Everything You Need to Know About Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole is aptly nicknamed “The Big One”, given it’s gnarly reputation for steep challenging terrain (read: Corbet’s Couloir). A 100 passenger aerial tram, passes over the aforementioned couloir, providing a spectacle for those within and an added incentive not to crash from anyone brave enough to attempt the notorious run.
It’s unsurprising then that Jackson has arguably some of the most challenging terrain in all of North America, 50% of it designated for experts, while 40% of trails are suited to intermediate skiers and a mere 10% of trails skiable by beginners. 1261m of vertical and 1000 hectares of terrain are sure to satisfy even the most hard charging skier, whilst an additional 1200+ hectares are available to backcountry enthusiasts via the resorts backcountry gate system.
Insider Ski and Snowboard Tips
While Jackson does truly offer delivers a big mountain skiing experience, both in resort and the gate-accessed back country, the variety of terrain means it also has something for everyone, from kids and first timers, to intermediates who like long, mellow groomers.
While Jackson Hole’s inbounds terrain is incredible, the lure of its backcountry has been calling skiers and boarders for decades. Getting into the backcountry is something any advanced skier/boarder needs to do when visiting Jackson, but make sure you have an experienced guide who knows the place well. Jackson has a number of gates from the resort into the backcountry which are open when patrol deem conditions safe so access is pretty easy. That said you need to be equipped with avalanche packs, transceivers and beacons and you can book guides through the resort. A guide will not only ensure you find the best snow, but before you pass through a gate they will brief you on how to use the equipment, the snow pack conditions, how slides happen and what you need to be aware of when skiing outside of the resort. Having said that, you don’t need to be a cliff-jumping expert out here and the terrain is fun – you just need to be aware of where you are skiing.
United, Delta and American airlines fly into Jackson Hole, with services from LA and San Francisco. If you’re on a road trip, Jackson is a 14-hour drive from Tahoe, 10 hours from Aspen and 4.5 hours’ from Salt Lake City.
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is the only commercial airport in the United States located within a National Park (i.e., Grand Teton). Upon arrival at the airport, you are an easy 30-minute drive to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort by car, shuttle, taxi or rental car. Once you are rooted in the valley, a public bus system (START) allows for efficient and affordable travel to and from the town of Jackson and Teton Village. Rental car agencies are plentiful, as are taxi services.
Being a gateway to one of the world’s most famous national parks, Yellowstone has many benefits, one of them being an incredible choice of lodging. From luxury resorts with every amenity you can think of, to friendly locally run hotels to bunkhouses, Jackson has lodging for every budget. Whether you choose to stay slopeside in Teton Village for winter convenience or downtown immersed in the hustle and bustle of a western resort town, both will deliver memorable experiences.
Restaurants & Après
Be ready to expect the unexpected while dining out in Jackson Hole, where quality and passion drive a first-class culinary experience. A thriving farm-to-table scene and progressive chef community work to bring the best possible dishes for all food lovers. Named one of America’s 5 New Foodie Cities for 2014 by Wine Enthusiast, Jackson Hole has an abundance of dining options to satisfy your hunger, whether you’re in the mood for apres-ski nachos, a locally sourced bison tenderloin or a classic crème de menthe martini to warm every ounce of your body. Look for regional specialties like trout, elk and bison, but also expect progressive vegetarian dishes, sushi, Thai, Indian and more.
There are plenty of options in Teton Village with the infamous Mangy Moose a must, offering good “pub food” and live music at après after 9pm on weekends. We also recommend The Q Roadhouse and Brewery, located between the resort and town, which has well-priced comfort food and a vast array of craft beers brewed on premises. There are plenty of eating options in town, ranging from Japanese to steakhouses to fine dining. However, for a full-on cowboy vibe, pull up a saddle at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where you can have an elk burger and a beer for $20.
Jackson Hole also has something for every nocturnal creature. Go dancing or take in some live music, meet friends for drinks and a bite or see a play. Jackson offers plenty of nightlife seven nights a week.
Non Skiing Activities
For families there are plenty of things for the kids to do off snow, including Ice skating in the town square and Elk Sleigh rides. It’s also worth checking out the snow tubing and the new coaster at Snow King resort which is the local mountain right in town. However, it is worth taking some time off snow and checking out the National Elk Refuge and Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks on a wildlife tour. Not only is the landscape incredibly beautiful, but it is an opportunity to see elk, moose, deer and bison up close. You may even run into a wolf or two.