Six photos, five cliché hashtags, and a few words that aren’t even about skiing the South Teton
I like making fun of #hashtags and the #jacksonhole (and beyond) Instagram #culture, though I cannot deny being part of it. I’m as excited as anyone else to share cool pictures of my friends and of the cool places I’m lucky enough to be able to access and explore. I do use Instagram as a beta tool. “Ooh, look what (insert name of whatever unknown local/friend/local pro/Exum guide) skied today. Looks deep/icy/steep/scary/fun/etc.” I use it to armchair quarterback: “Hmm, wouldn’t have skied that line on a day like today.” I use it to learn just a little more about where rappel anchors are, whether a choke is wide enough to ski through, or what the snow conditions look like. I post something every once in a while (yes, usually ski pics). I try to do a little more than the classic pow shot “All time conditions on #turkeychute today!! #jhdreaming” (I don’t intend to sound arrogant, but my photography skills are better than that, and feel the same about my stoytelling skills, even if I just have a sentence or two).
But it can be a dangerous tool. It can build complacency, it can get people in over their heads. Is it responsible for more traffic into certain lines that have higher consequences? Places that used to see little traffic, or maybe not even a single descent in a year? It’s hard to quantify, and I’m not the right person to do so.
“The Apocalypse has been skied at least three times this week; it’s good to go”
“Ooh that’s a cool looking line; let’s ski that sometime”
“The anchor on Broken Thumb just got beefed up; sweet!”
I’ve said things like that before, and I’m sure my posts have elicited similar responses from others. Rehashing a couple lines from an Instagram post of mine from a few weeks ago: Take everything you see on social media with a grain of salt. Stay safe out there and make good decisions. Be ready for what you are going out to ski (and that doesn’t just mean your “kit” for you gearheads out there). Build yourself up to your lofty goals through progression and mentorship. And, in the wise words of my old mentor Steve Powell: Always choose to ski another day.
And goddamn #hashtags. So here are some cool pictures of my awesome friends, matched with my favorite cliché #jacksonhole #hashtags. Yes, I’m spewing about the cool thing I just skied. These days, I just try to be a little more thoughtful of how I spew, how much salt to put on other people’s spew, and what my spew means to other people.