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Hey, Stop Grooming The Chi!

Cold Front
posted: 10/02/2003

If you're ever standing atop the abyss that is Jackson Hole's Corbet's Couloir facing a severe courage deficit, feng shui expert Heather Smith suggests the following face-saving excuse: "Sorry, bro, my chi is just not harmonizing. The owner of Jackson's Harmony & Happiness Feng Shui Consulting, Smith is a specialist in the ancient Chinese philosophy known as chi that arranges humans and their environments to synchronize their flow of energy. She's also on a quest to bring feng shui to America's slopes. "An untouched mountain has perfect feng shui, she says. "The problems arise when lifts and runs are put in. Too many resorts arbitrarily slash them into the mountain. On the whole, Smith gives Jackson Hole's developers props for carving runs into its natural fall lines—but she does see room for improvement. Herewith, Smith's redesigned Jackson Hole that hugs its inner chi.

Name Change: Après Vous, the name of Jackson's intermediate mountain, has to go. "It doesn't harmonize. It has nothing to do with the natural history or terrain of the area, she says. Her fix? Bear Trap Mountain, the name suggested by the resort's first employee in 1963.

Arbor Day: Olympic champ Pepi Steigler cut down the trees in Pepi's Run himself, but it's still a major feng shui faux pas. "Trees on ridges are like arteries, says Smith, "cut them and you eliminate the flow of energy.

Casper Calisthenics: "A designated place to stretch will possibly reduce injuries on the mountain, Smith says. "On-slope massages would be even better. She recommends an official stretching and massage area here.

Cave Dwelling: The corrugated-metal pizza pad atop Bridger Gondola is the feng shui equivalent of Jerry Springer—loud and obnoxious. How about a Pizza Cave instead? "Caves are a natural part of the mountain there. Make a building look like one and people will be drawn to it.

Hold The Hoses: Sorry to all Thanksgiving visitors, but snowmaking machines must be removed. "We need to have patience for Mother Nature, Smith says.

No Easy Way Down: Cat tracks are one of the biggest feng shui dilemmas—they interrupt the skier flow as well as the fall line. That's sometimes excusable, says Smith, but not in the case of the Nez Perce road. "This cat track doesn't even have a purpose, she says.

Let it Be: The Hobacks are the poster child for feng shui. "Everything—their pitch, the snow, the tree separation—is ideal, Smith says. She'd leave this entire part of the mountain alone.

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