Rebooting… The Durtschi Diaries Vol. II
Those who have followed along with Saga since our inception might remember the Durtschi Diaries; a vlog series that Tim Durtschi started as a means of giving us a window into his life. The first episode, launched in 2009, features a 23 year-old Durtschi as he ruminates, “I’ll be filming stuff I’m doing this winter with a little hand-held camera”. The name “Durtschi” hadn’t yet developed its modern notoriety in the ski world, just two years after the first iPhone was released, and before the GoPro HERO 3 had changed POV skiing forever.
Fast-forward 12 years and the life of Tim Durtschi looks a whole lot different. The Alyeska, AK native relocated permanently to Jackson Hole, WY, is now one of the most prominent faces of big mountain skiing, plays a feature role in Teton Gravity Research’s ski films annually, and is a mentor to Kai Jones—the 14 year-old big mountain skiing prodigy.
Tim Durtschi is now a seasoned veteran big mountain skier who shows no signs of slowing down. We couldn’t be more excited to announce that, seven years since the last episode, today the Durtschi Diaries return in written form.
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Do you ever wonder what the off-season looks like for professional skiers? We do too. That’s why we checked in with Saga athlete Tim Durtschi to see what he’s been up to since the season came to close. Although the lifts stop spinning at the end of the spring at mountains across the country, it doesn’t necessarily mean that professional skiers like Durtschi stop skiing. In fact, Tim skis some of his biggest lines during the late spring and early summer months.
On a call with us from his home in Jackson, Tim recalls the Grand Teton ascent and descent as casually as one might describe an errand they ran. “The Grand”, as Jackson Hole locals will often refer to it as, is the iconic peak which characterizes Wyoming’s western Rockies. It’s the centerpiece of Teton Gravity Research’s logo, is the subject of countless paintings and photographs, and has even graced the cover of Kanye West’s 2018 album, “Ye”.
“I first set eyes on the Grand during a ski trip to Jackson when I was 15 years old”, Tim recalls, “I never even knew people skied it until I started filming with TGR.” Durtschi, whose big mountain background growing up skiing some of the gnarliest mountains in North America. “I have been on many ski mountaineering missions over the years which helped me feel prepared to ski down the tallest peak in the Tetons”, Durtschi says enthusiastically. Skiing the Grand is certainly no small feat, as it was first descended on skis in 1971. Each of the 13,775’ peaks 5 possible ski descent routes require at least one alpine repel, all after an ascent of 2,700 vertical feet.
On Durtschi’s recent quest up the Grand, he was accompanied by big mountain skiing’s prodigal son, so to speak, Kai Jones. Tim and the 14 year-old Driggs, ID native have been tackling serious big mountain lines together for years now, and while Durtschi’s descent of the Grand is an impressive feat in itself, doing so while taking on the responsibility of ensuring Jones’ safety is an added testament to his ski mountaineering expertise.
“Skiing the Grand is a very, very ambitious endeavor”, says Jason Dittmer, General Manager of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, “Kai is one of the youngest to ever ski it.” Durtschi shared no reservations about having the up-and-comer by his side throughout the trip, adding, “It was great to share the experience with Kai, who has also been putting in the work to gain the experience needed to ski the Grand!”
It’s an awesome thing to see big mountain skiing’s torch being passed from the veteran Durtschi to the blossoming Jones. Furthermore, it’s a testament to the maturity and wisdom Tim has gained in the seven years since the last installment of the Durtschi Diaries. And, despite this maturation, we know that Tim certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor, creativity, and drive to continue to break new ground in the world of skiing.
What other antics is Durtschi getting up to on and off the mountain? You’ll just have to stay tuned to the second installment of the rebooted Diaries to find out…