Skiing Corbet’s Couloir: my husband’s crazy death wish

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is one of the most extreme ski resorts in the United States. It also happens to be my husband’s favorite. For this reason, we’ve skied in Jackson Hole numerous times. The mountain’s terrain is rugged, with sharp drop offs on the side of runs and even traverses. There are dangerous shoots, couloirs, and steep black diamond runs that will make you second guess your decision to attempt them. Perhaps no ski run at Jackson Hole is more extreme than Corbet’s Couloir. And yet, my ski-fanatic husband tells me every year that this will be the year he conquers this run.

Each November, as ski season approaches, my husband says the same exact thing.

“This is the year I’m going to ski Corbet’s Couloir.”

For those of you who aren’t into extreme snow sports and don’t have a desire to die in an incredibly stupid way, you probably don’t realize how insane that statement is… So let me just pause right here and show you the ski run known as Corbet’s Couloir.

Corbet’s Couloir in summer

corbet's couloir Jackson Wyoming in summer
This is Corbet’s Couloir!

You see, my friends, Corbet’s is a cliff. Granted, it is usually covered in about 8 feet of snow when people ski down it, but the fact remains, Corbet’s Couloir is, indeed, a cliff. In order to go down this run, you have to ski jump off the steep, rocky edge into a narrow funnel-like opening surrounded by even more steep, rocky cliffs.

Corbet’s Couloir has actually been coined “America’s scariest ski slope“. Why would anyone want to ski that? Your guess is as good as mine. Yet every year there are countless people much braver than me who plunge into this terrifying Double Black Diamond X ski run. Surprisingly, most of them make it to the bottom relatively unscathed. They are not only braver than me, they are also much better skiers than me.

Skiing Corbet’s Couloir

Corbets Couloir Jackson Wyoming in winter
The view of Corbet’s Couloir from the tram in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

You have to be an expert skier or certifiably insane to actually go down Corbet’s Couloir. I’m fairly certain my husband is not the latter. He is however, a really great skier. He has been skiing since he was a young child and can handle almost any run with ease.

But even expert skiers cower a little when they coast up to the edge of Corbet’s Couloir and glance down. It’s pretty intimidating, especially once you’ve seen it without snow. (You can never unsee that.)

That’s probably why my husband has yet to ski Corbet’s Couloir. He’s seen it when it wasn’t covered in snow. He’s seen the sharp, jagged, unforgiving rocks that lie just below winter’s seemingly inviting, fluffy powder. He knows the mangled mess that could become of his body with just one wrong turn.

Corbet's Couloir Jackson Wyoming in summer

So year after year, Damon pledges to ski Corbet’s Couloir, and year after year he skis up to the top, peers over the edge of the cliff, calculates his turns, and carefully plans his decent down the extreme ski run. Then he wistfully turns around and skis away, telling himself that he’ll do it next year… Next year will be the year he skis Corbet’s.

The day my husband will go down Corbet’s Couloir

One day, my husband will actually go down Corbet’s Couloir. Because, you see, I’ve also made a pledge to him. I’ve pledged that when he dies, I will take his ashes and toss them over the edge of the cliff so he can brag to all of his friends in heaven that he went down “America’s Scariest Ski Slope.”

God willing, I have another 65 years to travel with my husband, and at least another 55 years of listening to him say that this year will be the year he skis Corbet’s.

Looking for more information on Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Read this post about winter in Jackson, Wyoming.

So what do you think? Have you skied Corbet’s Couloir? Would you ski it? And if so, on a scale from one to straight jacket, how crazy would you say you are? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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3 comments on “Skiing Corbet’s Couloir: my husband’s crazy death wish”

Not crazy enough to risk my life, not crazy enough to risk a serious spinal cord injury, not crazy enough to risk leaving your wife and sweet child without you. I would say put the Straightjacket back on Damon, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. ?

So I lived in Jackson back in the early 90’s and have skied Corbets well over 200 times. It is my favorite ski run in the world. Once you get in there the powder is the best on the mountain. Before you “drop it” for the first time you should be comfortable skiing cliffs in the 10 to 15 ft range. For your first time you will need to catch it on a powder day durring a storm and before it gets skied out. I always avoided the goat track entrance because its skied out and can become very choppy and rutted out, not very smooth. I always skied a line to the right of the goat track. It is faster but also very smooth, setting you up for your second turn that is more important than your entrance. Another very important key is to not stop and stare at it. Just pick your line and GO. All the other people that stop and stare too long will ski away. Once you pick your line make sure your lean far forward and keep your hands driving down hill. If your hand or arm comes back or up your weight will go back and thats how to crash. Driving your hands down hill is one of the tricks to skiing the steeps and cliffs. Dont for get to stop in the cave on the left after you get in. It is one of the coolest things in the mountain. Thats where we use to smoke a “J” and so enjoy what we just skied. Cheers.

Hey Gary, I was on to back off, once, because I stared too long. Question, if I can ski Widowmaker with ease, do I have a solid chance at Corbet’s?

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