Swift. Silent. Deep. : The Story of the Jackson Hole Air Force

A new documentary about the legendary – and recently controversial – Jackson Hole Air Force.
Publish date:

Swift. Silent. Deep. If you've skied Jackson in the past two decades, chances are you've heard these words. They're the mantra of the Jackson Hole Air Force, a group of counterculture powder skiers formed in the early 1980s who helped foster Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's revolutionary open-boundary policy in 1999 by relentlessly poaching out-of-bounds terrain.


Swift. Silent. Deep.

, a new documentary on the group coming out this fall, filmmaker Jon Klaczkiewicz pairs archival footage with interviews of the JHAF's founding fathers. They tell how Benny Wilson, Howard Henderson, and a slew of other young ski bums met while working at Teton Video; how JHAFers like Doug Coombs and Jon Hunt dominated early freeskiing competitions; and how the Air Force purposefully annoyed ski patrol, police, and anyone else who didn't agree with its ski-hard, party-hard ways. "We were just a rat pack of ski bums," says Jon Hunt's brother Rick, 46, an early member. "Most of us still are."

So the Air Force members are the hard-drinking clown princes of Jackson, right? Not exactly. Last winter, a skier accused Jason Tattersall - a JHAF member since 1989 - of pushing him off the 45-minute boot-pack up Teton Pass's Mount Glory as Tattersall tried to pass him. Tattersall denies it, but the local controversy led him and Rick Hunt to punch in a secondary boot-pack. At the bottom, Tattersall posted a sign calling the new route the Express Lane, telling skiers to yield to traffic coming up from behind, and that dogs weren't welcome. "I caught a lot of heat for it," says Tattersall, who laps the bowl up to six times in a day. "But if I hike the pass in 29 minutes and others take an hour, I shouldn't have to tell 18 people to move." Some skiers took offense at the skull-and-crossbones JHAF sticker on the sign, accusing the current JHAF of being elitist, corer-than-thou jerks. "When I heard that, I put more stickers up in the trees, just to piss people off," Tattersall says. "That's what the Air Force is about." And so is the movie.

To see a trailer of the movie,

click here



Also check out: Women of Vail | Women of Snowbird | Women of Whistler | Women of Squaw What hasn’t Lynsey Dyer done? The 27-year-old has won big-mountain competitions, she’s appeared in Warren Miller and Teton Gravity Research films, and this winter, she won Female Skier of the Year at the Powder Video Awards. She's hosting a television show with Outside TV, and she co-founded a non-profit called She Jumps, which seeks to get girls into outdoor sports and offers avalanche safety and learn-to-ski clinics. Lynsey grew up ski racing in Sun Valley, Idaho, and went on to win a downhill gold at the 1996 Junior Olympics. She majored in graphic design at Montana State University and currently works as a graphic designer and artist at her home in Jackson. "I live in jackson because it's the most beautiful place to come home to," Lynsey says. "My commute to the mountain alone gives me all kinds of ideas for art and photography projects. This place also keeps me humble, from the massive terrain and crazy weather; even getting to the airport is often an adventure."Photos by Heather Erson Photography.

The Women of Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is home to a lot of ripping skiers. And turns out, a lot of ripping female skiers. Here are photos and bios of 10 of the best women skiers on the planet—from Lynsey Dyer to Jess McMillan to Resi Stiegler—who all happen to live in Jackson, Wyoming. Photos by Heather Erson.