Now there’s a mantra I’m familiar with. Shamefully, traveling overseas doesn’t change those habits either despite all intentions to, you know, have a ‘break,’ or enjoy some ‘down time.’
So, to quench your snow envy I want to tell you about this place out west; two mountains, one ski resort, and within close proximity to the legendary Yellowstone National Park. Renowned for extreme terrain causing many to switch off the instant its name is mentioned with thoughts of ‘I’m nowhere near good enough’ and ‘you’re fricken joking right?!’
Just think, biggest continuous vertical in the US, lines so challenging you could be assumed crazy to tackle them, Corbetts Couloir (described by some as one of Americas scariest ski slope), 3000+ acres of gated back-country, cliff drop offs, expert chutes; surmised only for the most skilled skiers and snowboarders, oh – and possible nutters! To rub salt into that already gaping wound, this deemed unsuitable resort received another record breaking amount of snow this season. Yep, in excess of 500 inches on closing day, and the snow was still falling weeks after!
So, why am I telling you this you ask? Well, whilst the above is all true there is far more to this mountain story than most realise, and I am here to bring you all into the light. Besides, we are talking about ‘The Ski Resort’ deemed to be the BEST in North America as voted by SKI Magazine readers and Forbes for 2014.
Thus, it is with pleasure that I welcome you to the unsurpassable realm of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming, USA. A ski resort not only to be remembered for its steep and deep, but a place of sheer scenic beauty, and an acclaimed family ski resort also recently voted No.1 for its Terrain Variety, and No.1 for Character!
“There is Jackson Hole, and then there’s everywhere else” wrote one SKI reader.
Accordingly, it seems Jackson Holes commitment to all ability levels is as deep as the Tetons’ legendary snowpack, with 50% of its terrain being made up from beginner and intermediate trail. From teaching the basics to fine-tuning your techniques, the dream of learning the greens and crusing the blues is alive at Jackson Hole; trust me, I’ve skied it!
Exceeding my expectations with its myriad of mid mountain blues I found myself spoilt for choice when it came to single and double blue diamond runs with the place to be located, off the Bridger Gondola, Marmot and Casper Chairs. Here the trail is so wide you’ll feel lonely, and the sheer distance of them will bring on that all inviting burn. Venturing over a little more you will discover the surreal outlook off the Thunder chair where the 100 person Tram crosses right over head. The Amphitheater trail should not be missed, and after a few warm ups, you’ll be tackling dicks ditch, I just know it! Whilst marked a black run it’s a fun natural half pipe which you can ski or ride as mildly or aggressively as you feel. From small tots, to the undeniably big kid, Jackson Hole offers up an amazing playground which has to be seen to believe.
Furthermore, Apres Vous Mountain has a fine selection of learner’s terrain off the Teewinot Quad, which is possibly wider, milder, and less crowded than some of the other more well-known US ski resorts. When a client questioned me recently regarding taking their 6, 9, & 12 year old to Jackson Hole my response was, I wouldn’t hesitate to take my 3 & 4 year olds there to learn.
Cruising around this picturesque mountain the lushness of the woods have this overwhelming sense of seclusion, and the endless powder stashes which lay abundant off the groomed trail are reminders that you are somewhere great.
If your kids are into terrain parks then they will revel with joy upon entering Jackson Holes Burton ‘Stash Parks’, where the features are created from natural terrain, local wood, and all the creative assemblies which the surroundings have on offer.
Not surprising though, Jackson Hole makes everyone who skis it better, more confident, and more capable of exploring. True to its cowboy-meets-cosmopolitan style, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has tamed the wild Tetons’ into terrain accessible to all, no doubt!
For families there is The Kids Ranch, a state licensed childcare located in a ski in/ski out location at the front of the resort. This very modern facility is the perfect place for your kids to make new friends, enjoy fun activities, and further develop their ‘on snow’ abilities. Furthermore, what can only be described as a way to fast tracked progression, definitely consider enrolling the littlies into a ski or snowboarding camp, group or private lessons, and register them for the famous ‘kids night out’. This is a great chance to gain some freedom, thus giving parents an opportunity to also sample some of Jackson’s finest.
Personally I joined a woman’s steep n deep camp and meet the greatest bunch of woman I could have ever imagined. Along with having the absolute best 5 days on a mountain than I can honestly say I have ever experienced, and without a doubt walked away more competent and skilled at my sport, thanks to Justine and Kirsten, Instructors, from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Be armed with your camera though as you won’t believe the sites both on an off mountain. The outlook over Teton Village and Teton Nation Park is some of the most stunning countryside you will bare witness to, especially when there’s a dusting of white gold for as far as the eye can see. Then there’s Teton & Yellowstone National Parks and the promise of some up close and personal encounters with Wyoming’s amazing wildlife. Imagine, cross country skiing or snowmobiling through countryside and sighting moose, elk, wolves, bald eagles, and bison. Or taking a horse drawn sleigh ride through an elk herd numbering in the thousands; exhilarating!
Here at Jackson Apres is king and with so much to celebrate both Teton Village and Jackson Town are filled with exciting watering holes, clubs, and restaurants. A definite starter is the Mangy Moose, which has proven itself as a reliable pub institution housing great local bands, draught beer, and late nights. For something a little more sophisticated try the Lobby Lounge sushi or the Handle Bar gastro pub fare at the Four Seasons. Another winner is ‘Spur’ at Teton Mountain Lodge for a lively ‘after 5 Apres Ski’ Jackson style atmosphere; you will meet endless new friends!
With all that’s on offer, it’s probably no surprise to hear that Jackson Holes accommodation selection is also second to none! With everything from backpacker lodging through to the Four Diamond luxury properties Hotel Terra and Teton Mountain Lodge, Jackson has an option for every budget. Having stayed at Teton Mountain Lodge the cosy mountain luxury which this property exudes is both comforting and satisfying, without being over the top. The benefit of staying in a full service hotel also meant that I could prepare my own meals, or I could order in room service – nice! I doubt there is a hot tub anywhere else in Teton Village that can match the views from their 10 person roof top tub, absolutely spectacular, especially with a glass of vino in hand!
So, when next you hear mention of the infamous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, remember it for its overall No.1 status as being the BEST Ski Resort in North America, to include is status for terrain variation, luxury lodging, record breaking snowfall, and as a relaxed family friendly destination, no matter what your skill levels are. Cos really at the end of the day, that’s all many of us really need to know!
Top 10 Things for Kids at Jackson Hole
- Kids Ranch Ski/Snowboard Camp
- National Museum of Wildlife Art
- Aerial Tram to Corbett’s Cabin for waffles
- Snow coach tour of Yellowstone National Park
- Sleigh Ride through the National Elf Refuge
- Dog Sled to Granit Hot Springs
- Tubing at Snow King
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Ice Skating