Jackson Hole can justifiably hold it's own against all contenders for the title of the best lift served (and lift assisted backcounty) skiing in North America. It is enormous, with unrelenting vertical, steep chutes, wide open powder fields, rocks & cliffs, yet it also has wonderful wide groomed boulevards and a fabulous cat track network so high intermediates can see much of the mountain. With the reinstatement of the Aerial Tram in December 2008, Jackson's only achilles heel of the past 2 seasons is no more. The new tram is bigger and faster (and still red).
- 1 Location
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Contacts
- 5 Planning
- 6 Resort Facilities
- 7 Ride Guide
- 8 Other
- 9 Resources
Jackson Hole is in the south-west corner of Wyoming, near the town of Jackson. It is close to the southern boundary of Yellowstone Nnational Park. Location Map
- Enough variety to keep you entertained for a lifetime.
- Huge vertical rideable in one fall-line hit off one lift.
- Overall the resort faces east, which means sunshine can change the snow quality very quickly
- Not really a beginners' mountain.
- Many of the beginner runs are at the bottom of the hill, and can be very cold because of temperature inversions.
- Great skiing, but not a great nightlife.
- Remote. It will usually be a couple of internal flights via Denver or Salt Lake City, or a long drive to get here.
- Limited grooming. After a few days of sunny weather the pleasant skiing options are quite small.
- Locals nuke the freshies so there is not always a lot left for the punters.
Phone General Info: 888-Deep-SNO, 307-733-2292
Mountain Sports School: 307-739-2779
Kids Ranch: 307-739-2788
Fax: PLEASE EDIT
Mailing Address: PO Box 290 Teton Village, WY 83025
Operations Shipping Address: 7652 Granite Ridge Loop Rd. Teton Village, WY 83025
Luggage warning It is common for the airlines to leave luggage off the plane when flying into Jackson. They run the biggest plane into the airport and fill it with bums on seats. As the runway is short for these monster planes, they need to off load some of the luggage. Your luggage is then shipped direct to you by road in a day or so. This is fine if you are not planning to ski on your first day. This practice has happened for years and is well know by the locals, actually if all your luggage turns up the drivers are very surprised. So pack some clean underwear in your carry on.
Jackson is about 5 hours drive from Salt Lake City, and about 8 hours from Denver, in good conditions. There are a couple of passes along the way so in bad weather things can take a lot longer. If the planes aren't getting in, driving is an option.
Driving Teton Village is about 5 hours' drive from Salt Lake City, and about 9 hours from Denver. This assumes good road conditions. As with all driving in alpine areas, a storm can add considerably to driving time.
Bus Greyhound service the town of Jackson. It is on a route from Denver to San Francisco via Salt Lake City and Reno, Nevada. Travelling by bus in the US can be interesting.
There is a range of accommodation in Teton Village at the foot of the lifts, from Hostel through hotel to self contained condos.
If you are booking at Jackson Hole resort make sure that your accommodation is in Teton Village, not Jackson. Jackson is a town about 10 miles away, and occasionally unscrupulous or ignorant operators will book you into the town of Jackson, not Teton Village, although accommodation in Jackson is generally cheaper than Teton Village. This is not the end of the world as there are frequent shuttles at a cost of ~$3 a ride or you can buy a book of 20 for less $$ from the office outside the lift ticket office in Teton.
Condos are generally not ski in/out, but there is a free shuttle to get you to the lifts. The condos in the Moose Creek development are ski in/out, or very close to it. The Moose Creek lift services these condos.
The town of Jackson is about 10 miles away, with frequent shuttles on the public START bus system. Winter is low season in Jackson so accommodation is usually available and cheaper than equivalent accommodation in Teton Village. Some hotels have private shuttles to Teton Village.
There are also a couple of groups of accommodation between Jackson and Teton Village. The Aspens, the Racquet Club and the Westside area are some of these. The START bus stops at these.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (the actual name of the resort) does an excellent job of controlling lift ticket prices. Since JH is not easy to get to, and basically at the end of the road (in winter) there is minimal other mountain competition. If you are in JH in winter, you are there to ski/board, so JHMR sees little benefit in major discounting of tickets.
A one-day ticket is $77 and even a 10 of 14-day pass works out at $70/day, so it's not cheap. (unless comparing to Australian resort prices).
Season tickets. The best bet for getting a cheaper pass. Look under season tickets at www.jacksonhole.com (making sure you are in the winter site, not the summer version). Season tickets cover a variety of options, but unless you are skiing 20 days or more, it will be tough make it financially viable. Best deals:
Family skiing buy one adult pass and one child 14/under gets the same pass for free. Passes for additional children in the family (14 and under) may be purchased for 50% of the listed August price. Child must be 14 or under on opening day, December 1, 2007
20-day pass there are deals for roughly $45/day if bought online in August, rising in price every month after that.
10-day pass if you can get to Teton Village in person buy a pass that works out at $49/day (August price). Not available after December 1.
The family skiing deal applies to nearly all seasons passes - including the two examples above. So by purchasing the 20-day or 10-day pass, you will also receive a free 20-day or 10-day kids pass included in the price.
