For the Love of Mountains
|The pink-hued glow of dusk as night falls on the clock tower at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Nathan Borchelt)|
You can spend
well, as much as you like while at Jackson Holetop-notch accommodations, high-end meals, the latest gear
all the haute-culture amenities are there if you need them (or just want to live it up). But you can easily get by on good, inexpensive Thai meals and a $30 motel room in town, which should let you to funnel all your other green into tearing up the mountain's endless white horizons.
Getting There and Getting Around
Jackson Hole lies on the western edge of Wyoming inside the Snake River Valley. The town itself is ten miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and 57 miles from the south entrance of Yellowstone. Drive northeast from Salt Lake City for five hours and you're there.
Daily, non-stop fights are available from Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Denver, and Salt Lake City, with weekly non-stop service from Atlanta, Newark, and Dallas. It's a ten-minute drive from the Jackson airport to town, and a 12-mile drive via Highway 390 and Highway 22 from town to Teton Village. All Trans (307.733.3135) offers transportation to and from the airport. The airport also has several car rental options. The Teton Mountain's Central Reservation Center (800.443.6931; www.jhsnow.com) can make all arrangements.
Getting to and from the town and the resort is fairly simple as well. Taxis are available, and the local bus service departs in front of the clock tower every half-hour for a nominal $3 fee (return trips back to the village from Town Square cost the same, but departure times vary, so check the posted signs upon disembarking).
New as of September 2002, the Teton Mountain Lodge (3385 West Village Drive; 307.734.7111; www.tetonlodge.com; lodge rooms and studios from $141 to $369; one-bedroom suites from $375 to $725) at Teton Village has become the benchmark for all future resort lodging, thanks in large part to Rob DesLauriers, owner and operator of the Extreme Team Advanced Ski Clinic who skied professionally for The North Face and Salomon, and stars in over 25 ski films. He designed Teton Mountain Lodge to fill a niche missing at Jackson Hole, and he's largely succeeded. The 80-room slope-side luxury condo-hotel offers both rooms and suites (complete with full kitchens, marble-surface bars, stone fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, fold-out beds, and genuinely comfortable pull-out couches) that can be linked up to adjoining rooms to accommodate parties of various sizes. Free access to indoor and outdoor heated pools and hot tubs is included, and massage and other traditional spa trappings are also available.
Teton Village also features less expensive places to stay. No nonsense ski-in/ski-out rooms in Hostel X (307.733.3415; www.hostelx.com) start at $52 per night for two people, and $65 per night for three or four. There are several other medium-range options available throughout Teton Village, and downtown is filled with a variety of no-frills hotels and motels.
On the other end of the spectrum is the recently opened Four Seasons Resort (307.734.5040; www.fourseasons.com/jacksonhole), a 125-room slope-side luxury hotel with 17 penthouse suites overlooking the slopes, including a private health club and spa, a 40-unit Residency Club, the Westbank Grill, the Peak Bar, and damn near anything else you'd need. Rooms start at $475 (packages available).
Contact Teton Mountain's Central Reservation Center (800.443.6931; www.jhsnow.com) to find a place to stay, in town or at the resort, high-end or economy class.
Where to Eat
One of the best deals in the village is Cascade Grill House, a short walk from the Bridger Gondola underneath the Teton Mountain Lodge. The prices are reasonable (we spent as much money for lunch at the restaurant near the Casper Bowl Lift as we did at Cascade, and got far better meals), and the food is remarkable. Chief attractions from the pub menu include the mahi tuna steak sandwich with beer-battered onion rings, the winter salad with roast duck, and (of course) whatever local brew is on tap. Prices on the dinner menu jump considerably, but if the quality of the pub food is any indication, you get your money's worth. They also have a good barista's breakfast menu. Money-conscious visitors, meanwhile, can make a good meal out of the $5 deal from The Teton Club, located opposite the Village clock tower: a spicy Polish sausage and a bottled beer tasted good enough to order a second.
In Jackson, your options are more varied. On the higher end, Old Yellowstone Garage (175 Center Street, 307.734.6161) a deceptively named, classy joint has amazing Italian dishes and an all-you-can-eat Sunday pizza night that demands reservations well in advance. Meat lovers, meanwhile, should head for The Gun Barrel Steak and Game House, (862 W. Broadway; 307.733.3287) which makes the most of the town's neighboring wildlife. Housed in a former taxidermy museum, the menu includes such fare as elk, buffalo, and wild bull (along with the more traditional rib-eye and New York strip steaks). Teton Thai (135n N. Cache Drive; 307.733.0022) and Pica's Mexican Taqueria (1160 Alpine Way; 307.734.4457), meanwhile, give you a good dose of surprisingly good ethnic spice that won't break your wallet. Bubba's Bar-B-Que Grill (515 W Broadway) has some of the best babyback ribs around, and carries a legit reputation for mean breakfastsexpect a wait.
In Teton Village, The Mangy Moose (307.733.9779; mangymoose.net) is the ski-bum's hangout, a dark, densely populated, well-stocked bar with an impressive, near-nightly array of some of the best in live music (the booking agent plays no favorites: rock, reggae, country, folk, and hip-hop are represented). The food, the same served from the restaurant above the pub, is also quite good. Try the game sausage or the buffalo meatloaf with spicy chipolte sauce and mashed sweet potatoes.
In Jackson, head to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (25 N. Cache Drive; 307.733.2207; $3 to $5 cover) to plop down on one of the bar's saddles. When they get uncomfortable (and they will), join the other tourists on the dance floor, or try to con a local into teaching you the Wyoming two-step. Other pubs surround the Town Square region of Jackson. Follow your bar-hopping instinct.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication