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Photo Journal: Owen Leeper Skis Jackson Hole’s Deepest February Ever

By Owen Leeper (@o_leeps)

Powder7 athlete Owen Leeper skis Jackson like he was born on the mountain. So when the resort had a February for the ages, he didn’t miss out.

It started right when I got home from Japan.

Fifty inches of snow fell in five days between February 3-6. I was supposed to turn around and fly to Europe on the 5th, but luckily for me the airport closed and I was delayed in Jackson to fully reap the benefits of the storm. The highlight: hitting the goal post air off Jackson’s Sublette chair and getting totally buried before flying out.

Little did I know we were on our way to an all-time month. When the calendar turned to March, Jackson had recorded 193 inches of snow in February. The only snowier month in Jackson’s 53-season history, January 1996, saw 215 inches.

Check out Jackson Hole’s historical snowfall totals

owen leeper skis jackson

Don’t get me wrong: I had an amazing trip in Europe. We skied in Austria and Switzerland with good snow and amazing views. But during the trip I kept seeing snow reports from Jackson. Instagram wouldn’t stop showing me pictures of the place getting dumped on. So, with 45-degree temps forecast for Europe and a huge storm scheduled to hit Jackson, I flew home a little early. I made it back just in time to catch the tail end of the storm and score some good backcountry laps.

owen leeper jackson

It had been snowing so much in Jackson that no one had been able to go up high in the alpine because of low visibility. I made it up Cody Peak for one lap to check out the conditions. On the way down, I hit one of the coolest airs right outside the resort—the cave air. It was only my second time hitting it, and the light was kind of flat. A small pocket released on my takeoff, and I had to point it off the cliff from higher than I planned. Spicy, but it worked out.

We followed up the cave air with some powder skiing higher on Cody. A -20-degree wind chill kept us moving fast. We skied a greybird powder run and headed down to warm up. The next day skies were supposed to go blue and I was stoked.

owen leeper jackson

My roommate is a drone pilot (Tim Swartz) and he came out to film with us the next day. First up: another round at the cave air to get drone footage of it. I hiked up to the in-run and sent it perfectly off the cave. It was so good I had to do it twice! Then we headed up Cody for one of the classic lines on triple cliffs that involves a cornice drop to a couple pillows.

owen leeper jackson

Owen’s ski of choice? The Icelantic Nomad 115

Another bucket list item since I moved to Jackson? Hitting the smart bastard air in fresh snow and backflipping off the 40 foot cliff at the bottom. I booted up in deep snow and Tim captured the line perfectly.

The next day figured to be just as epic. I lined up a couple more descents on Cody then headed over to hit another one that finally filled in—Mega Gothic. A huge boulder guards the exit, and you have to ollie over it at high speed to make it out the bottom. I scoped it, and it was a ‘go’. Tim launched the drone in the air and said he was ready. I made a couple turns through the s-turn couloir and aired over the rock cleanly. Another success!

owen leeper jackson

The snow just kept coming. With forecasts calling for a huge storm, I called my buddy Julian Carr and said he might want to come over to Jackson. Once the snow started, it didn’t stop.

We got 75 inches in the last five days of February, bringing the monthly total to 193 inches.

owen leeper skis jackson

Over the last few days of the month at the resort, Julian and I hit as many big cliffs as we could find. I also hit a couple filled-in straightlines.

owen leeper skis jackson

It was one of the deepest months of skiing for me and I even missed a week of big storms. Check out this video from the two bluebird days up on Cody:

After a legendary month, it’s time to wait ’til the next one hits. Then it will be time to head to the office!

Owen Leeper also skied powder near Steamboat with the Powder7 crew this winter. 

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