The Snow Report
Fancy, famous Jackson Hole is just south of Grand Teton National Park. Fly straight into the local airport to be floored by the stunning, peak-dominated scenery. Not for long, though: Ways to get back aloft include five terrain parks, 12 lifts, and a staff whose roster shines with names like Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe, pro boarder Brian Iguchi, and Benny Wilson, who started the Jackson Hole Air Force. You can take private lessons with any of these three big names, or enroll yourself in a camp like “Out of Bounds,” for those burning to get into backcountry. There are children’s camps too, and a kids’ pre-ski program puts tots onto sleds and the high-speed gondola.
Average annual snowfall here is 475 inches and the percentage of powder days within these 2,500 skiable acres per season is rather decent, at 14. Half of the 116 trails (4,139 vertical feet) are for experts who don’t get intimidated by steeps, glades, or gullies.
A lot of money converges here—Jackson Hole is the home of the annual Federal Reserve symposium, and over the past five years, $75 million has been invested into things like a new aerial tram and other lifts, groomers, improved snowmakers, and the million-dollar Kids Ranch. Lift tickets, as one would expect, are very expensive but demo packages are more reasonable, starting at $42.50 for quality gear.
The town manages to maintain a rugged Old West feel: Walkable Teton Village has bars, sports shops, and a high-end collection of ski-in/ski-out hotels that provide ski butlers, including the Four Seasons, Hotel Terra, Snake River Lodge, and the Inn at Jackson Hole. There’s also a wide variety of rental condos and homes—and for campers, an RV park is five miles from the resort.
New eateries to try are the Tin Can Cantina (Mexican food) and the quick-fix Hungry Jack’s General Store but don’t miss Couloir, a highly eco-conscious fine-dining restaurant atop the Bridger Gondola.
Jackson Hole is a founding member of the Climate Challenge, a sustainability program whose goal is to “keep winter cool” by toning down the ski industry’s emissions. To that end, JH has emplaced significant energy-conservation program in place and encourages carpooling so heartily that any car bringing in three or more people can park for free.
It’d be a travesty to come here and not see some genuine Wyoming wildlife, so make it a point to take an animal-spotting safari—the Four Seasons offers good ones. And if you don’t mind end-of-season skiing, come in late March for Jackson Hole’s Mountain Festival, an all-out party with concerts, fireworks, and the silliest of races.
CONTACT: (888) 333-7766, jacksonhole.com
SEASON: Late November to early April
TICKETS: General: $105 (discounted for teachers and military and police personnel, and for groups of 10 or more; reduced-price half-day tickets are available), children: $63, ages 65 and older: $84, ages 4 and younger: free