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,