Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been having a record December with over 200 inches of snow this season and a base depth of 82 inches. The resort is claiming this “Deepcember” to be the biggest in 40 years. So after a three-day storm cycle with over two feet of snow, the sky broke blue on Saturday to reveal snow-capped mountains and trees laden with fresh—the perfect backdrop for the opening ceremonies of its new gondola, Sweetwater.
Sweetwater, an eight person Doppelmyer gondola, is replacing two chairlifts, Eaglesrest and Sweetwater. With its 2,000 person per hour lift capacity, the new gondola increases the out-of-base capacity by almost a third. Consequently, the resort expects the lift to significantly reduce wait times and congestion, especially on busy powder day
During the opening ceremonies, locals and visitors enjoyed cookies and hot cocoa to the sounds of local Eighties metal cover band, 86. As the band played rock and roll Christmas carols, JHMR owner, Jay Kemmerer told me, “We are adding in more Gas x exploders to Casper Bowl in order to be able to clear the entire north end of the mountain for avalanche safety much quicker.”
Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole, spoke excitingly about the addition of the gondola and how it marks the beginning of increased amenities for intermediate and beginner skiers, as he continues his goal of making Jackson Hole a more family friendly resort.
Minutes later Santa swooped into the Sweetwater loading station and the ribbon was cut. Children quickly took over the gondola rushing to ride the smooth 1,276 feet from the base to Casper lodge.