If there’s any ski town that truly lives up to the hype, it’s Jackson, Wyo. From its start as a fur-trapping hub to its ranching heyday in the 1900s to today’s extreme-skiing paradise, this town puts its money where its mouth is. Rightfully so, it’s on every skier’s hit list to visit or return to because it delivers on its reputation as a powder lover’s paradise complemented by a true Western ski town.
Reader Resort Survey 2022: No. 15 in the West, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
If you’re planning to ski Jackson next season, the resort remains on the Ikon Pass for 2022-’23. Be sure to purchase the full Ikon Pass for seven blackout-free days, as the resort isn’t on the Base Pass. You can purchase the Base Pass Plus for five blackout-restricted days at Jackson Hole, but since the Base Plus is $969 and the Full Ikon Pass is $1,079, it doesn’t seem worth it.
Jackson is also on the Mountain Collective pass, but you only get two days at the resort (three if you choose to use your bonus day) and 50-percent off additional days. However, it’s only $539, so it could be a good value depending on how many days you plan to ski and if any other Mountain Collective resorts are on your itinerary.
How to Ski Jackson Hole
There’s endless expert terrain, but that’s not all there is.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is insanely scenic. The primarily southeast-facing terrain gives way to the sprawling Jackson Hole valley below and affords skiers sweeping panoramic vistas from nearly everywhere at the resort. It’s no coincidence that Grand Teton National Park is only 25 miles from the resort.
The resort is so well positioned in the Teton Range that—thanks to the winter jet stream—it receives an average of 526 inches of snow per season, which is impressive because it has one of the lowest base elevations (6,311 feet) of ski resorts in the Rockies. Intermediate-friendly Rendezvous Bowl, accessed from the Aerial Tram, is often the recipient of the most powder during snowstorms. Be on the first tram of the day if you want first tracks. It’s worth the effort.
Advanced to expert skiers would be wise to hire a guide for a day to get into Jackson’s legendary lift-accessed backcountry. Sign on for a guided backcountry tour and you’ll be on the first tram of the day and gain access to the coveted terrain beyond the resort boundaries in the Cody and Rock Springs bowls before anyone else can get to it.
Don’t sleep on little Snow King Mountain, in town. It’s the state’s first ski area and home to its own brand of challenging terrain. An adult full-day lift ticket is $75 and grants access to 400 skiable acres that ski bigger than it sounds, including 32 named runs with enough steeps, trees, and moguls to keep it interesting. Or, if your legs can handle it, hit Snow King for night skiing Monday through Saturday from 4-6:30 p.m.
Uphilling isn’t allowed at JHMR, but it is at Snow King. It’s one of the only places in the country that allows uphill travel during operating hours, and local backcountry buffs can be found lapping the Cats Tail route all day long.
Where to Stay in the Town of Jackson
Bed down in town if a Western vibe, great dining, and the après experience is high on your priority list.
Fresh off a major renovation, the Virginian Lodge just reopened in January on a sprawling 13 acres with 165 rooms and suites. A few minutes’ walk from town, the Virginian is a nice compromise between bustling and relaxing. The extra space allows for more communal hubs, including the largest outdoor pool in town, a pub, and fire pits.
With its Western-inspired vibe and skier amenities, the Lodge at Jackson Hole is a good in-town option close to Town Square. In-room fireplaces and an all-season indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tub, plus complimentary breakfast, make it a good value. Passes for the local START bus to JHMR are also included with your stay.
Where to Stay in Teton Village
Opt for a room slopeside if you’ll be skiing bell to bell and want to be first in line for the tram.
The brand-new Continuum Hotel has 90 casually avant-garde rooms and lofts with kitchenettes with a contemporary and functional vibe. You may find your favorite ski athletes taking an après soak in the 40-person hot tub or enjoying a craft cocktail at the adjoining spacious lounge, where après specials run from 2-5 p.m. daily.
Hotel Terra is a sleek boutique hotel at the base of the slopes with one of the village’s best restaurants, Il Villagio Osteria, inside. The roomy accommodations include guest rooms and suites, and the amenities are considerate for a small hotel: the full-service Chill Spa, fitness center, infinity pool and hot tubs, ski valet, and an on-site rental shop.
Where to Eat and Drink in Jackson
This cowboy town has an elevated dining scene that rivals most small cities.
Bin22 is a restaurant that shares space with a small, high-end wine and beer market. It specializes in Spanish and Italian meats and cheeses and other sharable dishes. You can buy a can or six-pack of beer at the market and drink it at your table, which makes this one of the most affordable après options in town.
The Bistro draws inspiration from Parisian-style neighborhood brasseries. French entrees and accompaniments, like duck confit and pommes frites, are served in a warm and intimate setting. The Bistro also has a raw bar with oysters, shrimp, and tartare provisions.
Were you really here if you didn’t sit on a saddle at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar? We think not. This legendary bar has daily live music, drink specials, Western dancing, and a fun vibe.
Where to Eat and Drink in Teton Village
Keep it easy and casual at the base of the mountain, where you can find tasty menus that won’t break the bank.
Bodega is an all-in-one gas station, convenience store, wine shop, butcher shop, and grab-and-go cafe that’s become a local hot spot for everything from pre-ski breakfast burritos to après “sloshies” as well as beers and brats. For the uninitiated, sloshies are a Jackson Hole specialty and are basically a boozy slushie. Its sister, the Bodega food truck, sells fried chicken sandwiches, tacos, and other comfort foods.
Spoons Bistro is a new food truck in the upper village Cody parking lot. It’s a must-stop for lunch from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. daily for a delicious Philly cheesesteak, roman artichokes, hot dogs, and fried avocados.
To kick it up a notch, visit the historical Alpenrose at the Alpenhof Lodge. This cozy restaurant offers a selection of Austrian, French, and Italian wines as well as local microbrews and imported beers to pair with classic European cuisine, such as Swiss Raclette, Alpen Fondue, and Wiener Schnitzel.
Everyone knows The Mangy Moose is the ultimate après-ski spot in Teton Village, but not everyone knows that the restaurant downstairs is almost never as crowded as the saloon and café upstairs. Also virtually unknown: The Mangy Moose also operates a market and cellars where you can buy essential groceries and grab-and-go pizzas and sandwiches.
Where to Demo Skis in Jackson
Hoback Sports, in town, has demos from Black Crows, Atomic, Blizzard, Völkl, Armada, and Salomon. What’s more, you can return or swap out your skis at its partner locations, Teton Village Sports and Jackson Hole Sports, both at the JHMR base.
How to Get There and Get Around
Flying into Jackson Hole Airport, just under 10 miles from town and about 20 miles from the ski resort, is the easiest way to go. The drive serves up amazing Teton Range views to boot, including that most recognizable peak, the Grand Teton herself. Several major airlines offer nonstop flights daily. Note: The airport will undergo a temporary closure April 11 to June 27 for runway reconstruction.
If you’re driving, Jackson is less than a five-hour ride from Bozeman, Ketchum, or Salt Lake City, and about eight hours from Denver.
Jackson is an easily walkable town, but there’s also a free town shuttle for getting around. The START bus also connects Teton Village and the ski resort to the Town of Jackson. While you don’t need a car, it’s nice to have one for exploring the area’s sights, including Grand Teton National Park, which has several winter activities to check out, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing among them.