JACKSON, WY— It’s hard to describe the unadulterated joy that skiing and snowboarding offer so many people.
“It’s just really fun,” John Orzechowski tried. Last Saturday, April 7 was Orzechowski’s 102nd day skiing this season, and he was one of 144 people Jackson Hole Mountain Resort recognized at the “100-day Club Breakfast” at the Rendezvous Lodge on top of the gondola.
This year broke a handful of records, said JHMR president Jerry Blann, including the most people in the prestigious 100-day club. The resort also saw an almost 12 percent increase in skier visits, but also never had a “peak” day. Much of the mountain’s success, Bland said, is thanks to committed skiers and snowboarders like the ones in the room.
“There’s a lot of passion in this room,” Blann said. Skiers averaged 22 days this season, which is rare these days, especially with the growing popularity of passes like Epic and Mountain Collective that offer only a handful of days across different resorts. “No other ski area can say that.”
Members of this year’s 100-day club spanned multiple generations—the oldest was 87—but what they had in common was a commitment to skiing. It’s a lifestyle, they said, and it’s why they live here.
“It took me 20 years to figure out how to be a ski bum,” said Dave Blatt, who was on his 102nd day of the season. “The older I get, the more I ski.” This was Blatt’s 12th time in the club.
By contrast, it was Tommy Padia’s first year in the club. “There are no words,” he said about the accomplishment. “We did it … I’m just happy I skied more than my coworkers.”
Jarrett Schwartz thanked his wife for putting up with his obsession. But skiing, he said, has allowed him to bond with his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Schwartz grew up skiing, and now his daughter Leela can do the same. “She’s shredding it,” Schwartz said.
So what does it take to ski 100 days at JHMR? Above all, commitment, David Raaum and Jon Drumlin agreed. Drumlin was one of 11 “perfect” members—people who skied (er, snowboarded) every single day this season.
“There are days I can barely walk,” Drumlin said. “But I still snowboard.”
It also helps to know everyone on the mountain—100 days is plenty of time to get to know people. Drumlin, Raaum, and friends Craig Carpenter and John Harkness have been skiing together for 40-some years now. But they meet new people on the mountain every day in the lift lines. Even if they don’t ski together (no friends on a powder day) there’s a strong camaraderie that builds in lift lines among skiers, lifties, snowboarders.
“We’re an unruly bunch of miscreants,” Harkness said.