill because he didn't have any of his ski gear on. When this person saw the unattended skis, he headed straight for them and without saying a word, started throwing them over the rail down to the ground below. Now remember this was early in the morning and the only people at the hill beside me were the people who worked there. Just imagine all those skis scattered about in front of the ticket window just before opening time. After this person had left the dock, I remember thinking that who ever owned those skis is probably going to blame me for throwing them over the railing. I said to my self "f#%& it. I'll just deal with it if it happens." As people started arriving, no one said anything to me and eventually the whole thing was forgotten until now.
As for the skiing, I kept on agonizing on wither to stay on the dock or head to the Crystal Springs or AV chair. I stayed on the dock until 10:30 before I gave up and headed over to the VC for a pint. The mountain never did open that day.
As for that sign that used to be on the dock, it's gone now, and soon the Tram will be gone. Some will move on, but for some of us, the band will still play on.
PS, I'm sure there are a few stories out there about "dock" experiences, especially before the maze was built. Bob H. has one about one of the previous owners and how proud he was of the new maze on the tram dock. Note: his design was not improved on until just recently when those chains were welded on at the front.
I live in Iowa, but I first visited JH at the grand old age of 3, in 1974. My parents skied that year, but we returned for two weeks in 1975. I learned to ski that year at JH, sidestepping up and snowplowing down with skis that were too long, and a snowsuit that was too warm. My family and I returned every year through the early 80's as we slowly became competent skiers. I never took the tram in all that time, nor did my father, mother, or sister. It was a thing of mystery. We would watch the tram from Thunder, awe at it from the base, and wonder about the mysteries that it held.
Sometime in the eighties, my father decided that JH was too far of a drive, so we spent the rest of our western ski weeks in Colorado. I skied a lot, and I skied hard, both in Colorado and here in Iowa. Finally in 1989, as a senior in high school, I received the green light to head west on my own, with some friends in tow. 1,200 miles in a Ford Escort, JH and its tram were our destination. Finally I would get my chance to discover the mysteries of the tram. I did, and I fell in love with Jackson all over again. The Tram, Corbet's, the Hobacks, Rendezvous Bowl, Sublette - the mountain's magic great beyond was finally unveiled.
My favorite memory of the tram was sometime in the mid nineties on a windy day, prior to the mountain being blow down and closed. Winds were rising as I waited for the tram. It was moving slowly, but they okayed another ride. Up we went, slowly, stopping repeatedly until finally we stopped over Corbet's and just hung in the fierce wind that was blowing over 80 mph. It was tense on the tram as the seconds turned to minutes when someone, somewhere in the tram lit a rolled paper filled with a wacky tobaccy, and smoked it all the way down. Laughter followed and the moment was etched in my memory forever. Eventually we made it to the summit for a final run.
The tram is Jackson Hole. Even as a 4 year old I understood that. It symbolized the terrain that I would spend my youth dreaming of and my early adulthood skiing. It inspired me, and taunted me. Still does. I hope a retro replacement is selected with similar capacity/speed/route.
I have a lot of memories of good or great days on the tram, but the day I can't forget was one in which the conditions were awful. It was snowing for the first time in a while after a short dry spell. As we got in the tram line that morning, there was a host saying that, while the tram was open, the resort was advising people not to go up there because the conditions were horrible. My roommate and I had never heard of such a thing. There was no questions that we had to go check it out. We jumped on the tram (mountain hosts warning of awful conditions sure helps to keep the lines down). Sure enough, the bowl was hard, hard yellow ice, holding the shape of bumps carved over the preceding week, with just enough windblown new snow in between to make it difficult to discern where the bumps were. Throw in some flat light, and it was impossible to see anything other than an occasional patch of yellow. The skiing was awful, the host was right, but for some reason we loved it. We laughed the whole way down, reveling in our misery.
Starting my ski-life in the fall of 1986 at the ripe old age of 23, I was "groomed" by my college buddy/ best friend/ brother John "Chip" Walker at our local ski area - Hogadon Ski Area in central Wyoming. At the time this was a "big" hill which took me all day to cover. I had no idea what was in store for me in the days to come.
After paying my dues in countless falls we headed west to the Big One - Jackson Hole Ski Resort. The area soon to be adopted as our favorite spot ever and to this day still is. I remember my first tram ride being instructed in line by John to "sound like a cow" when boarding the car. Not knowing why but following orders I proceeded to "moo" as loud and often as I could-not knowing this would be joined by a chorus of cattle as I was initiated into the Wyoming Ski Cattle Association!!!
