The “Reverse Chase”

My usual strategy when winter arrives is to watch the snow. For that, I highly recommend dropping $20 for OpenSnow, which I monitor religiously to see where in the west I can chase down fresh, and steep, tracks.

This year, though, I planned a week-long trip to Jackson for my Dad’s 60th birthday. (By the way, he can still rip) This meant that I wasn’t chasing the snow, but rather, was making a bet that during a 10-day span in January, I’d find some fresh stuff at either Jackson Hole or Grand Targhee out in the Tetons.

As luck would have it, I missed a 16-inch day in Jackson by about three hours and another 16-incher the day after I left. During the week, we did get some soft turns during a storm skiing day, but nothing that eclipsed six or seven inches.

It was on the van ride back to Minnesota, however, when I realized I was caught in a Reverse Chase.

A photo of the van in front of the Grand Teton on a bluebird Wyoming day.

“Reverse Chase”

Definition: When you chase snow out west, miss it, and it dumps back home.

A photo I took midday Monday during the blizzard that dumped as many as 17 inches on parts of Southern Minnesota. Pictured here is downtown Faribault, MN. 

Unsurprisingly, this has happened to me before. In my relentless pursuit of pow, it’s normal to check everywhere but here.

While it may seem like a blessing to return to fresh tracks, the Reverse Chase comes with two problems. 

  1. Traveling: Maneuvering a Midwest blizzard is a nightmare. Driving the van at 35 mph along I-90 in South Dakota is an unrelenting wave of sadness and anger I wouldn’t wish on (almost) anyone.
  2. Fatigue: After eight ski days in Wyoming, many of which were on some version of hard pack, and after playing two, full-length senior hockey games, I was in no condition to travel the devastated Minnesota roads after the storm. Also, the nearly day-long van ride made me unwilling to get back in a vehicle.

If I can get away from work early enough tonight, I’ll chase down whatever’s left at my home mountain, but the Reverse Chase is quite a predicament. If it were any other day, I would have dropped everything to get to those inches yesterday.

It wasn’t any other day, though. It was a Reverse Chase and there’s no good way to do that.

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