The most prominent run as you look west from the top of Teton Pass, Edelweiss is the run locals love to hate on. We don’t know any locals that profess this giant bowl to be a favorite—and many complain it’s over skied and boring—but still most every local backcountry skier does multiple laps on it every year. Especially when the season is just getting going. The upper parts of Edelweiss have some of the grassiest slopes around so you don’t need to worry (that much) about hitting rocks.
What Makes It Great
While we’ve seen people boot packing to Edelweiss, we don’t recommend it unless you’re looking for a frustrating adventure or really, really, really need to get some turns on. Not enough people do this that there is ever a solid bootpack in, so expect to posthole with almost every step once you’re going up Edelweiss proper.
For the Powder Reserve approach, before the Pass Ridge traverse makes a short climb up to a small shack and lots of antenna, ski down through glades of pines to the west, angling to your left as you near the gully at the bottom. Ski tracks of those ahead of you should lead you to the bottom of Edelweiss. Put your skins back on and enjoy the 800-foot climb to the top. (If you’re trying to bootpack, it is this 800-foot section that will fully suck. As a skin, it is usually wonderfully mellow, winding up through trees.)
For the Mount Elly approach, take the Pass Ridge traverse all the way out to Mount Elly and then turn northwest. If there’s no track leading off in this direction and you haven’t previously approached Edelweiss by this route, I’d recommend not trying to find it on your own. It’s not particularly difficult route finding, but it is just tricky enough.
If you want the adventure though, it’s unlikely that you’ll get lost. You might just end up skiing Thanksgiving Bowl instead. Which is also a fun ski.
From this route, you’ll come up Edelweiss from the side. Because you didn’t lose elevation dropping into Powder Reserves, this route has less climbing. But the distance is greater.
However you get there, enjoy. The top part of the bowl and the expansive flattish section below are generally obstacle free. (But no promises!) Towards the bottom, both the gully on skier’s right and the steeper faces and glades on skier’s left do hide hazards like rocks.
To exit after skiing the main bowl, there’s a skin track up Powder Reserves to the Pass Ridge traverse. If you opt to ski Edelweiss’ north-ish facing Nose, which drops you several hundred feet below the highway, there is a skin track climbing several hundred feet back up to the parking lot.
Who is Going to Love It
A great place to take those just getting in to backcountry skiing.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are two ways to get to Edelweiss: 1) Powder Reserves (shorter, but with deadfall hazards, especially in early season) or 2) Mount Elly (longer, but grassier). Both start by heading south on Pass Ridge from the parking lot.