May 17, 2019
The Story Behind Kirby’s First Tram
I’ve never heard a great definition of the culture of our valley. We have some idea of what it is. “You know it when you see it.” And some idea of what it isn’t. It’s not about being seen. The badass athletes who call Jackson Hole home don’t brag about their talents and achievements. It is about framing our sport and art and life in the context of our passion for this place.
Kirby Williams personified that spirit. With an easy smile and love of life, he was an iconic member of the ski community. Kirby grew up on the Jenkins ranch, left for college, and came back after graduation. He built trails for a not-yet-operating Jackson Hole Ski Corp, then spent winters as a ski patroller from the mountain’s inauguration until he retired. In the summer, he guided fly fishing trips and was a carpenter.
There was a certain way about him that seemed to acknowledge the sheer luck and incredible good fortune that landed us in this paradise. That gratitude put perspective on any problems, discussions, or disagreements and made him fiercely loyal and dedicated to his friends.
We were fortunate to be close to Kirby and Stephanie for many years. They kindly opened their ranch to Mark and me for our wedding. Some of my favorite times were stories told about the early ‘wild west’ days of what is now Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Kirby is truly OG.
We named Kirby’s First Tram in honor of the character of old-school Jackson Hole. The tribute is for him, for you, for us - to continue that culture. And though we’d like to think it’s the coffee, I’m well aware that affection and admiration for Kirby are what’s driven it to be our top coffee year after year.
This winter, on a snowy Christmas day, Kirby took the last tram.
His friends and family celebrate his life this Saturday, May 18th at the Village Commons at 3pm.