This is my first attempt at writing a story so cut me some slack as it may not be as good as others writing.
It was back in 2002 when I was 10 years old, I was apart of ski school, Teton Village Racers to be exact, out at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. My sister, Cummings, was in my group as was my good friend, Ian Johnston. Of course we had more group members but it was a small local group and we had the best ski instructor, his name was Brian Hagar. We met up every Saturday to go out skiing, and of course like all days on the slopes it was loads of fun!
Anyway back to the main objective of this story, my first time doing Corbet's Couloir. My group and I were capable of doing anything on the mountain, there was nothing to steep or scary for us. But we knew that Corbet's was the ultimate test of how good of a skier we really could be. And of course growing up in Jackson, I always heard stories about the local skiers, specifically the members of the Jackson Hole Air Force and how rowdy they got on the slopes and how they always did Corbet's to push themselves and each other further and further. Besides my very first ski instructor was a member of the Air Force but that is a different story that I will tell on a different day. My instructor Brian knew that everyone in my group were good enough to finally do Corbet's without a hitch. We took a couple laps to warm up to the idea that we were about to do the ultimate run. Brian was giving us all pep talks as we were riding up the tram, and as we rose over 40-60 and then Tensleep Bowl, Corbet's Couloir came into view with its pure awesomeness. At that time my knees were shaking to the point where I was surprised I didn't fall over. But I felt that I was ready to finally ski the famous couloir.
We got out of the tram, clicked on our skis and followed Brian over to the entrance of our destiny. Looking into it I was overcome with sheer terror but also pure excitement. Brian was the first one in as he wanted to show each of us how it was supposed to be done. Ian was next and made the turn perfectly. Now all eyes were on me, I slipped my skinny skis in the entrance and shimmied my way down, I took one deep breath and made the turn perfectly. I was excited and overcome with joy, and as I made my next turn in towards Brian, that's when it happened.... my tips crossed. I went from being super happy to being extremely scared in that split second. I did exactly what the majority of newcomers, or at least a good amount of people, do when they crash in Corbet's, lost my skis and poles, as I was sliding down the face with full force. I tried to stop myself and create self-arrest during the situation that I was in but there was no luck, I caught my ankle and sprained it pretty good though. I was able to come to a complete stop pass the rock at the bottom of the couloir, joined a club doing that too!
Brian and Ian grabbed all of my gear and skied down to give it to me and check up on how I was doing, I felt like a million bucks. I may have crashed in the couloir on one of my turns but I did it. A feeling of accomplishment swept over me and to this day it is one of the highlights of my life. Of course, I have been in many times since then, but I will always remember that day.
Oh, and on a side note. Anytime that this story comes up my sister will always bring up how when she was standing at the top after I went in, the people that were also looking in were observing what was happening to me with ooohs and aaahs. Since my sister was too small to see she asked what was going on, and one of the individuals told her some kid in the blue jacket was sliding to the bottom. That was me.
Corbet's Couloir will always hold a special place in my heart.