Say you’ve just flown in from Vancouver, Canada (elevation: zero). After arriving in Jackson Hole, which is already 6000 feet above sea level, you decide to head to the top of the ski resort for a nice long first run, on the first day of your vacation. Perhaps you don’t consult the trail map. Or realize the possible effects of extreme changes in altitude.
I didn’t realize there was a baby step strategy to elevation. The tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort whisked me 6000 feet up to the summit in 9 minutes flat. My instant rocky mountain high was so overwhelming I forgot the photo op — the picture above is courtesy of JHMR.Halfway down the hill I was still short of breath. But check out my cool new ride! Yeah, that’s the super hot Gnu B-pro with the flying unicorns. I give its serrated edges full credit for getting me through Rendezvous Bowl.Next run I thought I’d try the Bridger Gondola. It looked more friendly… heck, there was a blue man group serenading the people in line even though it was -15 Celsius.But after the gondola delivered me to 9095 feet, once again the air seemed very thin. Suddenly lunch seemed like a great idea — and it was, because of the Couloir Restaurant.The incredible view from the table was matched by the food. In my gourmet naivetee, I thought American Beef and Kobe Beef were cattle with different passports. Not at Couloir! The SRF American Kobe Burger was possibly the most delicious burger I’ve ever had. And after I proteined up, I felt like I was absorbing more O2.With my JH Tapped app (not pictured here), not only did I live to tell about my day of snowboarding a mountain known for its large percentage of double blacks, my top speed, elevation and number of runs were recorded for posterity in my iPhone (relief pictured here).And bragging rights are best accompanied by a beer. Avoiding alcohol is recommended while acclimatizing to high altitudes, but it’s hard to resist cool sudsy refreshment when the Handle Bar is conveniently located at the end of several runs.Just another day in the mile high club, minus the airplane.