Tetons…..mixing business w/ Pleasure

On January 25th I flew down to the Tetons with Michelle to spend a few days with the family, shoot for the Library Project, and judge a couple freeride events. I’d say we had pretty good timing. A storm front carrying over 50 inches of light and fluffy Teton POW arrived right behind us. It was nice to be home in the Tetons with Michelle and my family, and I think they would agree. During Michelle’s long weekend in the Tetons we got in a ski day with the fam, a super fun tour on the pass and, to top things off, it absolutely dumped the night before Michelle had to fly out.  So like any true “powderwhores” we figured we had better ski that morning as long as possible before driving her to the airport.

Once Michelle left, the pace changed from family/vacation time, to game time, as it was time to get ‘er done. I had two weeks to lock down as much quality footage as possible for The Library Project, while judging both the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort IFSA Jr Regional Freeride Competitions. The first few days we were still in the 50+ inch storm cycle and to say the least, we landed some pre sick storm POW footie. We also did a pretty sick night jib sesh at the Ghee in a secret lil zone. The features were quite unique, but were not what I would call gimmies. Especially for someone who has not sessioned man made features in almost 2 years. However, I think we snuck away with a few shots. Its always a good sign when midnight rolls around and everyone with a camera is asking for more!

After the night shoot, and with just a few hours of sleep, we were right back at it again the next morning………dropping sleds in the canyon, shredding POW and pillows.  That evening the shooting marathon came to an intermission and it was time to head over to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for a few days to head judge the IFSA Jr Regional Freeride Competition. This could not have come at a better time because I was a bit sore from the jib sesh. What a show in JH, those groms continue to impress me event after event. In the pit with me were Don Watkins (for the second year in a row) and Hadley Hammer (fellow Marmot Team member). A great crew to say the least and a fun couple of days hangin with them. It was also super nice to see my good buddies Ryan Elvis Dunham, Brenton Reagan, and Rob LaPier. Thanks again JHMR!!!

That Saturday (Feb 2nd) my buddy John from AK flew down to take advantage of my pad in the Tetons while I was there. After I wrapped things up in JH we headed over to my folks house for their annual super bowl party (damn Ravens). Of course, bright and early the next morning, it was time to get back to work shooting for TLP. We had some fog, but with it coming and going I was able to stomp a line down Sunny Side and a few other hits in the GTR sidecountry. Good thing we got what we did, because in true Teton fasion, some weather rolled in and provided us with a couple of down days (no shooting). This actually worked out well because I was able to get out and make some turns with John. The forecast began to shape back up and a couple days later we were back at it. Finally, it was a beautiful blue bird day. I was fired up and knew exactly what I wanted to hit right off the bat……an area off of Peaked Mtn called The Condos, down through the skiers left (sign line) of the A, to a steep and spiney air out of the bottom. I had skied this line before, but never quite how I’ve always envisioned it. This time it was on! I told Jake that I saw a sneak through the tight trees to my air and that I was feeling it. Jake could not see the sneak I was talking about but said that if I saw it to go for it……..I finally nailed it!!! That was pretty much my final day of shooting for TLP in the Tetons this year, and it was one pretty amazing day.

Once again, it was time to put my shooting hat away, and the judging cap back on. Now I had the Chickering-Ayers brothers in the judges pit with me for Grand Targhee Resort’s IFSA Jr Regional Freeride Competition. The conditions were very soft and really punchy. This stood out with the smart skiers toning it back a notch in line choice and focusing more on skiing. I was just as impressed as always with these youngsters, but for a different reason than the norm…….using their brains as much as their talent!!! Thank you IFSA and GTR for another amazing event!

What an amazing whirlwind of a trip to the homeland. Though I did not get to spend time with everyone I would have liked to……..Who ever said “mixing business with pleasure is a bad thing” is full of sh%t. Thank you Mom & Dad, Austin & Christina, Elvis, Jake Hawkes, Alex Gilbert, Gabe Rogel, Eric Daft, Eric & Sarah Anderson, Kevin Cass, Gary Mackenzie, Max Mackenzie, Amber Nelson, Dorian Densmore, Ken Rider, Andy Williams, Margaret, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee Resort and GTR Ski Patrol! It was awesome to see & ski with you all!!!!!!!!

Now, I am back home in AK for a bit to get some work done, and most importantly, be with my amazing fiancée! She is so amazing that in 3 weeks, she is allowing me to disappear on another shoot. It’s almost time to head to Europe with Gabe Rogel and Jess McMillan so stay tuned!

Here is an edit from my trip home to the Tetons:

130125-130211 TLP preview from Teton FreeRide on Vimeo.

Gear Highlights:

The Marmot Silverton Jacket is absolutely impervious to wind and moisture, light weight and perfect for layering. This 3-layer fabric system by GORE-TEX is unstoppable!

The Smith I/OX Goggle offers the biggest peropheral view, best helmet fit, and quickest interchangable lens swap-out of any google on the market.  I am diggin it!


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  • About Teton FreeRide

    Teton FreeRide is a content based blog founded and operated by Mike "Mikey" Leake. Mikey has lived in the Teton Valley region of southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming most of my life. He has also had the opportunity to live and play in the Lake Tahoe area, and now, Alaska too!

    After competing on the Freeskiing World Tour on-and-off for 10 years Mikey has transitioned to judging various events and become an advisory board member with the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA). Over the past 13 years he has worked in the ski industry through skiing as an athlete, coach, guide, ski patrol, event coordinator, event judge, marketing consultant, team manager, videographer, and as an associate producer. Mikey has a true passion for the outdoor industry and tries to be involved in every aspect possible.