Sharing the stoke
December 12, 2012
Start your day with a good snow report
Opie’s not telling you to hang loose. He wants you to give a call to the Grand Targhee snow phone to get pumped about good conditions. Having just recently landed in Teton Valley, Opie and his wife are embracing mountain culture...again. Photo by Hope Strong
You may not recognize the face of Opie Jahn yet, but you might be familiar with his voice.
“Good morning and thanks for calling Grand Targhee. This is Opie with the snow report for Monday, December 10, 2012. Teton Valley, you are stoked. It’s been snowing since I got here at 5:30 this morning and it’s still nuking outside.”
Though his driver’s license and his concealed weapons permit both identify him as Christopher Reinhardt Jahn, nobody calls him that. On account of his red hair, Opie has answered to his nickname since he was six.
“Even my grandmother calls me that,” Opie said. “I was the spitting image of Ron Howard as a kid.”
Now sporting a red beard, Opie looks like he could be a ski patroller at Grand Targhee, and he may be one someday. In the meantime, he is one of Targhee’s snow reporters, and that means getting up really early.
“Consistency is king with reporting snow, and Targhee’s initial report cover a 24-hour period, from 5 a.m. to 5 a.m.,” Opie explained. “If conditions change, we’ll do an update. Sometimes it can snow five inches in a couple hours.”
As a snow reporter, Opie has to roll out of bed at around 4 a.m. and with such an early wakeup call, he makes sure there is always good coffee in the house.
“I’ll admit that I’m elitist when it comes to coffee. Right now, I’m pretty hooked on Doma Coffee Roasters out of Post Falls. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is to turn the water boiler on for the French Press.
Sometimes I’ll switch to pour over method or I’ll do espresso shots, but it’s got to be really high octane,” Opie said.
In Teton Valley for not quite a month, Opie came from McCall with his wife, Annie, who recently took a position with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Together, Opie and Annie owned a burrito shop back in the western part of the Gem State, and before that they were in Big Sky, Montana.
“Annie is passionate about food, work and mountain culture. Me, I’m a skier,” Opie said. “Coming to Teton Valley kind of feels like coming home to real mountains and real resorts. This is the epicenter of mountain culture. Yesterday, I skied in Jackson, and Jimmy Chin was over in the corner of the gondola. How cool is that?”
After enthusiastically delivering the snow report, Opie will make his way to the slopes, and if conditions have changed, he might do an update.
“Sometimes I’ll leave after doing the morning report, but mostly I just ski my brains out,” Opie said. “If there is an opportunity, I’ll try to work into the volunteer patrol rotation.”
A patroller at Tamarack prior to heading for Teton Valley, Opie has already made a connection to try and get his new border collie trained to be an avalanche dog, and he is encouraged by the local community of likeminded outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep their skills sharp. Having just moved here, he is impressed at how everyone seems to want to raise the bar with search and rescue and other aspects of safety. But more than anything, Opie is all smiles that he lives in a mountain town that is surrounded by opportunity throughout the year.
“I still associate who I am with skiing, but put me on a river, and that’s my Zen,” he said.
And though lifelong residents of Teton Valley still marvel at the majesty of the mountains, it is something special to see the sparkle in the eye of someone who has just recently arrived.
“I love it here. Everybody’s stoked,” Opie said. “I’m sure I’ll meet some jaded locals at some point, but I just got here, and it’s amazing.”