11 February 2015

Nine Reasons Why I'm Not A Very Good Teton Valley Resident

As I might have mentioned once or twice, I really like Teton Valley and feel that it suits my lifestyle well. I even got a dog so I could fit in better. But I realize now that I have certain shortcomings that will forever prevent me from being a true Valley girl.
Warning: gratuitous photo-stealing ahead

1: I don't backpack.
Or even camp for that matter. I just bought my first tent last year. Everyone around here will go spend the night in the woods at a moment's notice. Not me. I haven't figured out the mechanics of sleeping outside and sleep deprivation gives me a gnarly headache. And there are more civilized ways to remove your contacts than by the light of a headlamp, balancing your contact case on your knee while you root around in your eye with fingers that smell like campfire. Also, I don't like walking, particularly with something heavy on my back. Too slow. Fast-packing appeals to me far more, but in order for that to happen I need lightweight gear and a willing partner, and as of now I have neither. 
Typical Teton Valley residents backpacking
Pic courtesy of Ashley
2: I feel pretty meh about Yellowstone. 
Some people treat this like a blasphemy, because it's nearby and a national treasure or something. But A: it's a park, which is code for "no mountain bikes allowed", B: it has no big mountains to speak of, and C: two million visitors annually. 'Nuff said. 

3: Crossfit. 
Oooo, gonna step on some toes here. I would much rather get doughy on the couch while watching Taylor Swift videos than work out inside, and Crossfit, because it's expensive, isn't within walking distance, inspires fanaticism, and is often paired with weird and obnoxious dietary trends, is by far the easiest workout program to hate on. But there are two Crossfit gyms in the Valley. That equals a lot of acolytes.

4: I don't listen to jamgrass/psychedelic rock/"polyethnic Cajun slamgrass"/insert hippie noodling jam session festival music genre here. 
People who live in mountain towns love going to shows and festivals and watching artists perform long-winded solos. I'll tag along, but only if it's free, within walking distance, and very danceable. I will spend money, time, and effort only on shows where I can mouth along to every word of every song in a haze of joy, and Phish/Leftover Salmon/Yonder Mountain String Band/String Cheese Incident do not fall into that category. 
Typical Teton Valley musical performance
Pic courtesy of Idaho Falls Josh
5: I have an aversion to Floating. 
Teton summer weekends are like unicorn butterflies: shortlived and magical. You gotta grab those suckers and hold them tight for as long as you can. The way I do that is by mountain biking or doing other high-intensity stuff. Floating, i.e. joining a bunch of people on rafts to meander down the Snake River and drink lots of beer, is a very popular and common summer activity, but is entirely too sedentary for me to waste a unicorn butterfly on. And let us not even speak of Fishing. 
Typical Teton Valley resident Floating the Snake
(This particular resident probably climbed the Grand the day before this picture was taken. I am not implying that Floaters are inherently sedentary.)
Pic courtesy of Dapper Dan
6: I can't handle my whiskey.
Or any liquor, honestly. I think most activities are improved by a beer during or after, but the hangover I get after a single shot of anything hard is unbearable. Admitting this will probably get me kicked out of the west. 

7: I'm reluctant to go to The Desert.
Everyone goes to The Desert at least once a mud season, to climb or mountain bike. I have no Desert experience yet so my reluctance is unfounded, but these weekend trips always involve at least a ten hour drive each way and Lord knows I'm not traveling that far to rock climb. I'm hesitant to mountain bike there because A: I love trees and green stuff and roots and B: every time I go riding after a six month hiatus it's a scary endeavor and if I ride in The Desert I'm afraid my inaugural crash will be something especially unpleasant like plunging my front wheel into surprise sand at the bottom of a five foot rock drop and performing the mother of all endos. Seriously. This scenario replays itself in my head every time someone mentions Moab.
Typical Teton Valley resident visiting The Desert
Pic courtesy of Andrea
8: I'm not enthused by the frontier lifestyle. 
Good Teton Valley residents garden, have chickens, tend to their wood stoves, and hunt, or at least speak of those activities with longing. I'll be okay without ever bagging the obligatory elk (and it's amazing how generous friends are with their meat when they realize a whole elk won't fit in their chest freezer). For the most part I'm too lazy to take care of other living things, and I include wood stoves in that category because they're almost as high maintenance and demanding as chickens or gardens. Maybe I'll buy a share at the CSA. And then I'll turn up the thermostat. 

9: I can't grow a beard.
Trust me, I'm bummed about it.

10 February 2015

A Winter Spent Whining

The season has been disappointing thusfar. The snow accumulation numbers don't reflect it but the temperature stats certainly do. Tyler, whose years of ski bum experience give some credence to his armchair meteorology, says, "It's El Niño, this is typical of El Niño, every cycle, and next winter, oh, La Niña..." He says La Niña's name with wistfulness. '10-'11 was the last strong La Niña year and people still speak of that winter with grave longing: "That year, I got so tired of skiing deep powder days...I just wanted sunshine and groomers for a change."

I've finally learned to temper my expectations and now can find contentment, after yet another warm wet spell has quickly rotted the fruits of intermittent snow storms, in seeking out new stashes and savoring the five or eight good turns before the going gets heavy, crusty, or slushy.
A questionable start to a resort day
Pic courtesy of Sam
It helps having friends in town. Sam from Brevard came back out to play with his buddies and their presence motivated me to hunt harder for the goods instead of retiring to the couch in a mid-winter funk. By the time they left I was sore and sated from four full days of skiing. Erica and Alex (Tyler's best friends from his Colorado days and probably my favorite benefit I reap from our relationship) visited this weekend because they live in northern Utah and while I bemoan the state of our snow, we still have more of it than just about anyone. When they come up we always play outside a little half-assedly and then eat, drink beer, and talk shit with gusto. On Saturday we walked the bike path into town with cans of Ranger in our pockets to see a show, the floor packed full of people on weird drugs dancing feverishly. We tried to hang but were all feeling our age by the end of the night.
I complain but it's still really good here
When we went for a ski the first turns were so good we rejoiced. Then the snow got crunchy and I was going too slowly and haphazardly and Sophie scooted in front of me and I plunged my tips into the snow and we both tumbled. She seemed unphased but the blood on the snow told a different story. I had sliced her elbow with my ski edge. Tyler taped her up and she trotted merrily back to the parking lot. When we cleaned and rewrapped her leg and Tyler picked the gauze off her wound while I tried to hold her squirming, resentful little body, he decided she needed stitches. I was wracked with guilt and worry so Tyler had to deal with my histrionics as well as ministering to Sophie. She got three stitches yesterday and was just fine besides a little drunken weaving and minor consternation over her leg bandage.
Sophalope just wants to go downhill already
There is no actual point to this post except, in no particular order, A: I have my computer back from the repair shop and a real keyboard is one of the most wonderful things in the world; B: dog ownership is greatly improved by having a willing partner to share the responsibility and love; and C: life is good, friends are awesome, snow is plentiful, and I don't have anything to complain about.