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“Are there any wolves around here?” asks


another crew member. “There’s a protected pack of gray wolves


right down there,” replies Mike, pointing a gloved finger toward the neighboring Caribou- Targhee National Forest. Mike fields a few more wildlife queries


before leading the group through knee-deep champagne powder toward one of his favorite runs. “It’s called Middle Earth,” he says. “I think you guys will like it. Especially today.” Moments later, the Venturers are back in


motion, carving Middle Earth into ribbons with whoops, hollers, laughter—and a few more ecstatic observations. “This has been the best trip ever,” says


Charlie Farrell, a recent recruit into the crew. “I wish I could stay for a month.” “Or longer,” says Jon, thinking aloud. “That


would be a very cool job—working at a place like this and showing people all the cool spots.” Yeah, it really would, Jon’s crew members


agree. Hmmm.


ON THE FINAL DAY OF THE TRIP, back at Jackson Hole, the crew gathers at the base for one last day on the slopes before motoring back east to Minneapolis. Plans are under way to expand the program into the spring and summer with warm-season outdoor programs. But the moguls haven’t melted quite yet. Waiting at the tram, the group runs into a


crew alumnus, Paul Feik, who has since moved from Minneapolis to Jackson Hole where he now works as a mountain manager, volunteers for the Teton Village fire department, and does whitewater river guiding in the summer. “I’d definitely credit the Venturing program


for making me want to move to a place like this,” says Feik, whose story isn’t lost on the current batch of Venturers savoring their last day on the hill—this year, at least. Chances are good they’ll be back. ¿


JORDAN RANE has contributed to Outside, Cowboys & Indians, and Islands magazines. He is the author of The Fun Seeker’s Los Angeles.


JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2011 ¿ S COUTING 29


Lunchtime clowning at Grand Targhee Lodge includes (above, from left) Arlene Schmitz, Nate Alme, Dave Recker, Steve Hughes, Jeff Stark, and Marlene Zaback. Dave Ellgren (opposite, top) feigns menace as the “Cheetos Dracula” for Schmitz, and Stark smiles through a goatee exten- sion courtesy of his cold morning on the slopes.


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