The lights of Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Where the warm welcome is no longer just for advanced skiers
By Nina Kokotas Hahn
Best known for ski and snowboarding terrain geared toward experts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (307-733-2292, jacksonhole.com) has gone deliberately off the mark to create better intermediate and beginner-friendly experiences, carved through the center of its two mountains. After three years and $20 million in enhancements—including moving and smoothing earth, thinning trees, taming gnarlier runs, and installing a new high-speed quad chair—this new Casper ski area introduces an intermediate run called Sundog and offers vastly improved mid-mountain skiing all around.
But make no mistake: Jackson Hole is still king of the Wild West, with deep snow that averages 459 inches a year, more than at any other resort in the Rockies or California. Advanced skiers love the aerial tram that climbs to the top of the mountain—4,139 vertical feet—in one go, allowing them to merrily jump off rock ledges and fully exploit the resort’s open-gate backcountry skiing policy.
Off the mountain, the casual cowboy-hats-and-boots après scene has erupted recently with several new culinary options, almost all of them brand-new. In Teton Village, at the base of the mountain, chef Michael Mina’s new Handle Bar at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole (307-732-5000, fourseasons.com/jacksonhole) provides a warm gastropub vibe. Also in the Village, the former Cascades has reopened as the firelit Spur Restaurant and Bar at Teton Mountain Lodge (307-734-7111, tetonlodge.com). There, chef Kevin Humphreys turns up the focus on locally sourced plates, including buffalo steak sliders with truffle aïoli ($12).
Ways to Have Fun Indoors
1. DRINKING A robust new wine shop called Bin22 (200 W. Broadway, 307-739-9463, bin22jacksonhole.com) resembles a mini Eataly, with its mozzarella bar staffed by a cheesemonger. In addition, it sells small-batch booze from the new Wyoming Whiskey, the state’s first legal distillery.
2. DINING Along with fried pickles ($7) and shrimp and white cheddar grits ($18), Roadhouse Restaurant & Brewery (2550 Moose Wilson Rd., 307-739-0700, qjacksonhole.com) serves slabs, brisket, and, as of the end of 2012, its own craft beer.
3. SHOPPING Among the latest boutiques in the village, Made (3335 W. Village Rd., 307-690-7957, madejacksonhole.com), in the lobby of the Hotel Terra, carries a wide selection of handmade goods and jewelry from 125 artists. Right next door, Rodeo (307-733-7887, rodeojh.com) has the alpaca wool sweater you’ve been lusting after. Wool and Whiskey (7652 Granite Ridge Loop Rd., 307-732-4080) may be the rare clothing store men actually want to visit; the whiskey bar in back helps.
Where to Stay
Novice skiers and families should stay at the lodge-style Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole (307-732-5000, fourseasons.com/jacksonhole; from $429), which offers direct access to the best beginner terrain and guided luxury wildlife safaris into nearby Yellowstone National Park ($199 per adult). The luxuriously green Hotel Terra Jackson Hole (800-631-6281, hotelterrajacksonhole.com; from $289) is not only LEED certified but has a swanky hot pool overlooking Teton Village. Large groups will find roomy, rustic units at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa (307-734-7111, tetonlodge.com; from $289), along with the three-story Solitude Spa.
Fly directly from O’Hare to Jackson Hole Airport. Take advantage of seasonal winter service on United from December 19 to April 8; three-hour direct round trips in January start at $527. Ride a shuttle or taxi for 15 minutes to downtown Jackson Hole or 30 minutes to Teton Village.
Photograph: Amanda Friedman/Trunk Archive