The drive from Denver, Colorado to Jackson, Wyoming is long. So long that, after the Rocky Mountains had faded from our rear view mirror and we had spent hours driving the flat wind-swept plains outside of Laramie, we begun to believe that we may never see another mountain again. After five hours of driving west in a relentless east-bound wind, we turned north towards Jackson and were almost instantly welcomed as the wind gave way to falling snow. The road started to climb and even in the dark we could tell that mountains were rising above us. We pulled into Jackson after 2 a.m. and thankfully Motel 6 kept its word and left the lights on for us. We set our alarms for four hours later and did our best to catch some sleep, but thoughts of a big powder day at one of the best mountains on earth made sleep hard to come by despite being exhausted from eight hours behind the wheel.
Coffee the next morning was an exercise in futility, but fortunately the reported 19 inches of new snow made getting out of bed and out the door an easy task. The universe made us wait a bit longer, however, as ski patrol went about their avalanche control. Our patience, and all our driving efforts, were rewarded when the tram started spinning and we shuffled on to be brought 4,000+ vertical feet up Rendezvous Mountain. To say the skiing was spectacular would be an understatement and despite being sleep deprived and worn out from non-stop powder skiing, we were still wanting more when the lifts closed down for the day.
That night, while we were getting a classic Jackson high/low experience with fancy eats at the Snake River Grill followed by people watching and a cornucopia of shots at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, nature hit the reset button. Snow kept falling the next day and every run seemed to be getting better and better as we explored more of the mountain.
Some (read: most) people might say that sixteen hours of driving for 48 hours of time at your destination is an insane proposition. But armed with coffee and burritos and staring down the long drive home, every one of us knew that the effort was worth it.