Between Wyoming’s Tetons and the Gros Ventre mountain ranges sits Jackson Hole, a valley that is 15 miles wide and 80 miles long. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is situated on the Tetons side, about 12 miles from the main town of Jackson.
Although Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is famous for its steep terrain, there are plenty of options for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. New for 2016-17, the resort has also introduced new 10-Day and 7-Day Plus passes that offer up to 25 FREE additional days of skiing (on top of the 10 or 7).
Below are ten reasons why you need to ski this iconic resort this winter.
1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has the longest continuous vertical descent in the US.
Rising 4,139 feet from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has the longest continuous lift-served skiing in the US. The resort stretches across two mountains: the steeper Redezvous and the generally more mellow Apres Vous.
2. The resort gets a ton of snow.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort received an average of 459” per year over the past 5 years in season.
Interestingly, it’s warmer at the top sometimes. Skiers and boarders are accustomed to bundling up when heading for a ski-area summit, but temperature inversions at Jackson Hole can defy that conventional wisdom. On certain winter days, a layer of cold air gets trapped in the valley, so temperatures can be 30-40 degrees warmer in the upper elevations. Valley fog with sunshine above is often a telltale sign of this weather phenomenon.
3. Easy terrain does exist at JHMR.
Jackson Hole has always had the reputation of being an expert skier’s mountain, but families have been added to the mix increasingly in recent years.
The tough stuff is as steep as ever, but the resort has made efforts to enhance its grooming operations and lift access in the tamer parts of the layout. Of the 133 named trails on the map, 10% are beginner, 40% are intermediate, and 50% are expert.
4. Sweetwater Gondola opens for 2016-17 season.
The construction of the new Sweetwater Gondola is an excellent example of the resort’s commitment to varying ability levels of skiers and snowboarders. The gondola will increase capacity out of the base area for everyone, but it also has a mid-station for families about a third of the way up. This area will serve as a new children’s ski school in the Solitude area.
5. “Big Red” retains its iconic status.
The Sweetwater Gondola is just one of a few new lifts built in the last decade. However, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, nicknamed “Big Red,” is still the centerpiece of the resort.
The original tram held 52 people and served for 40 years until 2006. The current version opened in 2008 and holds 100 skiers and snowboarders. The relatively new tram is also faster, taking passengers up 4,139 vertical feet in just 9 minutes.
6. The backcountry scene thrives around Jackson Hole.
JHMR opened its boundary gates back in 1999 to access more than 3,000 backcountry acres. Of course, skiing and riding in the backcountry involves additional safety precautions. To help provide a safe experience, the resort offers guided backcountry tours.
7. Fly non-stop into Jackson Hole from 12 major U.S. Cities.
Make sure to grab a window seat on your flight into Jackson Hole, where the airport is actually within Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole might be remote, but it’s easy to reach by air.
Skiers and snowboarders can fly non-stop into Jackson Hole from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York (JFK), Newark, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Salt Lake City or Denver. Once you land at the airport, it’s only 15 minutes to the town of Jackson and 35 minutes to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
8. Posh lodging can soothe hard-charging skiers.
For a resort that’s known first and foremost for its ski terrain, Jackson Hole also has a surprisingly selection of excellent high-end lodging options.
In the Teton Village base area, the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, Snake River Lodge and Spa, eco-friendly Hotel Terra, and Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole are all rated four or five diamonds by AAA. About 20 minutes from the ski area, Amangani generally ranks among the country’s best hotels.
9. JHMR is surrounded by beautiful open space.
Of the nearly 4 million acres in Teton County, 97 percent are federally owned or state managed.
Just a short drive from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort are 4 incredible places to explore: the Grand Teton National Park (home to massive mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife); the Bridger-Teton National Forest (known for it’s wild and scenic rivers, three wilderness areas, and immense wildlife); Yellowstone National Park (the first and oldest national park in the world); and the National Elk Refuge (which welcomes up to 9,000 elk each winter).
The ski resort borders Grand Teton National park and it is not uncommon to see moose on the mountain. When exploring the valley look to see moose, elk, bison, bald eagles and more.
10. Skiers and snowboarders can get 25 free additional days of skiing and riding in 2016-17.
On top of the unrestricted ten or seven days, both passes offer 25 free additional days of early-season skiing and riding from opening day on November 24 to December 18, 2016.
Your ten or seven days, depending on the pass, can be used any time during the remainder of the season and has no black out dates.