"Sitting in the corner of the Virginian Restaurant in Jackson, Bill Briggs blends in effortlessly with the regulars. The room is filled with a mix of tourists and old timers, toting Jackson Hole memorabilia and cowboy hats, respectively.
As I make my way across the room, I wonder if the patrons have any idea of the role that the unassuming man in the corner played in ski mountaineering in North America. Then I catch myself—no, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one here that’s enough of a ski mountaineering nerd to be star-struck by a man in his mid-seventies.
For me, Bill is a bit of a hero. He’s the man that arguably pioneered ski mountaineering in the States when he skied the Grand Teton 40 years ago on June 15, 1971. I introduce myself, and Bill jumps up and shakes my hand. His enthusiasm and animation catches me a little off guard. Although his hair is grey and a bit thinning and his face is reflective of the lifetime he’s spent outdoors, Bill still speaks with the energy of someone much, much younger. As we begin to talk, I’m relieved to realize that despite the undeniable contributions Bill has made to the sport I love, he’s just another guy who loves talking about the mountains."