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Skiing Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Updated on August 28, 2014
Beautiful sunset in Jackson Hole.
Beautiful sunset in Jackson Hole.

If given the choice, I would much rather be sitting on a beach with an umbrella cocktail in my hand than freezing my rear off flinging my body down a mountain and risking life and limb to swoosh through the snow. But, truly one of my favorite vacations in recent memory was a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Known for its proximity to Yellowstone, it is a bustling summer destination for families. But it is also reputed to have one of the most difficult ski mountains of any major destination in the States so it makes a great winter getaway. And with beautiful views, lots of lodging options and a host of other activities, this makes a week-long vacation seem like a lifetime - in a good way!

Getting to Jackson Hole

Currently, Jackson Hole has direct flights from seven US cities - Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles. If you don't live in one of those places, there are plenty of connecting flights to get you to the mountain in a flash! One of the best parts about coming into Jackson Hole is the incredible mountain view you will get from the airplane if it is a clear day.

The Jackson Hole Airport is about 15 minutes from the town of Jackson, one of the places that you can stay if you visit the area. Jackson has a lovely town square area with shops and restaurants, and there is also a small mountain in Jackson where you can ski. Mostly locals ski there, and the vacationers go to Teton Village where Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located. Getting to Teton Valley, where there are also luxury hotel options like the Four Seasons, from Jackson is an easy 20 minute drive.

There are many lodging options available as well - when I went skiing in Jackson Hole, I stayed with a group of friends at family between the city of Jackson and Teton Village in a beautiful home. The views were phenomenal and we were a comfortable distance from the town and the ski mountain.

Skiing in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is great for two kinds of skiiers, beginners and advanced. There are not really a lot of runs in between. This mountain is known for its difficulty, but, as a beginner, I found that there are plenty of runs for those just starting out.

The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village has plenty of high-quality ski equipment to rent so you don't have to haul your gear from home. Each rental place will store your stuff for a fee and your skis, poles and boots will be waiting for you each day at the bottom of the mountain!

When I went to Teton Village, I was worried about ski lessons and whether or not I would be stuck in a kids class like some type of giant who got held back in ski school. But, they offer plenty of adult classes at a really reasonable price - $128 for a full day of lessons, your lift ticket (which will only get you on the beginner lifts) and your rentals for the day!

There are additional lessons for more advanced skiers, but after my instructor had to tackle me to the ground to prevent me from plowing into a group of small children, I stuck with the beginner class.

View from the Apres Vous ski lift at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
View from the Apres Vous ski lift at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Other Activities in Jackson Hole

Even though Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are typically a summer destination, there are fun tours during the winter as well that feature natural landmarks like Old Faithful. You can go by Expedition, like my group did (hello, heated seats!) or a snowmobile, which is obviously for crazy people.

Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dogsledding and relaxing by the fire with a hot toddy (my personal favorite!) are all options of things to do when you are not tearing up the slopes.

Another adventure I went on was the take a sleigh out to the National Elk Refuge, which is a great learning experience and a chance to get to see these majestic animals up close. And learn why they smell so bad - it has to do with peeing on their own chests. Don't ask.

A beautiful elk at the National Elk Refuge
A beautiful elk at the National Elk Refuge

Dining in Jackson Hole

I will only talk about a few of the places where I actually went to eat, but there are plenty of options in Teton Village and in the city of Jackson. Just don't try the Mexican food, please. I'm from Texas and don't say I didn't warn y'all!!

Mangy Moose - This restaurant, located in Teton Village, does a strong menu of trumped up American comfort favorites (think truffle fries and buffalo meatloaf.) The half pound burgers from local, grass-fed beef and the house smoked salmon bruschetta are both not to be missed! It is a casual place and pretty kid-friendly.

Snakeriver Brewpub - This casual brewpub has a great local flavor, not to mention to locally-brewed beer is fun to try after a full day of skiing! They have all the great pub favorite like a pulled pork sandwich or buffalo chicken sandwich, and they make most everything in house.

The Peak at the Four Seasons

This ski-in, ski-out location is great for a quick snack and cocktail after you are done for the day, but before you want to get in your car for the trek back home. Expect a good selection of interesting salads, soups and sandwiches. You might also catch a glimpse of Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart who own property nearby!!

Visit Jackson Hole and this is your view every night!!

Breathtaking sunset in Jackson Hole
Breathtaking sunset in Jackson Hole

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