Corbet’s Couloir Jackson Hole is one of the classic cojones tests for anyone who ever dreamt they could ski at any sort of competent level. Go there, go ski whatever you like otherwise, but there’s still no escaping that defining Jackson Hole moment when you go take a look at Corbet’s Couloir.
To drop or not to drop, this friends remains the question, as Shakespeare would have put it.
A bit like whether to go bungy jump, or go out in big surf, it may or may not help to check out how others fare while pondering this.
The longer you look the less enthusiasm you may have.
Not sure of the margin of error in my Corbet’s straw poll, but around 30% of droppers got into trouble, and around 30% of those got into big trouble, like the guy here who tumbled 100m or so down the guts of it, losing his other ski on the way, while I watched on.
He ended up with one ski 50m or so below where he stopped, and the other way back near the top.
But not for long! A snowboarder dropped in, blindly, cut back way too hard and slammed right into the ski near the top, sending it and himself careering down together.
Yes, half an hour here is just liking watching a Warren Miller movie live.
If 30% lose it, and 60% make it with an effort, the other 10% surprise you with their style, power and courage. Like the old dude in this picture, who dropped straight in and nailed it on his monoski, with no side-slipping down the entry slide carved into the cornice. If you’ve ever tried a mono you’ll know just how much harder this is than on two skis.
A local dad next to me on the cliff edge while I took pictures was discussing whether to go or not with his two boys, by yelling back and forth across the gap. They were maybe 10 and 12, or perhaps even younger. They watched, waited, and then went succesively, both nailing it easily. Dad was justifiably proud, but he thought better of it himself, skiing round to meet them at the bottom.
Making the first three turns is all you really need to worry about, then it mellows out. Problem is it’s scraped off, there’s a rock right where it would be ideal to make a big speed check off your first turn, and the cliffs hem you in, so it’s all or nothing at the start. Unless you just do the big launch air in. Get past the start and you should be good either way. Happy landings..
Once you’ve got Corbet’s Couloir Jackson Hole under your belt consider heading north up to Big Sky, where locals will tell you “That’s not a couloir, this is a couloir!” about their pride and joy, the aptly named Big Couloir. Check our feature on that here. – Owain Price
Jackson Hole are working hard to boost their Aussie visitation, deals include Kids to 14 ski free, 20% off lodging, & pay 7 stay 10 nights.
region info www.realamerica.com.au