GET OUT: Best Family Visit Ever

By on March 23, 2016

Acclimated older sis turns her family’s visit into boot camp.

Left: After sneakily coercing her sister to the top, the author enjoys the view from Snow King. Bottom left: Little brother drops Corbet’s. Right: A salad large enough to sate powder hounds. (Photo: elizabeth koutrelakos)

Left: After sneakily coercing her sister to the top, the author enjoys the view from Snow King. Bottom left: Little brother drops Corbet’s. Right: A salad large enough to sate powder hounds. (Photo: elizabeth koutrelakos)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – The long days have brought me the best powder, the best amount of sun, and the best people visiting. People, planning and powder may be overwhelming, but in the spirit of Best of Jackson Hole, I chose to embrace the occurrence. After all, I do live in a pretty cool place, and snow is pounding the mountains. So why not make the best of it?

I have little control over what humans want to do when they visit Jackson Hole. Thus, a majority of time was spent at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort during a plethora of wondrous, white fluff. Initially, I snowboarded with my little brother. He only rides once a year for a handful of days, but never ceases to be better than me at pretty much everything.

On our second run, I gave him an ultimatum. Either we go into Corbet’s or go for a walk. He opted for the couloir given his propensity for avoiding the discomfort of walking. “You go first,” he said as people flocked in and out, calling their mothers from the top. I hopped in, then saw the rocks. The situation was beyond the typical single indicator rock that evolved after a bunch of people skidded in. This was a true row of rocks with a tiny area through which one had to point directly without shredding their sticks. I hopped through, but felt a twinge of older sibling guilt/fear of getting my brother hurt.

I watched and waited, ready to pick up any pieces left after his first run in. Finally, his little green and purple goggles bobbed above the sliver of snow on the hard bank in the first turn. He pointed his board and bucked through the air. Thoughts of my mother, pointedly questioning my rationale to take him into Corbet’s raced through my head. But just before the anticipated crash, catlike reflexes kicked in and with one soft butt check, the fruit of the same loins seamlessly made his way down. I watched with a combination of DNA pride and slight jealousy at the fact that this kid never fails.

From there, I deemed it time to hike the headwall. After quick ride up the gondola, we hopped on the white spider. Powder, however, was not in my realm of thought for this hike; my inner desire for my brother to be uncomfortable had taken over. He cruised up, likely thinking about the promise of lunch. We dropped into Casper Bowl and there was no point in stopping, for one could get easily lost in the powder. After taking one of the best runs I’ve ever experienced, little bro, sweaty and hungry, announced he would not be taking another walking jaunt for the remainder of his stay. At one point he actually said there was “too much powder” and “there’s no point in hiking for misery.”  I accepted his notions of reality and conceded to lunch.

Family members that visit from sea level seem to have an insatiable appetite, so we met up with the rest of the Greek lineage for lunch at Rendezvous Lodge. Going out to eat is hard; we crush it in the kitchen. Given resort food is expensive, my sister and I decided to split a salad. Though it’s pricy and more than $15, we made this experience the best bang for the buck. The greens provided in the salad bar were from Vertical Harvest, grown right in town. We could taste the difference of quality in these fresh, delicious leaves. Decked with artichokes, cheese, and cucumbers, the green choice was more than I could hope for in a resort lunch. Although the rest of the fam’ gave us weird looks when we arrived at the dining table with our shared salad, jealousy ensued when they realized their mistake of not choosing the spicy arugula mix.

On this weekend excursion, I learned one could really make the best of their family visiting by tiring completely tiring the crew out. On a self-imposed rest day, my younger sister had a serious fear of missing out. Around 11 a.m. she regretted her decision, claiming she was not tired and wanted to ski. Having already anticipated this, I implemented my backup plan of hiking up Snow King. “That’s not even exercise. It’s just a knoll,” she said. After a little convincing, we were strapping our boards on by the town hill. She regretted her decision, out of breath in about five minutes, as I knew she would be.

“It’s OK,” I said. “It’s just a knoll and you’re only 10 minutes from the top.” I repeated this until she really was close to the top. At some point, she realized I was lying the entire time and stopped believing me. However, I had already taken her board so there was no way for her to go but up to meet me at the “true summit.” While she exhibited borderline despise for me, I was too far ahead to understand what she was saying. Her mood quickly changed, however, when she arrived in the sunlight and absorbed the crisp views of the Teton Range. Mission accomplished.

Some people get overwhelmed when families come to visit, but I rejoice in observing their reactions when I challenge them to do things they would never sanely choose to do themselves. As long as I keep them well- fed and provide them ample opportunity to exercise in beautiful places, they can’t help but love the place. After all, there are so many choices of the best things to do around here; it’s hard to go wrong. PJH

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