Ski Cabin Volunteering

August 23rd, 2008

Looks like goods skiing in the Gros Vents

Those boards made for an awkward 3.4 milesSo, historically I’ve never been much for volunteer work. This probably stems from when my parents “suggested” I volunteer down at the hospital when I was young, and I did some data entry and cleaned floors and mostly hated it. Doing things you don’t like and don’t care about for no money never made sense. But after this summer, I get it. The trick, as it turns out, is to care about it! (*ahem*… duh). I care about skiing and mountain biking, so, I helped repair a ski cabin and did a little bike trail building. It was hard work in the hot sun, but it was fun to help out causes I’m excited for.

Building trail above Horseshoe canyonFirst, I worked on a “trail work day“. The Teton Valley Trails and Pathways non-profit organizes a couple of these work days (beginning with the “National” day in June), and Grand Targhee provides some kind of pass-upgrade incentive to help bring people out. I missed the first trail day, but thought it would be nice to give back to the trails I love to ride and also meet interesting new people, so I Trail work in the Big Holessigned up. The day I worked was right before I hiked the Teton Crest Trail, which was a little rough, but I had a good time. We were making a new trail up Horseshoe canyon in the Big Hole range (which is home to a TON of sweet trails already). Being a mild-mannered computer nerd working with a Pulaski all day kicked my ass! I can’t imagine a whole summer of that, like some the official Forest Service “trail crew” were doing. I was out of town for the third and final trail day, but intend to help out with trails more in the future.

Goodwin Lake Ski Cabin

Traditional methods are way too hardThen, this past Wednesday and Thursday, I helped with the Goodwin Lake ski cabin. Since I only got into backcountry skiing during my last few years in Bozeman, I didn’t even know there was a ski cabin near Teton Valley, but I’d seen a call for volunteers on tetonat.com and figured, why not? I’ll be using the cabin now that I know about it, I’m not really working right now anyway! I signed up for two days since it would be a pain to drive and hike all the way there for just for one day. It ended up being great since EllePack mulesn Linn of Linn Canyon Ranch was cooking lots of delicious grub up at the rather opulent campsite. I always forget what luxury you can afford with horses! The gist of the project is that the roof of the cabin, which was built in the 50s by the Idaho Falls and Jackson ski clubs, was falling in and a new outhouse needed to be built. Old fashioned tools back in useThe place was in general need of repair anyway, including lots of reinforcement, new oil, a new chimney, etc. The problem is that in the 80s the land the cabin is on was classified as Wilderness and cabin a “Historic Site”, so a special permit is needed to work on it, the improvements must match the original building style, and no motorized vehicles or tools can be used. This means no power Ellen's epic camp kitchendrills, no ATVs, no chainsaws, etc. Just old-school funk. The lumber had to be carried in by hand, we used old fashioned cross-cuts saws, hand-drills, etc. SO much work. The irony is that when they built the cabin in the 50s they drove the materials in with a truck and could use chainsaws, but whatever. It was hard work but the people up there were great and sometimes it felt more like a party than a job. (Sometimes…) Working hard, or hardly working?My main task was pre-drilling and sinking lag bolts into the new rafter reinforcements. I pretty much worked for two days on this, even with another person! I only did like, 20 bolts! The pre-drilling with a hand-brace was the worst. It looked like the job was going get finished on time though, so I can’t wait to get up there and use it this winter! Right before I left I treated myself to a quick jaunt up Jackson Peak, which I’d never climbed before. The views of the Gros Vents and Tetons were great, and the skiing looks pretty epic!

Inside the cabinThe Cabin, looking sharp

Jackson Peak on the hike inMe on Jackson Peak

Goodwin Lake from Jackson Peak

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