Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Rank 10 West, 1997


Jackson breeds an odd loyalty from its admirers. “To hell with pleasant sunny weather,” a reader begs. “Give me snow and cold¿Jackson Hole in January.” The steep, endless powder runs off Jackson Hole’s tram make even the coldest temperatures worth suffering. But when the high pressure builds between storms, the groomed boulevards from Rendezvous Bowl down make for prime high-speed cruising. If you seek exploration but aren’t up for hurling yourself into Corbet’s Couloir, there are plenty of thrills to savor in the chutes and trees off the Sublette and Thunder chairs. If racking up miles of good, hard skiing is your priority, then make Jackson¿with the No. 1 Terrain in the U.S.¿your destiny. “It’s a great place to get snowed in and ski, ski, ski,” a reader concludes. For the less vertically inclined, Après Vous mountain and Casper Bowl offer more gentle terrain. This year, the country’s best ski racers gather for the U.S. Alpine Championships in March. On the social scene, the authentically western town of Jackson (12 miles from the mountain) has been recently challenged by POLO-izing and GAP-ification. So these days, you can scrub up for the nuevo Snake River Grill or just hitch up your ski pants and mosey into the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar or the Stagecoach.

What’s New Bridger Gondola to the base of the Headwall will open up expert and intermediate terrain for those who “don’t like the cattle-car tram”; snowmaking to the top of Après Vous.
A Good Deal Four nights’ lodging and a three-day lift ticket, $265; Dec. 6-25, Jan. 5-Feb. 15, March 16-April 12; Jackson Hole Central Reservations; (800) 443-6931.
Medals Gold Snow Quality, Terrain, Challenge, Value,Off-Hill Activities.
High/Low Rank Terrain, Challenge (1); Grooming (64).
Don’t Miss The Hobacks on a powder day.
Reader Remarks “Excellent expert terrain and backcountry access.” “Not the place to bring the wife and kids for recreational skiing.”