There have been some reports of instructors and workers at other resorts going to the JHMR office and showing an ID or letter from the home resort to get a 50% JHMR ticket discount. Sure, go try that.
Jackson is fantastic for kids of all ages.
Ski School - Under 5's
Our child spent 2 weeks in the ski school at age 3, he was well looked after and had a great time. The ski school is one of the best run that I have seen. No serious chaos at registration each morning and there doesn't seem to be that mad afternoon rush either. You can sign up and pay before you get there by phone or over the net, therefore avoiding the whole ski school book in with the masses. Each child receives their own luggage locker so you can leave stuff there all week without having to lug it back and forth each day.
There is a dedicated supervisor to each age group so most mornings your child will see the same person then be handed personally to an instructor in the parent free zone. Our child had a couple of instructors over the 2 weeks but always saw familiar faces. His progression was fast and the smiles were big, this is testament to a great ski school.
Instructor - Child ratio. Fantastic, we often saw our little one on the carpet with 5 instructors to 3 kids. Also out on the hill he almost always had 2 instructors to himself. One in front and 1 behind. Jackson also has a great set up for the little kids so they don't have to stress about chair lifts. They use a ski-doo and tow the kids up the mountain. There is no waiting around for ages (like other resorts)and they run constantly. The areas that they ski down are well sheltered and set out like a mini terrain park with animal statues, creek crossings etc. This also keeps the general public away and gives the kids more space to move and concentrate with their instructor.
Food/drinks/rest time They have a selection of the typical kids food each day, so not the best but full of carbs to keep them going. Lots of hot chocolate, and within hours of being in the ski school the kids are really pumped about the water fountains and encouraged to drink constantly. They also have a sleep area and a quiet reading corner for the little ones and this keeps them separate from the bigger kids.
Instructor feedback and teaching style Each day you will be given full feedback and they fill out a card listing the achievements of the child. No punching holes in cards here, all the comments are directly related to your child. As for teaching style, they are a great lot of instructors with high abilities and great children skills from what we could see.
Teton Village is fairly small, so there is no problem walking. There is a shuttle that runs from the condos to the village itself. There are frequent buses from Teton Village to Jackson.
There is a massive parking area at the bas of the mountain that offers free parking, best is to get there early on weekends, week days no problem. The ticket office and lift base is a short stroll across the road.
- Critter Spotting The National Elk Refuge is just outside the town of Jackson. Every winter tens of thousands of elk stay there. With elk come coyotes, and lately wolves, to prey on them. You will often see moose beside the road, and sometimes on ski runs. If you take a tour into Old Faithful in Yellowstone you will see bison and probably deer. There are also critter spotting tours, which can be an excellent way to be taken to see animals. Wildlife Expeditions
- Resort Critter Spotting On a daily basis Moose will be seen around the resort and they tend to come down low with there young and feed beside the chalets. Do not approach and do not feed. Moose may look friendly but can be very nasty at times.
- Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone is a thermal area, with geysers (including Old Faithful), hot pools, mud pools and everything else. Depending on whether they have been banned or not (an ongoing saga) you can take snowmobile tours into Old Faithful and beyond. Check to see whether they will take you further, at least to Upper Geyser Basin. Lower Geyser Basin is even further. There are also snowcoach tours, but they do not satisfy the inner hoon. Yellowstone Official Site
- Grand Targhee Day Trips Grand Targhee is a smaller resort on the other side of the Teton Range. Famous for it's massive snowfall (on average about 30% more than Jackson Hole) it is uncrowded, and has some great wide open powder skiing. A bus leaves Jackson at 7.15am and Teton Village at 7.30am every day, getting to Targhee at opening. Return leaves at about 4pm. Cost is $73 including Grand Targhee lift ticket, $35 for bus only. Targhee also has cat skiing, and some wild backcountry - just off the back of Grand Targhee is where Jamie Pierre jumped 245 feet off a cliff into a huge snowpack (and landed on his head). Not recommended.
- Hockey Jackson has a local hockey team - the Jackson Moose - who play in the Snow King Center on Fridays and Saturday nights every two weeks. It ain't the NHL, but is good value and good dirty fun for $8 a person. Dress warm. Catch the Red or Green Bus Line.
There is a concierge in the basement of the Mangy Moose that will arrange bookings for activities.
There are restaurants in Teton Village and Jackson with a wide variety of cuisines.
No one delivers pizzas, or any other takeaway (takout in the local language) to the Teton Village condos. Bitter? Who? Me? There are times when you don't want to cook, and don't want to go out.
Bars & Entertainment
The Mangy Moose is an excellent bar with lots of interesting stuff hanging off the roof and walls. It was better in the olden days when they had a kangaroo skin labelled "Australian beef", as well as lots more much more interesting stuff. The Moose has been gentrified. There is also a restaurant attached, and a cheap cafe called the Moose's Belly downstairs for breakfast and lunch. The downstairs menu is available in the bar at night.
There are other bars and reataurants in the various hotels about the resort, and many bars in the town of Jackson. The Silver Dollar Bar and Million Dollar Cowboy Bar are worth a look, if only for the western kitsch.
