1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort isn’t all scary.
Jackson Hole has a deserved reputation among experts for challenging steeps. However, if beginners and intermediates are scared away, they’re making a mistake. In fact, beginners have their own area off the Teewinot Quad Chair. The Bridger Gondola and Apres Vous Quad Chair serve plenty of good blue terrain.
2. S&S Couloir is scary.
Corbet’s Couloir at Jackson Hole gets all the press and bragging T-shirt slogans, but S&S Couloir makes Corbet’s look easy. Located just around the corner from Corbet’s, S&S Couloir requires permission from the ski patrol to even attempt. Unless your name shows up in the credits of ski movies, you should probably skip S&S.
3. The ‘Town Hill’ isn’t as tame as its name.
Known as the “Town Hill” among locals, Snow King Mountain rises directly above the town of Jackson. Tourists assuming Snow King is just a little practice hill are in for a surprise. Particularly the top half of the 1,571 feet of vertical is quite steep. Ironically, Jackson Hole has more forgiving terrain for first-timers than anything found at Snow King.
4. Snow King has drawn Olympic racers.
As evidence of its serious pitch, Snow King claims the steepest, north-facing FIS racecourse in the lower 48. The U.S. women’s alpine racers in the technical events trained there just prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, eight countries brought athletes to Snow King. In that Olympics, nine of the 30 alpine medals ended up going to skiers who had trained at the ski area.
5. Grand Targhee has grand views.
Grand Targhee Resort is not nearly as well known as Jackson Hole, but Grand Targhee actually has better views of Grand Teton. Grand Targhee sits on the west side of the range, so visitors to Jackson must go over Teton Pass and loop around through Idaho to reach the ski area back in Wyoming.
6. You can count on Grand Targhee.
One could argue that Grand Targhee is the most reliable ski area in the country for snow coverage. The mountain has relatively modest pitches and not especially rocky ground. That means Grand Targhee can open lots of terrain even in seasons that fall short of the impressive 500 inches of average annual snowfall. Of course, a “low” snow year is often close to the average. The annual snowfall doesn’t fluctuate as widely as it can in other regions.
7. Big bucks flock to Teton County.
Jackson doesn’t appear as obviously ritzy as a place like Aspen, but Teton County often ranks as the nation’s richest county by average annual income. Of course, a few uber-wealthy homeowners do skew the average, so not everybody is driving a Range Rover.
8. Skiing can be found beyond Teton Range.
Wyoming has a few ski areas that are likely unfamiliar to out-of-staters. Located in the Wind River Mountains almost two hours from Jackson, White Pine Ski Resort dates back to 1940. In the southeast part of the state, Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area gives Laramie residents 250 skiable acres nearby to sample. Hogadon is the local ski area for the city of Casper. Sleeping Giant Ski Area sits a few miles to the east of Yellowstone National Park.