Jackson Hole’s Corbet’s Couloir opened on Saturday, Jan. 11 just in time for JH Steep and Deep Camp participants’ final exam – dropping into the famed expert chute.
We’ve had some friendly debate at Ski.com about whether or not our staffers would actually stand on the edge and drop in. We know of a few who already have, but photos of this drain-pipe drop-in are deceiving. Most people say they’re definitely doing Corbet’s on a Jackson Hole ski vacation. But once they get there, it’s a whole different story. There are many factors that make this run much more challenging than a quick drop and stomp.
First off, it’s located in full sight of the tram, which ferries riders past the drop zone every 10 minutes. If conditions are good, there’s a peanut gallery of spectators parked at the top, offering a little confidence or a lot of heckling, depending on the mood of the day.
Secondly, the drop is much bigger than it looks in photos, and the edge looks straight into the abyss. It’s not rare to see a first-timer crawl up to the edge on his or her stomach to peer over.
And lastly, even if you’re good enough to ski Corbet’s, you’re not good enough to ski it every day. The cornice changes all the time, and shifting snow conditions and visibility can bring new challenges that turn away the best skiers and snowboarders.
Of course, some less experienced skiers and snowboarders still go for it, and the repercussions are always dramatic, as seen in this clip:
Some are more naturally inclined to tear up Corbet’s, like this dog who drops in during the early season.
The reward for braving Corbet’s Couloir? Skiers and riders get great snow beyond the initial plunge. The run below Corbet’s is called Meet Your Maker, and it can be a truly “heavenly” experience.
In this video, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort athletes and Teton Gravity Research pros show us how it’s done:
UPDATE: Even the pros get butterflies. Check out this behind-the-scenes video from Teton Gravity Research that show the set-up for the awesome shots captured in the video above:
Update: We recently stumbled across this clip of John Spriggs backflipping off Corbet’s. He either nailed it or exploded… And this video really shows the intimidating crowd factor that makes this cliff much more than just a personal achievement.