There are ski and board shops in Teton Village. There are also a few tourist traps and a couple of grocery vendors with a very limited range.
Jackson is a proper town, so there are a range of proper shops as well as taxidermists, fishing, mountaineering and hunting shops and all the other typical tourist trappery galleries and jewelery shops. The Tom Mangelsen gallery, called Images of Nature, is worth a look for some truly amazing wildlife photography.
Albertsons, a ginormous supermarket, is on the Blue Bus route between Teton Village and Jackson. You can get anything here, including a home loan. There is a booze shop attached that has a larger (including Elvis Presley label wines - a bouquet reminiscent of deep fried peanut butter sandwiches with a finish that lets you know it has left the building) and cheaper range than the shop under the Mangy Moose.
Jackson's signature dish in huckleberry sauce, served with salad and fries
If you are staying in the condos and do not want to schlep your gear backwards and forwards every day lockers (with boot warmers if you are quick) are available in the basement of the main building. Even if you don't score a boot warmer the room is heated so your boots don't freeze.
Degree of Difficulty
There is a sign at the bottom of the Tram which can be summarised as "If you ski here you may die". They are not joking. A double black run at Jackson is a serious undertaking. A black run is likely to be as hard as, or harder than, any black run you have skied anywhere else. Treat run gradings here seriously. Be careful out there.
There are a couple of beginner chairs at the bottom, before the hill really starts. They are both (particularly Eagles Nest) rarely visited by experts unless someone hits Teewinot on the way from the Apres Vous lift to the rest of the hill. One problem with the beginner areas is that Jackson often gets a temperature inversion, and the base area and the lower parts of the mountain can be significantly colder than the upper parts of the mountain. The beginner areas are entirely within the cold part of the inversion, and can be very, very cold.
Jackson Hole is rarely considered a beginner mountain.
Despite Jackson's reputation as an Expert's paradise, it also has a number of fantastic and exceptionally wide groomers. These are mainly found off the Apres-Vous and Casper chairlifts and the Gondola, but it is possible for a strong intermediate skier to traverse and see much of the resort. There are no groomers from the top of the tram, but you can access the Rendezvous trail from the top of the Sublette Chair which ends at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl. You get to ski most of the vertical on groomers. The Gros Ventre trail is one of the world's great high speed hoots (until, while you are travelling at warp speed, a local overtakes you).
Yes. Jackson is a couple of miles wide (at least) with occasional groomed strips. The rest is off piste. Glades, bowls, chutes and cliffs. It has it all.
The terrain is humbling, to say the least. Many skiers' self assessment of their skills is recalibrated at Jackson. The Ski School does a roaring trade due to this.
The ski film company Teton Gravity Research is based in Teton Village, and Jackson is one of the few resorts with terrain considered extreme enough to film in-bounds.
Out of Bounds
No avalanche control is conducted beyond these gates, so when exiting the resort you must carry avalanche rescue equipment and have the knowledge to use it.
There is a network of cross country tracks on the valley floor. When you get high enough on the mountain, you can see that the outline of the track is the same as the bucking bronco logo of Jackson Hole & the Great State of Wyoming One unusual danger is the possibility of moose tracks (and possibly moose) on the trail. Moose tracks are even worse than human postholes.
Parks & Pipes
Yes. Big. Small. Medium. The usual Goldilocks collection of parks.
Bumps depend on how recently it has snowed. After a few days lots of runs develop bumps.
Rendezvous Bowl, at the top, is wide, open and steep. The Hobacks and Lower Faces are some of the best, consistent fall line runs around. There are many bowls and chutes and, when all that gets tracked out, there are many areas of gladed woods. A short hike will often reap rewards.
Get there early on a powder day as the locals are fast, rabid and know every inch of the mountain. Their methods of tracking out the powder are relentless.
The Apres Vous chair on the extreme skiers left of the resort is lower than most, and sheltered. The Bridger gondola is enclosed so that the wind does not matter on the way up, and you can drop into sheltered runs quickly. The Sweetwater Lift is low, in a valley and treed.
In fact in bad weather any lift apart from the Tram, Thunder and Sublette are pretty good.
Playing is prohibited. This is a serious resort. If you want to fart about on tubes and stuff the Red Bus will take you to Snow King resort.
Jackson Hole is in the Teton Range on the edge of the Snake River Valley. The valley is flat, and the mountains go straight up. It is an awesome site.
The beginner areas are on the valley floor, and the rest is on the mountain.
Jackson Hole was first found by non-indigenous folk in the late 18th - early 19th century. As with much of the west, it was first explored by trappers (many of them French). Jackson Hole was the site of a regular rendezvous of trappers and voyageurs. This is the origin of the name Rendezvous Peak inside the resort. Many of the resort runs and features are named after trappers and pioneers.
The natural beauty of the valley Jackson Hole has always been acknowledged. It is infested with Republican politicians like Cheney, who can afford to buy what they would deny plebs. Yellowstone, not far away, was declared the first National Park in the world by President Roosevelt, who was in the area checking out the scenery and shooting things.