“I skied Cody today—I’d love to take you up there sometime” may be the most overused pickup line in Jackson’s bars. But if you’re new to the area, it’s worth falling for. (Better yet, just pretend.) Why? With the exception of Whistler Blackcomb, no other resort comes close to matching Jackson Hole for easy access to back- and sidecountry lines. So making friends is key. Start easy with a lap on Four Pines out of the Rock Springs gate. The snowpack is usually safer there because it sees plenty of traffic. Once you’re dialed, humor your Jackson pickup artist and go to Cody Peak. Central Couloir’s 55-degree pitch and mandatory 40-footer at the exit make it as committing as any line in the state.
When You Go…
Eight beacons will be buried at the Jackson Hole Beacon Training Park so you can practice your search-and-rescue skills.
Pick up the Jackson Hole Ski Atlas, a book of black-and-white aerial photographs to use as a general guide. [$15, available locally at Skinny Skis or Wilson Backcountry Sports]
Best of the Rest
4. Vail, CO