Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming, has changed over the years. It used to be a valuable summer hunting ground for the Arapaho, Sioux, Ute, Cheyenne, and Shoshone Indians. The U.S. acquired the area from France in 1803, and it was a frontier town for the nineteenth century. Today, the town sprawls along Broadway, then turns north up Highway 26. Somewhat oddly, it is graced with more millionaires than any other backcountry zip code in the U.S. Ironically, it is most popular in summer when the trailer-home hoards go on bumper-to-bumper summer migration to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Winter is the off-season, which makes it easy to find accommodation and services. The town is a 15-minute drive from the mountain. At the base of the mountain is Teton Village, a small purpose-built complex. If you're here to ride hard, stay here.
The Jackson Hole Ski Area sits astride some of the most epic mountains in North America, ascending 4,139 feet from the flats of Jackson and the Snake River to the peaks of Rendezvous Mountain. Jackson Hole lays claim to having the largest continuous vertical drop in the U.S. The resort consists of two peaks, both accessed from Teton Village: Après Vous, or Lower Mountain, is neatly separated from the mega double diamonds of Rendezvous Mountain. While Après Vous, or Lower Mountain won't enthrall those seeking steeps, it's an excellent learner and intermediate playground with uncrowded lifts and some steep but legal out of bounds in Saratoga Bowl. Rendezvous Mountain is split; the top half is an extreme snowboarders' Mecca but becomes more manageable lower down.
Jackson Hole's season is shorter than some areas because of the low base elevation, but it still gets around 32 feet of good, fluffy snow each season. Most of the slopes are north-facing and there are plenty of woods to find late powder stashes.
Jackson Hole Essentials
Web Site: www.jacksonhole.com/skiing
Mountain information: 307-733-2292
Snow Report: 307-733-2291
By plane: The Jackson Hole Airport is located nine miles north of Jackson and 19 miles from the resort. There are frequent shuttles from the airport to Jackson.
By car: From Salt Lake City, head north on Interstate 15 to Highway 26. Cross the Teton Pass on Highway 31 and follow the signs for Jackson Hole or Teton Village.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication