By the Numbers
AVERAGE COMMUTE 15 minutes
MEDIAN AGE 32
MEDIAN INCOME $54,614
MEDIAN HOME PRICE $1.7 million (Teton County)
BIGGEST EMPLOYERS Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (1,185 in winter), Grand Teton Lodge Company (925 in summer), St. John's Medical Center (500)
TELLING STATISTIC Of all vehicles registered in Teton County, 37 percent are Subarus
WHERE THE 25,000-ACRE National Elk Refuge ends, the town of Jackson begins. Set on the banks of the Snake River, just minutes from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Jackson flaunts an impressive backyard. But despite the county's density of five people per square mile, the antler-lined town square, and watering holes like the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, this isn't the Old West anymore. In Jackson, sushi-grade fish gets flown in daily, Wall Street execs turned landscapers ride cruisers to the local brewpub, and U.S. Ski Teamers like 21-year-old Resi Stiegler show up for the Stagecoach's Thursday disco night wearing Rollerblades and a leotard. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is updating its seventies style with a 100-person tramway to Rendezvous Peak, top-ticket acts like folk legend John Prine perform at a new $35 million center for the arts, and six of greater Jackson's restaurants now boast a Wine Spectator award. All this luxury mountain living comes at a price a three-bedroom house downtown runs you more than a million. (Don't panic: There are more affordable options in nearby Victor, Idaho.) Still, the real draw to Jackson is easy access to some of the most rugged terrain south of Alaska. That hasn't changed since the days of $7 lift tickets.
The Perfect 48 Hours
From subscriber Ethan Valenstein, 29, sales associate at Sotheby's International Realty:
Start with a breakfast burrito at Down on Glen (307-733-4422) to fuel up for a ride on the Putt-Putt and Hagen trails (rent from Fitzgerald's Bicycles; fitzgeraldsbicycles.com). Then head to the Snake River Brewing Company (snakeriverbrewing.com) for a BLT and a pint of their namesake lager. Later, toss a Frisbee in Snow King Park, then dine on three-cheese macaroni at the Rendezvous Bistro (rendezvousbistro.net) before catching a band at Teton Village's Mangy Moose Saloon (mangymoose.net). Day two starts with breakfast at Pearl Street Bagels (739-1218), followed by a five-mile run up the Death Canyon trail. Next, head to Dornan's (dornans.com), in Moose, and float the Snake River back to Wilson while fishing for cutthroat trout (rent a boat from Snake River Kayak and Canoe; snakeriverkayak.com). Dinner is a carne asada quesadilla at the new Picas, inside the Stagecoach Bar (733-4407).
pop. 557,917 (city)
Love the mountains but not the ten-to-one guy-to-girl ratio? Denver has all the trappings of a major metropolis a new museum of contemporary art, a dozen major brewpubs, and a winning bid for the 2008 Democratic Convention yet still manages to maintain the sleepy feel of a Rocky Mountain ski town. With more than 60 community gardens, one of the greenest mayors in the country, and easy access to the Front Range's trails and ski resorts, not even the I-70 traffic will give you the blues.
"Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park." John E. O'Brien
Red Lodge, MT
"Great mountain biking and hiking." Paul Taylor