Since that precious day we made it our tradition to spend every New Year's Eve in Jackson . Skiing the area during the day and cross country skiing at night with the Clock Tower lights illuminating the sky as well sailed from 11:59pm into 12:00am - the New Year welcomed on skis!!!! I have made countless trips with my FCA ski camps, friends, and my wife and children who I have taught to "moo like a cow" upon boarding the tram only to received strange looks until they realized the "family" the were joining doing so.
I have become a true ski nut: my home hosts 1 poma, a T-bar, a 1-man chair, 3 2-man chairs, a 4-man chair, and a gondola from Keystone Resort in my back yard. I have the license plate : Wyoming 1 county "SKI", I was married on Hogadon Ski Area honeymooning in New Zealand to ski in Aug., and starting the Annual Hogadon Ski Area Tune-Up Day ( a local effort to beautify our ski area).
Thank you for the many, many trips to the top via the tram. I will always remember it fondly. I have added a miniature Jackson Hole Ski Resort tram to my ski room. It is battery operated and will cement the views and memories in our hearts. You have my permission and gratitude in using this story in any way. God Bless Jackson Hole Ski Resort and think snow!!!!!
I'll never forget my first tram ride - I was fresh off the plane from Grand Rapids, MI and had just purchased my multi-day pass and a book of tram tickets. The allure of 4,139 feet of vertical and 2.5 miles back had brought me to this place, and I could hardly wait to experience a true skier's mountain. I got in line, placing my ticket between my skis for the attendant to take, and 5 minutes later I was on board!
That first trip took my breath away, especially from the last tower to the top station! Nothing else like it on the continent. My only other tram experience was at Snowbird, and although it was great in its own right, the sterile concrete base station and the huge crowds didn't fully satisfy. Now here I was at JHMR, finally able to realize my dream of racking up massive vert! It was the last 10 days of the 84-85 season, and conditions were perfect. The Hobacks were open, and the corn was amazing. I quickly learned the art of yo-yoing the tram, and was successful a number of times. None too shabby for a Michigander on holiday!
On the next to the last day of the season, I was headed up and one of the tram's idlers malfunctioned, making a loud squealing noise. We stopped just below the tower at the top of Laramie . After about 20 minutes of hanging there swaying in the moderate breeze, we crept up to the tower, where we evacuated, making our way down the steep stairway. Needless to say, the tram was closed for the balance of the day, and as it turned out, closing day as well. I still went over 200,000 vertical feet for the trip, though!
In closing, the camaraderie between JHMR tram riders, and the overall "soul" of the resort, is unmatched in my experience. I will be there this winter to toast the passing into folklore of the greatest lift I have ever ridden. I sincerely hope the proposed rebuild of the tram becomes reality, so I and many others can return to once again test ourselves against the greatest lift-served mountain on the continent.
I'll never forget the first time I rode the tram. It was not too long ago - Winter 2000. I remember looking around in the Tram line and I was one of the only women in the line. The rush to board was a heart pounder, as my husband and I moved fast to get against the window in the front. Being from the Northeast, I had never seen anything like it. My adrenaline was pumping and AC/DC was blaring. We were all a bunch of sardines and I really was the only woman. It gave me great pride to know I could ski amongst the best, as I had heard about JH's hard core man's world for many years. I smiled and chuckled inside. I just couldn't wait to get off and ski the awaiting powder - as it was snowing hard that day. As we approached the docking station and the tram operator came on to give the standard warning "for experts only," I was only that more excited! Since that day I have been back to Jackson every year since. It is now my most favorite mountain and resort area around. I am a devoted Ski Camper and one day hope to settle in the area! I'll truly miss the Tram and it will never be forgotten, but the mountain has so much to offer that it will always be my most favorite place to ski!
