Teaming Up For The Top

December 14, 2021 | Posted in: JHMG

An innovative partnership between Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and Off the Mountain Fitness seeks to prepare clients for the fitness their Teton climb demands. 

In the outdoor recreation world, enthusiasts know that there are two kinds of fun. Type One Fun is when you’re having fun in the moment, enjoying everything about an experience. Type Two, on the other hand, involves some suffering in the moment in order to be rewarded with a sense of joy and accomplishment looking back. Many first-time climbers would classify their ascent of the Grand Teton as Type Two Fun — it’s a demanding objective. But now, through an innovative collaboration, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides is teaming up with trainer Ben Van Treese and Off the Mountain Fitness to help clients prepare for their climb long before their boots hit the trail. The hope is to help more guests have Type One Fun on their Teton adventure. 

There are usually two reasons that someone doesn’t make it to the summit of the Grand Teton. The first one is fitness. The second one is weather. And we can’t really do anything about the weather. So, for the past few years, we’ve been looking at trying to find a partner that’s a good fit with us who can help our clients reach their fitness goals. Then, they’ll ultimately be able to achieve success on the Grand Teton.

“General fitness for someone who’s not in the mountains is quite different from the fitness required to climb the Grand or spend a couple days in the backcountry climbing,” says Ben Van Treese of Off the Mountain Fitness. With a specialization in training people over the age of 35, Van Treese notes that one of the biggest challenges for people preparing to climb is troublesome joints that cause discomfort on the expedition. 

“You have more fun on the mountain if a) your joints don’t hurt and your body feels good, and b) you have the fitness to accomplish what you’re out there to do without being physically overwhelmed the whole time,” he says. 

The program — which is accessible via an app — can be completed entirely remotely. After an initial meeting, discussion, and assessment with a personal trainer, Van Treese says, participants will receive a plan to help them reach their fitness goals. Through videos, virtual tracking tools, and weekly check-ins with a trainer, participants navigate a dynamic and goal-oriented series of workouts. This customized plan can be tailored to whatever resources a participant has, whether that’s access to a full gym, a home gym, or outdoor space. Plans are available in three-month segments, with the ideal length of adventure preparation time being around six months, says Van Treese.

All of the coaches spend a fair amount of time in the mountains and quite a few of us are climbers, too. “We’re familiar with what the guides are saying out there, so we’re going to be able to use that language with clients while we’re coaching,” he says. “Before they ever get here, they’ll be familiar with the terminology and how the guides are coaching them.” This familiarity will enhance everyone’s comfort, and the amount of fun folks have on the mountain. 

Ben’s a climber, and he has climbed the Grand Teton. That really makes him a great partner. He’s incredibly experienced at training people for mountain pursuits.  He has a very different approach to training that I think is really going to resonate with our clients.

Ultimately, the partnership allows for clients to prepare exceptionally well for their adventures with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. This preparation will undoubtedly keep guests safer and more comfortable as they undertake their mountain expedition. And perhaps equally as important, less physical discomfort paves the way for a more positive, memorable, and fun experience — and an increased chance that they’ll get to achieve their goal and overlook Jackson Hole from the best vantage point around: the summit of the Grand Teton.

To learn more about training with Off The Mountain or to book an assessment, email Ben at or give him a call at 937-726-2088.

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