It’s become a rite of passage for many to ski in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it’s fair to say that the slopeside village has become quite a mecca for the sport. The snowboarder’s paradise is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world and attracts world-class athletes looking for some relaxation after big competition seasons.
But just because the village is popular doesn’t mean the ski experience there is easy. There are a number of factors that put Jackson Hole at the top of many skiers’ lists of tough ski resorts, and one of the main reasons is the lift ticket. It’s not cheap; in fact, it can be rather costly. And while the atmosphere and people are fantastic, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of work involved in getting ready for the season, and not everyone is suited for the mountain life.
But it’s still a paradise for those who can handle the steep slopes and icy conditions. And because of that, we’ve decided to tell you exactly what you need to know if you’re planning on visiting or even living in Jackson Hole this winter season.
How Expensive Is It There?
You might be imagining that Jackson Hole is the sort of place where everyone is skiing all the time, and you’d be partly right. The resort gets a lot of visitors, but it’s not an easy place to live, either. The cost of living is high and the prices of petrol and groceries are almost double what they are back home. It’s not all about the powder: the altitude and the cold are also factors that make a difference.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Jackson Hole is how expensive stuff is. Hotels charge a premium and a lot of restaurants and bars close down for the winter. That means there is plenty of room for you to crash at someone’s house — but you might end up paying a bit more for that convenience.
Wondering If You Need A Pass To Ski?
The answer is yes, you need a pass to ski in Jackson Hole. It’s an expensive habit trying to buy the right ticket on the spot, and some people don’t bother and just enjoy the resort for what it is. The apres-ski life in the bars and restaurants is also cheaper than at the resort, so it’s worth considering if you’re in a budget.
Are There A Lot Of Women Skiing In Jackson Hole?
You’d be surprised at how many women are in Jackson Hole this winter. There is definitely something for everyone. Big snowfall and heavy snowmaking mean that lots of people can enjoy the slopes, regardless of their gender. But there is also a women’s snowboard team and a snowboarding school, which welcomes both genders.
One of the best things about the ski season in Jackson Hole is that women are free to explore all the mountain has to offer. There are lots of terrace cafés and bars where you can meet men, but you’re also likely to find a group of women friends there. And what better way for a night to end than in a group of women bonding over a beer or wine while the sun sets over the village.
What Is The Weather Typically Like?
Unlike many other ski resorts, Jackson Hole doesn’t get very cold in the winter. That means it gets lots of snow and the piste conditions are fantastic, regardless of the time of year. It doesn’t get too hot in the summer either, which is great for the tourists but maybe not so great for those who live there. Still, even in the hottest months, the snowfall does a great job of keeping the village cool and comfortable.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the temperature in Jackson Hole. The biggest one is the elevation. The resort is at 7,200 feet above sea level, which keeps the heat at bay and gives you that real wintertime experience. The other factor is the rain. A lot of it. It usually rains in Jackson Hole, which can make for some slippery conditions. Especially when it snows. So be careful where you step, and watch out for the wet patches on the floor.
How Do You Minimize The Damage?
There is so much more to avoid than just paying for a ticket. Making the right plan and being sensible about the things you do and don’t do can help you have a good time while minimizing the damage. Be sure to check the weather before you go and make a list of the things you need to pack. That can help you avoid a lot of the issues that come with traveling. Especially when traveling unexpectedly — like the flu or a nasty cold — you don’t want to risk being isolated at the resort or falling sick while there. This is especially relevant for those who are older or have pre-existing conditions.
The advice from the natives is also to bring lots of warm clothes. Especially when getting off the bus at the resort. People there love their jackets and their scarves. And when the sun is beaming down, it feels great to be wearing something warm and fuzzy.
How Is The Food There?
It depends on what you’re looking for. There are lots of high-end restaurants in the village that serve mouthwatering, gourmet fare. You can find everything from French classics to Italian food and seafood. There is also a lot of fast food, like chili joints and pizza places. But for those who want something more unique, there are also a number of small locally-owned restaurants that serve traditional Wyoming dishes like elk burgers, fried chicken and fish.
How Is Transportation To The Resort?
It’s quite a hassle to go up to the resort by car. The road is closed for the season and you’ll have to make use of the village’s only shuttle service or walk. The walk is about a half an hour, and the shuttle is free. At least, it’s free if you’re riding it to the resort. After that, it’s $40 per person for the remainder of the season. It’s advisable to book both in advance.
What Amenities Does The Resort Offer?
There is a lot to do in and around the resort. You can hit the slopes in the morning and come back down for a swim in the afternoon. Or you can make the other way around and have a swim followed by a ski lesson or a snowboard fitting.
The village has a small but perfectly formed entertainment district. There are bars and restaurants there, as well as a movie theater. If you’re looking for nightlife, there is a nightclub and a live music venue. Concerts and festivals are a common occurrence on the mountain during the winter months. Be sure to check the website for upcoming events, as well as join the mailing list to get the latest news and info.
The surrounding forest also provides an abundance of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers, campers and backpackers will find a thrill a day in the form of a snowy adventure, while the seasoned climber can scale some of the mountains’ highest peaks during the summer. It’s not all about the skiing, however: people also come from all over the world to go on horse riding tours with Jackson Hole Stables, which take you through the majestic Canadian Rockies and let you see first-hand the incredible wildlife that inhabit these majestic hills. You won’t be disappointed.
How Do You Get In And Out Of The Resort?
Getting in and out of the resort is easy. The only road in and out closes after the season, which means there is no traffic during the winter. That makes it a great place for a ski holiday; no worrying about getting stuck in traffic or finding a spot at the resort’s limited parking lots.
It’s quite a lengthy process to fly into Jackson Hole. The airport does not offer direct connections to the major cities, so you’ll have to stop in either Denver or Yellowstone Airport. It’s a forty-five minute drive from the airport to the village. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by smiling faces and packed ski hills. It’ll feel like a dream.
If you’re driving, you’ll have to take a different route. Going through Yellowstone, you’ll reach the North entrance of the Grand Canyon, then head over to the Grand Teton to the South entrance. It’s quite a scenic drive, but it adds an extra hour or so to your trip. Coming from the South, you’ll take a right onto Highway 32, which will bring you to Jackson Hole. It’s another beautiful drive that offers some great views and a break from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Be sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife, like elk and bison, which are quite common along the roadside.