We particularly love this run in the early season because its slopes are more grassy than rocky. But it is fun year-round. You can do laps in the bowl that are only about 500 vertical feet of skinning at a time.
What Makes It Great
Heading south on Pass Ridge from the parking lot at the top of Glory, it’s difficult to get all the way to Avalanche Bowl though. From about eight minutes out of the parking lot, the traverse runs along the top of tempting run after tempting run. These runs, Chiver’s Ridge, Titty Mouse Ridge, Olympic Bowl are just fine. And fun.
We really try to save ourselves for Avalanche Bowl though. To the south of the runs named above, Avalanche is not longer or steeper than any of them. It might not be quite as tracked up though. But it’s best if you still expect tracks.
The skin track from the parking lot, which climbs only a couple of hundred feet as it makes it way to Avalanche Bowl, doesn’t go right across the bowl like it does the earlier runs. In a large open area before you get to the expansive, flat summit of Mount Elly, you have to turn left (northeast) and climb about fifty feet to the top of Avalanche Bowl. From the usual skin track you won’t be able to see the bowl until you’re on top of it. You should see a track heading left from the main skin track though.
Pick your line. Our favorites tend more towards skier’s left and skier’s right rather than down the bowl’s gut.
Early in the season, it’s best to skin back up and take the traverse out to the parking lot. There are usually a couple of established skin tracks starting at various points towards the bottom of the main bowl. We use whichever one is closest. Later in the season—once there’s good coverage all the way to the valley floor—it’s possible to ski all the way down from the top of Avalanche Bowl, into a gully, and then hit a luge track that will take you to Old Pass Road.
From the Old Pass Road parking lot, it’s about two miles to the junction with the current Highway 22. If you don’t have a car waiting for you at this parking lot or there’s no car you can hitch with, this can be an annoying walk while you carry your skis.
Who is Going to Love It
It’s a great area if you’re introducing a friend to backcountry skiing.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Forty-five minutes of skinning from the parking lot at the top of Teton Pass gets you to Avalanche Bowl.
Unlike for the bootpack up the north side of Teton Pass and Glory Bowl, skins are needed to get to this area, as is the knowledge that traveling in avalanche terrain is dangerous. All season long, get daily avalanche advisories for the Pass or call in an observation at (307) 739-2607.
Angus Thuermer Jr.’s Jackson Hole Ski Atlas is also available at both Skinny Skis and Teton Mountaineering, and has excellent aerial photographs of the area.