Let’s cut to the chase: I’ve got 30 reasons why this should be your next ski trip.
I know what you’re thinking. "That’s a lot of reasons." You’re right. And they are all good.
2. Jackson Hole is named for being a 'hole' surrounded by four mountain ridges, one of which is the Teton Range, part of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a destination, with no nearby drive markets, unlike the many of the resorts of Colorado which pull from Denver, so it’s small, yet absolutely world-class.
3. The airport (JAC), which is a beautiful 'New West' building and has free Wi-Fi, is a mere 35-minute drive from the Four Seasons Resort in Teton Village. It’s the only airport in a U.S. National Park, which means it’s beautiful from the moment you land. It's also not hard to get a flight there from Chicago or Denver. Book a taxi to the hotel in advance, though — they’re hard to come by on busy days.
4. The Four Seasons is in the business of making sure guests are taken care of. So aside from beautiful rooms and inspiring common areas, it’s a pleasure dealing with every member of their staff you encounter.
5. The hotel’s Base Camp is your one stop for lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. The staff will also help you get your boots on every morning, and have your skis waiting out in the snow.
6. From Base Camp, the Bridger Gondola, Teewinot and Eagle’s Rest lifts are at most 15 ski-lengths away.
7. When you’re done skiing for the day, hot apple cider will be waiting for you. Should you forget, in the lobby you’ll find hot huckleberry malt cider.
8. Every afternoon between 3-6pm, s’mores and hot chocolate are served pool-side, which really means someone will bring them to you in the hot tub. Should you decide you want to make your own s'more, your robe will be handed to you from a heated closet. (Not sure what a s'more is? Click here.)
The Skiing and Snowboarding
9. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which is in Teton Village, 20 minutes away from the town of Jackson, was just ranked the #1 Overall North America Resort by SKI Magazine.
10. Jackson Hole gets some of the best snow in the west. It’s deep, consistent and reliable, and powder days aren’t out of the ordinary at all.
11. You might see a moose! We saw a mother and her calf three times in five days: lounging between two runs, resting in the forest, and walking down a piste.
12. The mountain is known for being steep, and includes the legendary Corbet’s Couloir, one of the most challenging runs in the world.
13. The lower part of the mountain is great for beginners, and a good half of the mountain is ski-able for intermediates.
14. Every morning there’s a free tour of the mountain at 9:30am, which helps you get acquainted with the area quickly.
15. Interestingly, on the way down the north side of the mountain, you ski right over the Teton fault, which after San Andreas, is one of the most active faults in the U.S.
17. If you feel like beginning your après session after freshening up, The Ascent Lounge will serve you excellent sushi as the sun sets.
The Food and Drink
19. Start your dinner with local (but exotic to you and me) charcuterie like Elk Sausage and Buffalo Jerky, move on to steak from nearby Idaho Falls, and end with a ridiculously tasty Cowboy Cookie (which was a chocolate chip cookie cooked in a skillet, natch) at the hotel’s Westbank Grill.
20. Take the Bridger Gondola to the top for dinner at Couloir, where exceptional food rivals the view as the main reason to go. They also serve an à la carte lunch, and yes, you may go in your ski boots.
21. Unless you’re from the American South, you may never have tried fried pickles. The Handle Bar serves them, and they are surprisingly really good.
22. Unexpectedly, some of the best Thai outside of Thailand is at Teton Thai. Given the long waits and the tiny, informal setting, take away (after a few hours at The Spur), and eat it next to a fire outside the hotel.
23. The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is legendary, not only for being a lot of fun, but also for changing very little since 1953 (when the 60-year-old bar burned in a fire, and was painstakingly restored).
And if that’s not enough…
24. In Jackson Hole is the National Elk Refuge, to which some 8,000 elk migrate every year — and have for at least the past 6,000. Take a wildlife safari, ideally with Tenley Thompson from the Four Seasons, who will drive you around Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge, serve you a fantastic packed lunch, and show you big horn sheep, deer, elk, bison, trumpeter swans, and if they can be found, wolves.
25. The Four Seasons has a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a resident astronomer. Book a session with him in the back of the hotel or in Grand Teton National Park, and he'll show you the sky over wine and cheese or hot chocolate and cookies.
26. To get a true feel for the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, borrow the hotel's Mercedes-Benz GL450, which is part of a test drive program offered to guests. Take it into Teton National Park, or drive it to go snowmobiling or dog-sledding. Or just take it to downtown Jackson to buy yourself some real cowboy boots.
27. Because of snow depth and consistency, Wyoming is the top snowmobiling destination in the U.S. A 90-minute drive away from Teton Village is Togwotee Mountain Lodge, a mecca for those who want to try it out as well as those who only go exclusively to snowmobile.
29. Also available at Togwotee are dog-sledding trips. While skimming across the snow in the most serene form imaginable, you’ll learn a new verb: to mush, as in, “I mushed (drove the sled that was pulled by) the dogs!” (from the French marché: to march).
28. Ten miles past Togwotee is the actual Continental Divide, cool for those who like standing on noteworthy lines. (Need a reminder of what that is? Click here.)
30. For those with a passion for art (or kids), the National Museum of Wildlife Art is captivating, inside and out.
Closing day is Sunday, April 6th. Maybe it's not too late for both of us to make a trip?