If you’ve got 45- to 70-minutes once you’re at the top of Glory, consider descending into Coal Creek rather than doing the more usual and faster Twin Slides. (From the top of Glory, is you ski Twin Slides, you’ll be back at your car in less than 10 minutes.)
What Makes It Great
The 1,600-foot bootpack up Glory will take you between 40 and 90 minutes. There are some crazy locals that can do it in under 30 minutes, but that’s super speedy. If you’re hiking up in alpine boots and carrying a resort (rather than an AT set up), it could take two hours. When you reach a promontory that is the first obvious resting spot, you’re a little more than 1/3 of the way to the top. As you near the top, you’ll crest a couple of false summits. To ski into Coal Creek, you must go all the way to the top of Glory.
As of the 2014/2015 winter, there is no longer a protected hut at the top of Glory.
From the Glory summit, head west like you would if you’re heading to ski First or Second Turn. But you don’t drop into either of those. Keep heading west, always trying to stay on the highest point of the ridge. As the ridge gets narrower, there is a flat section or two. Skiers will have to sidestep. Snowboarders will have to take their boards off.
Finally, the ridge leads to a wonderful forest, with nicely spaced trees on a slope of a nice pitch.
We’ve heard these trees called Jedi Woods and also someone’s Playground. From now on, we will call them Jedi’s Playground.
Whatever we call them, they’re far from secret; expect tracks. But not so many as you might find on First or Second Turn.
As you near the bottom of the drainage, you do need to be careful not to head too far to skier’s left. Crossing the creek at the bottom can be tricky. There is often a snow bridge skier’s right of the trees.
Once across the creek, the out track is very obvious. You should be at the Coal Creek parking lot on the west side of the pass in less than 10 minutes.
Who is Going to Love It
Coal Creek involves several hundred additional feet of turns than Twin Slides, an out track back to the highway, and hitching back to the top of the pass.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Coal Creek, we suggest you look at Angus Thuermer Jr.’s aerial photo-heavy Jackson Hole Ski Atlas. Even armed with Thuermer’s photos for reference, it’s not a bad idea to ski Coal Creek your first time on a day with good visibility. The ridge you follow is distinct, but wide. It’s easy to find yourself in Snowshoe Bowl or somewhere else you don’t mean to be.
As with all backcountry skiing, you don’t want to do this without proper avy gear and training. And even then, please use your head. All season long, get daily avalanche advisories for the Pass at www.jhavalanche.org/viewTeton. Call in an observation at 739-2607.