Jackson Hole is located in the state of Wyoming and is known as the ‘Granddaddy of them all’ due to its huge size and status as a centrepiece of the entire ski industry. The ski season in Jackson Hole runs from June to October with July to September being the hot months and June to August being the cold months. Day passes at the lowest price are available online and you can also buy an annual pass that gives you access to all the resorts for a cheaper rate.
You’ve probably heard of Jackson Hole, as it is the venue of the annual Jackson Hole Arts & Crafts Festival and the site of the Jackson Hole Live Festival where some of the biggest musical acts in the world perform. Jackson Hole is famous for its Jackson Hole Coffee Co-op that roasts its own coffee using the best quality beans from all over the world and its restaurants and bars that serve local and international fare. The community-run Jackson Hole Coffee Co-op recently expanded its facilities and now offers visitors the chance to have a coffee tasting session. Jackson Hole is also the venue of the Jackson Hole Fishing Opry where you can catch your fish and cook it on an open fire and of the Jackson Hole Bike Park that features some of the most iconic trails in the world, such as the ‘Coyote Ugly’ and the ‘Lonel Horse’ that are named after characters in a Western Novel and Film respectively.
There are 10 ski resorts in Jackson Hole that feature 3,000ft of skiable vertical – that’s half a kilometre! – and all of them have amazing panoramic views of the Teton Range and the Valley below. The largest of these is probably Jackson Hole, with a 22-acre (8.9-hectare) campus that is home to 3,400ft (1,056m) of skiable terrain. The lower elevation Twin Falls and Snow King have 2,800ft (852m) and 2,400ft (741m) of skiable terrain respectively, while the even smaller Hidden Valley and Rendezvous Resort only feature around 500ft of slopes (164m).
The backcountry is where you’ll find the real beauty of the Jackson Hole skiing resorts. While the slopes may be crowded during the ski season, the trails are actually much less used in the off-season, so you can enjoy some privacy. There are countless backcountry trails in Jackson Hole, giving you the option of skirting the villages and staying off trail – keeping your wits about you and your ski jacket on at all times.
The biggest advantage of the backcountry is that you can escape the crowds and make your own way through the trails, hitting all the prominent peaks and enjoying the unique views that only the backcountry has to offer. One of the most famous backcountry trails is the Chicken Creek Trail, which skirts the western side of Jackson Hole and follows the entire length of the eponymous creek to its source. A one-day pass to the backcountry allows you to explore the entire valley and catch some rays of sunshine before heading back for a well-deserved hotdog and fries.
Water sports are a major part of life in Jackson Hole in the summer, with plenty of opportunities to boat, fish and swim with the trout population that lives in the area’s many lakes and streams. This is also the place to be for some light-hearted outdoor activities like gold panning and chuck wagon cooking, where you can spend some quality time with nature. You can take a lazy day off and lounge by the pool, while your fryer does its magic in the background.
Arts & Crafts Festival
If you enjoy the arts, then you’ll love the annual Jackson Hole Arts & Crafts Festival that takes place in early July. The entire valley is covered in white tents and bunting as artists and crafters from all over the world descend upon the town. The festival features the best in Western art, from paintings and pottery to handmade furniture and rugs, all at very affordable prices. The best part is that you can have a go at creating something yourself!
Besides, there are lots of little boutique stores and galleries that you’ll find on your travels around the valley, selling a variety of goods, from jewellery and textiles to antiques and vinyl records. The main street, where all the action is, is full of art galleries, craft shops, restaurants and bars, making it the place to be in the summer.
The Jackson Hole Live Festival is one of the biggest annual music festivals in the USA and features a variety of artists and performers from the country’s finest independent music scene. The festival takes place in mid-July, attracting large crowds from all over the world, especially Europe and North America. This is also the place to be for some foodies, as the Festival includes a number of restaurants and bars from which to choose, serving everything from tacos and quesadillas to fish and chips, crepes and pastries. Most of these eateries offer outdoor seating and there’s always live music played throughout the day.
The Granddaddy of them all, however, is the Jackson Hole Ski Festival, which is smaller in scale but just as exciting as the Live Festival, with the added attraction of discounted ski passes for those that attend. The four-day event takes place in late June and is another great opportunity to hit the slopes, while also experiencing some of the best live music performances around.
That’s not all there is to do in Jackson Hole, of course. There are also a number of fantastic galleries, which are a great place to spend an afternoon, learning about American art history, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. You could visit the historic art district near the top of the main street, where there are lots of galleries, restaurants and bars for you to explore.
Jackson Hole is most famous for its luxurious hotels, such as the iconic Wild Horse Saloon that was the setting for the film True Grit. The town truly lives up to its billing as the ‘Sporting Lady of the Rockies’, with a vibrant music, arts and crafts festival, water sports and a skiing experience to rival any major North American city.
For more information on Jackson Hole visit their website at http://jacksonhole.com/ or follow them on social media, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/jacksonhole or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jacksonhole.