Feb 1986 - I took a young friend, Dave, to JH for his first time. Dave had just turned 18, and he thought he was on top of the world. Having only been an eastern skier, Dave never experienced anything west of the Ohio River! Dave believed, as some 18 year olds, that he was invincible. After all, even the steepest slopes at Stowe, Killington and Whiteface didn't really faze him at all. We boarded the Tram, and Dave seemed excited. As we approached Tower 3, his excited smile disappeared. We rode the north car up, and standing on it's left side, the view of S&S and Corbet's caused Dave's face to register genuine fear. He suddenly realized he may have met his match. I commented on how one can feel the lift of the tram pressing up on one's feet. Dave turned and looked at me; he was deafeningly silent. This was a lift ride unlike any other in his life. Stepping off and heading down Rendezvous toward Sublette let Dave know that there is steep and then there is precipitous. Trails like Alta and Expert Chutes, Paintbrush and Tower 3 chute changed Dave forever, not to mention peering over the edge of Corbet's. Eastern skiers cannot truly grasp how steep some terrain can be. But that first run up the tram for him was memorable, and we still talk about that ride twenty years later. We will all very sorely miss the Tram, and are truly saddened it will soon be no longer. I still have saved my lift ticket AND a few tram tickets from that trip. I smile every time I think of the Tram. I wish it could be there forever.
I remember well, the day I rode the tram and, at the top, was greeted with rime ice on the upper fence sticking out vertically about 15" inches from the fence. The wind was fierce and the day was cold. The sight of this geometric pattern made of ice, was something that I wish that I had a photo of. I also remember a day Feb 24, 1994, when the upper winds were 93 mph and the tram was closed all day. Just one of many memorable occasions that J. Hole offers. I have a photo, taken in February 1992 showing Harry Baxter awarding me my 1 Million Vertical Foot award with the tram car overhead. This was taken by a commercial photographer and is now mounted with, the 150,000 vertical foot pin and all of the certificates and buckles in a nice frame. The tram will never be forgotten. I now have cleared the 3,000,000 vertical foot mark at Jackson. Not to bad for a flatlander from Nebraska. I have been skiing 575 days since I learned to ski in 1982 and have spent 100 of those days at J. Hole, more than any other ski area.
It was the winter of '78 or '79 when me and my cadre of surfer/skiers first arrived. While the access to the skiing was breathtaking, an unexpected habit was born while being herded into the magic red box. At first it was odd, a bit uncomfortable, but after a lap or two, I got it and joined in with the others in a chorus of moos, snorts and bleets emulating the livestock of the surrounding plains. While steep lines and deep powder remain at the top of my list of memories, it is the herding noises that I revisit most often. I can't begin to count the suits that have given me odd looks while boarding cramped elevators, little do they know the legacy of the sounds preceeding a joyous decent.
My favorite tram story took place in Feb of the 04/05 season. It was one of those days when every one was talking about snow, snow and more snow! Well around noon , it started to snow and as the afternoon went on it started to blow hard and the pow was piling up. I remember discussing with my friends wither or not to go to the bottom and try to get the last tram up. A typical tram decision, considering the wind speed and the possibility of a tramline. We went for the top and during the ride up; I kept my eye on the wind speed indicator and hoped that we were going to be able to dock. As we were attempting to dock, the indicator read a gust of 90 MPH! I do not know if that reading was accurate, but it was the strongest blow that I have been in getting off that tram dock! Now this is where the good part comes in. We knew it was going to be the last tram, so we went into Corbet’s to get sorted out and wait for the crowds to leave. We stayed in Corbet’s quite a while until the ski patrol told us we had to leave. We knew the run down was going to be untracked all the way down, and that it was. When we got to north north Hobacks we stopped for a break. We were out of the wind, the snow was coming straight down, we were the only people in the Hobacks, and it was soooooo quite. I remember saying “lets go down to the Moose” and that’s what we did non stop! Its days like this you remember.
I first visited JH in 1990 and thought I'd go straight to the top of the mountain for my first ski down. So after queing at the station for about 10mins I got on for the ride of my life. I got a good spot near a window on the left side and had a nice day for checking out the terrain. The lift operator starts up the music and does his warning speech about for expert skiers only and such. About this time I'm beginning to shit myself, then we pass S&S and someone jumps in while all this time, the track that is playing on the stereo is AC/DCs Highway to Hell ! By the time I got to the top I was nearlly ready to get back on and ride the Tram back down to safety but I managed to control my fear and ski down and fall madly in love with the whole Jackson Hole experiance. I have been back since and still remember that first ride every time I go up the Tram and will be very sad to see it gone when I next return with my children. Long live the Tram! Thanks for the memories.
