Snowboarding News | Thursday September 14, 2017 | Shared By: Jackson Hole
Those who have joined us in Jackson Hole in recent winters might be aware of the presence of our snow reporters. Locals and guests alike call into the snow phone daily to hear from these on-hill celebrities and learn what mother nature has brought to the mountain. One ‘lege-nd’ has grown and is in the rarest company of mythical ski figures around the valley. That man, Jeff Leger, can be found daily on the tram dock no matter the conditions always carrying an infectious grin and appreciation for what’s to come. Jeff was in the office recently and offered to take a stab at talking about predictions for the upcoming winter. We’ll leave you with his eloquent dialogue below. -DJ
Jeff knows no enemies, except high-pressure systems. Here he is frothing below the Expert Chutes. Photo by: Chris Figenshau
Pull out your crystal balls everyone, it’s prediction season. The calendar has slipped into the “-ber” months and crisp morning air hints at a coming change. Like hibernating super heroes from a far off world rising out of a sweltering stupor, the minds of skiers across the globe are springing to life with dreams of endless face shots and bottomless pow. Inevitably, the chatter here in Jackson Hole and across countless other mountain towns has swayed towards snowfall totals for the upcoming season.
The techniques are many and varied but it seems the outcome is always the same with powder junkies. Whether you’re measuring stripes on Wooly Bear caterpillars or pulling up the latest long term forecast from NOAA, skiers always seem to find a way to predict a banner winter. Just last week I came across an article comparing the current Atlantic hurricane pattern to a similar situation in the fall of 2010. Does this mean anything? Probably not, but if 2010 was a great winter in your neck of the woods feel free to proclaim that this year will be even deeper. Perhaps you have noticed exceptionally white breast feathers on migrating geese, a sure sign of an impending harsh winter. Or maybe the thick crabapple skins gave it away.
Whatever method you choose, there is always a forecast to fit your fantasy. And so for the next several weeks, skiers will congregate on bar stools around questionably necessary fireplaces and spin not apres ski tales but pre-ski stories. Free from reality and starved for snow, skiers predictions tend toward the unbelievable with snowfall totals consistently pushing into record setting territory. I remember one fall Wade McKoy greeting me in the Village with a huge grin plastered across his face. “Tight formation of geese,” he said, “gonna be a huge winter”. Honestly, I don’t remember what that winter turned out like but that’s not the point. What makes the prediction season so fun is the unbridled enthusiasm that springs into the atmosphere.
Or is it the odd number of stripes on the wooly bear caterpillars? Either way, Jeff will take flight… always looking for a soft landing. Photo by: Chris Figenshau
In many ways, this is the best time of the year. A season of both reflection and anticipation, where last years runs go on forever and the future-pow is always perfect. So often winter goes by in a blazing blur, leaving me dumbfounded and wondering what exactly just happened. But after the dust has settled and with an entire new season ahead, we’re free to relive the perfect moments from the previous year and to daydream all the amazing possibilities of the next. You occasionally run across a naysayer or two proclaiming doom and gloom due to a lack of La Niña or lackluster nut gathering by the local squirrels, but deep down I can’t help but think they’re just attempting to not “jinx” the winter away with lofty predictions looked down on by the almighty snow gods. The collective optimism of powder skiers brings a renewed feeling of excitement to the mountains and soon you can’t help but smile. So join in the prediction season, listen to the lunatics tall tales. It’s a playground where everyone is a pro and anything is possible.