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Jackson Hole resort guide

If you want to embrace your wild side, Jackson Hole is a particularly great choice for experts, with ferocious steep terrain, deep powder and a great snow record, all brought to you with a charming cowboy twist.

If you are after great skiing combined with cowboy heritage and mesmerising scenery and wildlife, then Jackson Hole is the place to go. This wonderful, unspoiled Wild West town is home to some thrilling steep terrain including one of the US’s largest verticals, deep powder, and a superb snow record.

The town of Jackson itself is lively and interesting, with wooden sidewalks, cowboy saloons and classic western restaurants and bars. All in all, this is a wonderful destination for skiing experts and country-music fans. It’s actually busier in the summer than the winter, and one of the benefits of this is that prices are lower for skiing trade. The town is a 15-minute drive from the base of the slopes, which can be accessed from Teton Village, the lift-base. Experts will absolutely love the skiing here, whilst intermediates and beginners will feel slightly more restricted (unless they’re feeling brave).

Resorts facts and figures

Resort altitude: 1925m (6311 feet)
Highest point: 3185m (10450 feet)
Vertical drop: 1261m (4139 feet)(
Ski areas: Jackson Hole (Rendezvous and Apres Vous mountains) with alternative passes available for Grand Targhee and Snow King Mountain
Pistes: 116
Skiable acres: 2,500 acres (plus over 3000 acres of backcountry terrain)
Lifts: 12
Best for: Advanced and experts who love big steeps and deep powder

On the mountain

Steep chutes, severe bowls, untracked backcountry and deep powder – this is what Jackson Hole is all about. That said, intermediates will find some glorious groomed runs which are often deserted and beginners the easy slopes are close to the base.

Apres Vous mountain has some fabulous blue runs to enjoy, and gentler blacks for more confident intermediates to aspire to – it is worth getting local advice on which blacks are less severe for mid-level skiers. For beginners, there's a cluster of easy runs near the lift-base, and some easily accessible blue trails to progress.

Rendezvous mountain is virtually completely “black”, and famous Corbet’s Couloir starts with a heart-stopping drop-in that ranges from 3-9 meters depending on snow conditions. There is a lot more to Jackson than Corbet’s though and experts will also delight in the tree runs, open bowls and bumps, even before they start hiking or traversing into the backcountry. Jackson’s open gate policy is more akin to the European approach though and a guide is essential to make the most of the area – and to do so in safety.

If it hasn’t snowed for a few days, Grand Targhee is just a short drive away and well worth the visit if fresh powder are what you came for. This tiny resort is a snow magnet and your best chance of finding fresh tracks if Jackson is tracked out.

Because of the extraordinary terrain at Jackson Hole, as well as normal ski schools, there are specific camps available for ‘steep and deep’, as well as guides who can take you deep into the backcountry. For children, there are some easy runs, and the ‘Kids’ Ranch’ looks after children from 3-17 years old.

There are a few options for lunch on the mountain but it would be fair to say Jackson is a better mountain for skiers than for “lunchers”. Couloir serves contemporary western cuisine and offers a fine dining experience from a heated outdoor deck – lovely. On Rendezous there are various serving station offering fresh soups and salads, hand-carved roasts and barbecues. For pizza and hot dogs, head to Headwall Pizza & Dog House, and for waffles and fabulous views, try Casper restaurant at the base of the Casper Chairlift.

Teton Village and town of Jackson

Teton Village is at the base of the ski area and is the most convenient place to stay from a skiing perspective. A range of accommodation is on offer to suit most tastes. You can find some of North America’s most lively après-ski at the Mangy Moose. For a wider choice of restaurants and saloon bars, you may want to head into Jackson itself where the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar has saddles as bar stools and there are plenty of places to enjoy live Country and Western, pool tables, card games and steaks of epic proportions. If you find yourself feeling a little “cowboy weary”, there are plenty of other options from seafood and tapas, to Asian, Italian and South American cuisine.

Other than skiing and nightlife, there are 40 odd galleries and lots of shops to explore in Jackson Town. A snowmobile tour of the world famous Yellowstone National Park, about 100km away, is well worth the trip and a wonderful way of enjoying the geothermal features and seeing dramatic wildlife including bears, bison and elk.

Jackson Hole insider tips

  • Don’t miss out on après-ski in the Mangy Moose – one of the best places in the US to party post skiing!
  • Corbet’s Couloir is arguably the most famous ski run in the world and a great test of whether you are a genuine “expert”. Admittedly the drop can vary hugely depending on the snow.
  • Dogsledding is a great way to get to Old Faithful – the first geyser in the Yellowstone National Park. The journey there can be as impressive as the destination.
  • If fresh tracks are what you seek, consider snowcat skiing in Grand Targhee. Full or half days are available.
  • If you thought fresh tracks were just for skiing, think again. The Togwatee Lodge offers superb snowmobiling adventures, both on trails and in fresh powder.
  • If it snows while you are there, head for the Hobacks – straight down powder lines all the way to the bottom!
  • Snowking Resort is actually in Jackson town and you can ski in the moonlight if you don’t feel as though you have done enough during the day.
  • Be sure to go dancing in the Million Dollar Cowboy – proper cowboy style!
  • The wildlife is as much of an attraction as the skiing – with a bit of luck you can see bison, elk, moose, eagles and even bears.

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