Jackson Hole ski resort
About Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole has perhaps the most interesting history of any ski resort.
Built as the American answer to Chamonix or St Anton, Jackson Hole rejected the glitz and glamour image of skiing and focused on two things – traditional Western hospitality (emanating from the charming local town of Jackson itself, 19km/12 miles away) and quality, exciting terrain.
Over the past decade though, the changes have begun to set in. Comfortable condos have appeared at the base of the slopes and an ever-growing onus on family facilities is replacing the grungy bars and restaurants that were former haunts of the serious skier crowd. Additionally the resort now has an increasing ‘green’ focus, being powered by 100% renewable energy, and running a scheme that sees several of its restaurants contributing 1% of their profits to environmental schemes. While these are undeniably good things, it illustrates how the resort is rapidly evolving and maturing.
Of course despite this widening of its appeal, Jackson Hole’s tough stuff is still there in abundance, happy, carefree borders still bounce down steep slopes and the iconic aerial tram, capable of carrying 100 passengers 1,262m (4,139ft) up the mountain in nine minutes, is still running. Jackson Hole will continue to evolve, but will inevitable maintain its biggest draw – those incredible slopes.
Jackson Hole is located in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, within the Teton Mountain Range to the south of Yellowstone National Park in the USA.
On the slopes
Jackson Hole has a deserved reputation for some of the toughest skiing in North America; but there is plenty to entertain skiers of all standards. Even complete beginners have fine nursery slopes and a highly regarded ski school to teach them.
The ski area is based on Rendezvous Mountain, home of the famed and feared Corbet’s Couloir, with its vertical drop-in, leading to a 50° run-out slope. It is only open when conditions are right and is not recommended unless the skier has been advised they are capable of surviving it, intact, by a previous conqueror.
It’s far better to enjoy one of the many great runs on Rendezvous – the Cheyenne, Laramie and Tensleep bowls are high on the list. Off-piste skiing and boarding (unpatrolled) is also offered in Jackson Hole’s backcountry, where it is sensible to head out within a guided group.
Freestylers have plenty of options with six terrain parks (four of which are environmentally friendly Burton Stash Parks) and a halfpipe to explore. Cross-country skiers can also make use of the wide choice of routes around the resort and in neighbouring areas.
Snowfall and skiing conditions are relatively reliable in Jackson Hole, despite its comparatively low altitude and sunny slopes. The ski season in Jackson Hole runs from the end of November until early April.