I hate to play favorites. But when it comes to ski bums, I love Ross Gregg best of all. Ross has it all going for him: he lives in a log cabin near Crystal, he’s a retired ski
patroller AND he’s royalty (Dirt Bag Royalty, that is).
I first met Ross at the top of the Forest Queen chair. He introduced himself and a little gear in my brain clicked into place. So this is Ross Gregg. Of course it is!
I’d heard all about him, a former ski patroller, at both Jackson Hole and Crystal. The gully on Sunnyside was named for him: Gregg’s Gulch, when he got caught in an avalanche there back in the 1970s. But most of all, I knew him as the guy with the skinny skis. I asked him about his circa 1990 Rossignols.
“They look brand new,” I told him. But what I really want to know was where in the world he found them.
Ross just smiled. He gestured from his cream beret style hat to aged sweater down to his red-piping stretch pants a la 1975. “It’s one man against an industry, Kim.”
Ross is not a man to take to new-fangled fads. He isn’t the first one to try out a new ski design or fashion. Instead, he’s remained true to his old Rossignol
Ross Gregg demos new skis at Crystal Mountain
skis. In fact, since the company doesn’t make them anymore, he has a stash of them in his log cabin. He’s resourceful.
But a few years ago, someone, perhaps Sharon, who shared his year of Dirt Bag Royalty as the Queen to his King, talked him into trying a wider pair of skis, Stocklis.
It's a Whole New World on Fat Skis
No matter the conditions or the state of his gear, when you see Ross skiing, he’s always smiling. But on that day, when I ran into him at the top of Green Valley and noticed his skis, his grin was as wide as the base of Mt. Rainier.
“How do you like them?” I asked. It was an honest-to-goodness powder day. A foot of new on a Tuesday morning, no crowds with just a hint of cloud dampening the sun.
He looked at me and smiled. “Well, Kim, what can I say? It’s a whole new world.”
Ross, like any self respecting ski bum now has a quiver of skis. Since he skis most every day (the advantages of log cabin-solo-retired living), he can be found on his skinnys on a groomer day or his fattys on a powder day.
I caught up with him in Silver Basin a few months ago on his Stocklis. A few feet of silky fresh snow blanketed the slopes and Ross carved through it like a sharp pair of scissors.
Smiling in Silver Basin
I want to be like Ross someday–skiing and smiling my way through winter, and finding out that even after a lifetime on the slopes, it can always be “a whole new world.”