An expert guide to Jackson Hole ski vacations

jackson hole

Until the mid-1980s, few people had heard of the cult Jackson Hole ski area. Tucked away in the upper left corner of Wyoming, with a backdrop of the Teton Range, it is now one of North America’s premier resorts.

Though originally famous for its difficult terrain, today Jackson Hole has many facilities, lifts and terrain aimed at intermediates, families and beginners.

Stay up-to-date with essential resort facts below, and scroll down for our insider guide to a day on the slopes, expert ratings and advice. For more Jackson Hole inspiration, check out our guides to the best resort accommodations, restaurants, and après ski.

Inside the resort

The resort valley, named for Virginia trapper David Edward Jackson, runs from Hoback Junction in the south to Jackson Lake and Togwotee Pass in the north. It’s remote and wild, with a rich variety of wildlife (including moose, elk, coyote, the odd wolf, and even bald eagles).

When Paul McCollister opened the ski area in 1965, he called it Jackson Hole, now Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Confusingly, there’s also a cowboy town called Jackson 12 miles southeast.

The ski area resort, known as Teton Village, is a horseshoe-shaped community of retail, lodging, and resort administrative offices planted snugly at the base of the ski area, next door to the resort’s iconic red aerial tram (the American name of a cable car) – where you might occasionally see a wandering moose – and the Bridger Gondola. The US has very few cable cars, and the original tram was installed by resort founder Paul McCollister to help create a European feel.

Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole

You can walk just about everywhere in Teton Village, and there are enough restaurants for you to try a different one every night. The nearby town of Jackson has an authentic cowboy feel, is livelier, and boasts some fine dining choices too.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is made up of two mountains. Rendezvous provides the majority of powderkeg runs, while Apres Vous has more accessible runs. While Jackson Hole is popular as an expert resort, intermediates are catered for with easier terrain, including blue runs, accessed primarily by the Sweetwater Gondola and Teton and Casper chairlifts.

New for 2022/23, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is replacing its Thunder quad chairlift on Rendezvous Mountain with a faster, detachable quad chairlift. The speed of the new lift is double that of the original Thunder and will cut travel time in half, to just over three and a half minutes.

Jackson Hole also has beginner appeal, including a dedicated beginner area accessible from the Solitude Station Learning Center at the middle station of the Sweetwater Gondola, which houses a ski school, rental shop, and restaurants.

On the slopes

The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area consists of two mountains. Rendezvous provides the majority of powderkeg runs, while Apres Vous has more accessible runs. Collectively (but not counting the extensive hinterland) the two mountains share 2,500 acres of inland terrain, with a vertical drop of 1,260m, one of the largest in the United States.

The Jackson Hole trail map has 133 marked trails: 50% are expert, 40% intermediate, and 10% beginner. A good rule of thumb is that skiers and snowboarders who want the more challenging runs (including the legendary Corbet’s Couloir, if only for a glimpse over the edge) should focus on the Tram to access Rendezvous mountain. Beginners and intermediates are better off using the Sweetwater Gondola to enjoy the exhilarating rides down Apres Vous Mountain.

That doesn’t mean experts won’t enjoy plenty of challenging terrain on Apres Vous, or that there’s nothing on Rendezvous for confident intermediates. They might be tempted – if not by Corbet himself – by Jackson’s signature slides, which are very doable in good snow conditions. The Cirque, on the shoulder between Rendezvous and Apres Vous and reached via the Tensleep Bowl, is a good place to start, with steep drops like Snagtree, Downhill and Broadway. Nearby are Paint Brush, Tower Three Chute and Expert Chutes, which will put the experts to the test.

New for 2022/23, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is replacing its Thunder quad chairlift on Rendezvous Mountain with a faster, detachable quad chairlift. The speed of the new lift is double that of the original Thunder and will cut travel time in half, to just over three and a half minutes.

expert jackson hole - sylvain cochard

expert jackson hole – sylvain cochard

Rendezvous Mountain is also the gateway to the Hobacks, a long, expansive area dedicated to undeveloped terrain. In addition to the magnificent hiking terrain at the foot of Cody Peak outside the ski area, the Hobacks were the showpiece – until the resort made the impressive decision in 1999 to open up vast amounts of backcountry through scattered gated entrances. along the border of the resort.

The open gate system in the backcountry accesses more than 3,500 acres, primarily in Bridger-Teton National Forest (accessed through the Rendezvous Bowl) and also in Grand Teton National Park. Although Jackson Hole has only 13 lifts in the field, they serve a huge variety of terrain. The resort’s guide service is a good option for advanced skiers and riders who want to discover off-the-beaten-path trails, secret trails, and the best snow conditions Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has to offer.

While the resort has a reputation for challenging runs, there are plenty of easy options as well, and the resort is determined to give the runs a more in-between appeal. Beginner and intermediate trails make up half the terrain, and the resort says its novice/expert terrain acreage — 1,250 acres — is greater than the total coverage of many ski resorts.

The Eagles Rest quad chairlift provides access to the beginners area. It is also accessible from the Solitude Station Learning Center at the middle station of the Sweetwater Gondola, which houses a ski school, rental shop and restaurants.

There are four Burton Stash terrain parks for beginner through advanced, plus two more terrain parks. These are scattered on the Apres Vous mountain. Other activities available around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort include snowmobiling, cross country trails, heliskiing, tubing and dog sledding.

Who should go?

Though there are options for beginners and intermediates, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort does a great job of projecting an image of swashbuckling, enhanced by images of daredevils jumping into the resort’s signature ride, Corbet’s Couloir. For the less daring, there are also a huge amount of steep and challenging slopes that are easier to access. Those looking for a ski vacation across the pond with a true Wild West feel this is one of the best resorts, where Jackson’s town streets are lined with wooden sidewalks, cowboy saloons and pool halls .

Know before you go

Essential information


Important:
THIS

International travelers traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are now subject to enhanced security requirements. The online completion and approval of ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), along with payment of the fee, is mandatory before travel for all travelers in the Visa Waiver Program. For full details, be sure to visit the official website at esta.cbp.dhs.gov

British Consulate General in San Francisco: +1 415 617 1300; 1 Sansome St Suite 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

Emergency Services: dial 911

Touristic office: Visit jacksonhole.com, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Tourist Board’s website, or use the JH Insider app for weather reports, lift status, webcams, traffic details, and local event listings. Pick up maps, flyers, and other information from the office in downtown Teton Village at the trolley base station.

The basics

Currency: US Dollar ($)

Area code: To call the UK, dial 011 44 ​​followed by the number, but release ‘0’

Time difference: -7 hours

Local laws and etiquette

Taxis expect a 10-15% tip; restaurants expect 15-20 percent of the total before local taxes (6.25 percent). Some restaurants require a 20% tip; always check your account.

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