Last Saturday my backcountry ski partner and I passed 73 other skiers while skinning up an avalanche prone peak in Grand Teton National Park. The vast majority of these folks — approximately 68 of them — were paying customers, pro skiers, photographers, and Exum guides associated with the 2nd annual Arc’teryx Backcountry Academy.
Overcrowding was the norm on many peaks in GTNP last week due to the Backcountry Academy influx. This year’s Academy was limited to 300 customers, up from 240 at the inaugural event last winter. Many of these customers will return to Jackson Hole — with friends — for winters to come, stoked to share their newfound knowledge of the Teton Range.
As backcountry skiing continues to grow in popularity it is inevitable that the Tetons will see more wintertime traffic, but an annual event generating marketing hype, creating repeat customers for guided ski tours, and essentially selling…
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