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Anatomy: Jackson Hole's Casper Bowl

Casper Bowl, a 180-degree cirque of 1,200- vertical-foot cliff-littered chutes, opened in the winter of 1997. Since then, it’s become one of Jackson Hole’s many proving grounds and the venue for numerous freeskiing comps.
posted: 08/31/2009
Anatomy Casper

Shot 12 (Beartooth)

Patrollers began referring to these chutes by number for
accurate shooting with the 105-millimeter Howitzer, and savvy locals followed. The marketing department uses other names, but ask any old-timer where Beartooth is, and you’ll get a blank stare. Shot 12, a north-facing gully, is the most accessible. Behind the Bridger gondola, hike two thirds up the White Spider, pass through the lower gate, and traverse into its toothy entrance.

 Shot 10 (Greybull)

Finding Shot 10—a sheer, 40-degree chute flanked by craggy walls and spotty trees—requires some snooping. From below, look skier’s left of the large buttress called Lunchbox, just off-center in Casper Bowl. Hike the White Spider, cross 100 yards into the bowl, and ski the fall line into the trees. Poke around until you see the line that goes through.

 Shot 14 (Moccasin)

Shot 14 skirts left of Kathryn’s Ridge, a long, precipitous crest that offers some of the best south-facing views on the mountain. The chute features bulbous, stairstepping drops and rollovers, and begins with a 40-plus-degree pitch. Traverse the ridge to the center of the bowl, cut right, and ski into it. It’s easy to catch air unintentionally, so take it slow.

C1 (Fremont)

Visible from the top of the bootpack, C1 has obvious allure: a 1,000-foot, boomerang-shaped classic that just might be your best line of the day. To get there, shuffle all the way across the ridge. If it’s a deep day, tag it in the morning. C1 gets tracked out quickly.

Filthy McNasty

Named by Callum Mackay, the famed Scottish-American former JH patroller who led storied singsongs at patrol gatherings, Filthy’s is a bent, south-facing sliver on the far northern corner of Casper Bowl. Conditions are suitable only a few times each season, so shoot down this tree-spotted drain right after a storm. And nail it first or don’t bother.  

FOUR THINGS TO KNOW

Patrolman Greg Miles helped open Casper Bowl to the public, a task that required figuring out toboggan placements, rescue protocols, and avalanche mitigation. Says Miles, “While our patrol director was initially opposed to it, he let us experiment.”

Although ski patrol reduces avalanche hazard and caches rescue gear in Casper Bowl, don’t head into this terrain alone. Bring a shovel, beacon, and probe, and know how to use them. And consider hiring a guide (from $370; jacksonhole.com).

Just past Filthy McNasty is Liar’s Slide, named for a local skier who triggered a slide while poaching this closed area. Patrol found only a ski in the debris. At first, the guy denied involvement. But he later confessed in order to get his ski back.

Beyond Casper Bowl lie the Crags, another inbounds playground full of cliffs, chutes, and glades. But tread carefully. This terrain is for serious skiers and requires route finding, steeps skills, and think-on-your-feet turns.

 

 

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