If you’ve never skied Jackson on a powder day, when the bombs are blasting and the tram maze barely contains the locals’ ravenous appetites, you need to check your priorities. “Jackson Hole is a must for serious skiers,” raves one reader. Moving up three spots this year, the Big One ranks an unsurprising No. 1 in Challenge for runs like Tower 3, Alta Chutes, Expert Chutes, and Corbet’s Couloir. The Tetons snag huge storms (earning No. 7 in Snow) and offer staggering views (No. 6 in Scenery) that can be enjoyed from the windows of any luxury hotel of your choosing.
Of course, all of this wonderfulness also means long lift lines (which may be alleviated by no longer being on the Ikon Base Pass this season) and a love/hate relationship between locals and tourists, meaning the locals love to hate them. “I so wish that I was a ‘bro’ so I could be worthy of skiing their mountain,” carps one such tourist. Readers also grumble that it’s expensive (No. 23 in Value), hard to get to (No. 23 in Travel Ease), and not well-groomed (No. 29). But, hey, this is Jackson Hole, people. Terrain like this comes at a price. — Kim Beekman
2021 Reader Resort Ranking of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: No. 13 in the West
- ON-HILL RESTAURANT: A hot, buttery waffle at the cozy Corbet’s Cabin at the top of the Tram is a must. (The Tram will continue to run this season, though at lower capacity due to COVID-19.)
- BRAGGING RIGHTS: Paintbrush, a steep, cliffy, overlooked run tucked underneath the Laramie Traverse off Thunder, is always soft or chalky.
Catch up on No. 14 in the West: Vail, Colo.
Check out who beat Jackson Hole this year: No. 12 in the West announced on Oct. 19, 2020
Jackson Hole’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 16th in the West
Call it the Ikon effect. When a popular, influential resort such as Jackson Hole teams up with a popular, influential pass product such as the Ikon Pass, there’s backlash. Couple that with a moderate snow year in 2017-18, and there’s your No. 16, a lower ranking than this iconic mountain deserves. Numbers aside, Jackson is a bucket-list destination for a reason, and none of those reasons have changed. Boasting a No. 2 rank in Challenge, this is where skiers go to test themselves. (“You want steep? Go to Jackson Hole. You want steeper? Join the Air Force!”)
No one can deny the amount of black and double-black terrain here, and that’s not scratching the surface of what’s on tap in the Hobacks. Contrary to popular belief, there’s also plenty for intermediates off the Bridger Gondola as well as on Après Vous Mountain. That hardcore reputation has also forced a low Family ranking (No. 30), but the debut last season of the mid-mountain Solitude Station Learning Center aims to counter that. The one-stop-shop offers ski school families a place to get signed up, suited up, and ready for the slopes in a welcoming environment.
The resort gets dinged for Service (No. 34) and Local Flavor (No. 31), but one need only drive into Jackson for a taste of Western hospitality and a great night out. (“Endless supply of great bars and restaurants.”) When it comes to Ikon, we’d prefer to be optimistic going into this season. As one reader sums up, “Though fraught with new Ikon Pass challenges, Jackson Hole is still the best mountain in North America for snow, terrain, challenge, and vibe!” — Samantha Berman
- BEST BREAKFAST: Go for anything fresh-baked at Persephone, a local favorite French bake shop, and you won’t be sorry.
- SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE: Whether you’re an expert or not, ride the tram to Corbet’s Cabin for fresh-baked waffles and amazing views. You can always ride it back down.
- FAMILY EXPERIENCE: Bundle up for a scenic sleigh ride amid majestic elk and bighorn sheep at the National Elk Refuge.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Stepping into the Big Red tram at the base of Jackson Hole, it’s hard not get a certain child-like sense of awe. And for good reason. Being swept up over 4,100 vertical feet at an inspiring rate over breathtaking views and iconic runs can be exhilarating, not to mention what happens when you get out.
With an expansive 2,500 acres of terrain at your feet, Jackson offers a unique sense of adventure with some of the most steep and challenging terrain in the region. While already known for its adrenaline-inducing fall lines including the infamous Corbet’s Couloir and the Alta Chutes, Jackson has turned some attention recently to enabling skiers of all abilities and raising the next generation of world-class shredders.
Beginner and family skiing both get a boost this year with the grand opening of the Solitude Station lodge, which acts as the new home of the Mountain Sports School, as well as offering new rental and dining facilities. Located at the mid-station of the Sweetwater Gondola and a brief two-minute ride from the base, it’s the perfect base camp for the ski family.
After a record-setting number of skiers visited Jackson Hole last year amid more than 500 inches of snow, the new lodge and terrain access hopes to also spread skiers out across the slopes, reducing crowds and increasing stoke. Which is not hard to find at Jackson Hole. – Stephen Sebestyen
Come to Jackson Hole for the…
- CHALLENGE Boost your skiing ability with one of the resort’s week-long Steep and Deep clinics. Identify what you want to learn, and get paired with an instructor to tour Jackson’s infamous terrain and hone the skills necessary to ski the gnar with confidence and style.
- DINING The town of Jackson is flush with great eats served up with a dash of local flair and history. Hand Fire Pizza opened last year in the old Teton Theater, serving up delicious thin-crusted pies in a gorgeously renovated space. Pair the Sweet Italian Sausage pizza with a Melvin 2×4 IPA, brewed just down the road.
- ON-HILL EATS Piste Mountain Bistro will refuel you with grass-fed burgers and lamb loin.
- APRÈS SPOT Located in Teton Mountain Lodge, The Spur’s rustic barn-wood walls and fireplaces offer the cozy atmosphere you crave after a cold day on the hill. Its nachos, buffalo wings, and spicy margaritas satiate both body and soul.
- OFF-THE-MAP-TRAIL Hike up the near-vertical White Spider and ski any of the lines in Casper Bowl. The cliffy bowl is lightly skied and typically good for a few powder stashes.