I will never forget the tram. I will never forget when I saw for first time the Corbet´s from the tram. The times I saw the patrols going in with the rope. Riding the tram every morning at 8.12 and some days earlier. Riding it with that great team of workers, all great people that always helped me when I needed it. Those few minutes waiting for the tram, that vehicle that was going to take me and a bunch of friends to paradise. And those few minutes since I could see the tram coming until I was finally getting on, those minutes seemed hours for all that things I could imagine coming soon, knowing that happiness was closer, starting to feel the adrenaline running through my veins. I was able to see, while I was riding on it, faces expressing so many things. The tram was not carrying people only, but feelings. I felt it. And it felt so good. It had a strange energy and it transmitted that energy to those that were riding on it. I felt it. And it felt so good. For me it was only one winter, but it was enough for remembering it for the rest of my life.
I made my first ever ski trip out of state (Calif.) in 1979, for my 21st birthday. I went with the Sacramento State Ski Club along with 120 of my schoolmates and friends. It snowed 6 out of 7 days and on the night before my birthday (1/15) it snowed over 3 feet! Riding the tram that day I saw several people with snorkels, something I had never seen before in my life. It was probably a good thing because we all had to stop on a frequent basis in order to breath because of the ongoing face-shots at every turn in the Hobacks. I will never forget my friend skiing away from me down Rendezvous Bowl and watching his ski cap bobbing in and out of the powder, it was all you could see of him! Or standing with a couple of frinds just off the top of the tram having a conversation and only being able to see each other from the chest up. I have been back to Jackson Hole 4 times since then and have recorded enough vertical feet to get my second belt buckle (Silver). I will have to go again before they close the tram just because I need to get a fix before the stash runs out! Another fan who is sad about missing the crowded, steamy, creaky: screeching fast ride up the tram.
I lived in JH from 1978-86. I am privileged to have put in over 25 million vertical in my car to the clouds. But the most memorable event occurred in the winter of 1985 when I was presented with my Gold Belt Buckle after skiing 1 million vertical in less than 6 weeks on a bet. Head tram lifty Steve Saez presented me with the prize at the upper terminal, and our picture was featured in the Guide. I have that picture framed and hanging on my wall, and the Buckle sits on my desk. What started out more as a joke has become something lasting and enduring. I revisited JH a few summers ago, rode the tram, and for the first time ever walked down Rendezvous. That one walk was tougher than all the runs I ever skied combined. Not only was the hike difficult because of the scree, but the memories kept choking me up as I passed many a familiar spot.
I am happy you are rebuilding the tram. The Mountain wouldn't be the same without one.
My tram story goes full circle in a way. Back in 1969, our family started going to Jackson Hole. At that time I was about eleven years old, and while I had been skiing since about the time I was able to walk, the idea of going up the tram was, to say the least, daunting. My Dad was there for me though, as he was for my three sisters, and he let me know that the tram was safe, and the hills it led to "doable". Dad loved that word.
I don't remember so much my first trip up the tram as I do being made to feel good about myself and my abilities by my dad. He had confidence in me. I sensed that. And when I did, I was no longer scared by the idea of a tram ride. He loved me, and his way of showing that was to not say any particular words about his feelings (he was, after all, a second generation Norski born and raised Minnesota) but rather to let me know things about myself that built up my confidence at those times I needed it the most.
Dad passed away in March of 2003, having been stricken with cancer. His illness was mercifully short. In fact, he was in Jackson Hole in early January of 2003 hoping to ski. In late December of 2003, I came out to Jackson for the first time since Dad passed away. My first tram up, I brought his old boards with me. My hands could practically feel him still smiling in anticipation of a wonderful ski down in those boards. I got to the top and nailed his old boards to the side of the restaurant. My version of spreading his ashes up there I guess. My way of seeing to it that a part of him would always be at the place he loved best.
At our condo, someone who had stayed there had left a cassette tape in one of the bedrooms. It was marked simply "For skiing!" I took it with me that morning, without listening to it first. After my ceremonial affixation of feet boards to building boards, I got geared up and ready to fly down the bowl. The last thing I did before I hit it was to put the found "For skiing" tape into my Walkman, put on my earphones, and press "play". Those first words I heard... the tape was midsong... will be in my heart making it smile forever. Fleetwood Mac's LANDSLIDE:
Oh, take my love, take it down
Oh, climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down.
I sure do see his reflection in those wonderful snow covered hills. I always will.