News from the snow
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort USA
There are two sorts of lists of the 'Greatest Ski Resorts in the World'. There are those places that have established a reputation over many years even though they may or may not be the best places to ski in the modern era - names like Davos or St Moritz in Switzerland, Garmisch in Germany, St Anton or Kitzbühel in Austria, Aspen, Stowe or Vail in the US. Then there is the second list - this time of places that attract skiers from all over the world who just live to ski and don't care much for resort size, status or reputation. Some of the names from list one are still on it - Chamonix and St Anton for example, but little places like Alagna in Italy, La Grave in France or Red Mountain in Canada are also there, right at the top. This second list is as hard, in its way, to get on to as the first, and for many skiers Jackson Hole is one of those that qualifies for both, but especially the latter. "Skiers who love skiing" from all over the world are drawn to this snow mecca every season, and former Olympic champions like Tommy Moe and Pepi Steigler now call it home. Apart from its skiing, the resort's appeal is its authentic (rather than hyped...) Old West spirit and sense of hospitality. The choice is between staying by the slopes in increasingly expansive and sophisticated lodging, or, as many do, 12 miles (19km) away in the town of Jackson where some of the sidewalks are still wooden, bars are still called saloons, and the doors on them swing open. The scenery is stunning too - in a country of huge but rolling mountains, the Teton range in which Jackson Hole is located would look very much at home in Switzerland - with classic and spectacular triangular peaks. The recent $50 million dollar millenium refit has not changed that much - just made the infrastructure rather more cutting edge, for the best of both worlds. The money has been spent on the Bridger gondola, to serve the biggest single lift- served vertical in the US; the Après Vous Quad, expanding access to intermediate terrain; and plenty of other features liked doubled snow-making (although the resort also has a reputation for 10 metre / 33 feet plus of natural snow each season). Sadly the resort's famous red tram (cable car) finally went in to retirement at the end of the 2006 ski season after may decades of faithful service.
One of the world's best known resorts, thanks to its adventurous skiing, 'real West' atmosphere and the greatest continuous vertical in the USA. Close to the 350 mile Continental Divide snowmobile trail and offering trips in to Yellowstone National Park to see 'Old Faithful'.
There are many other great runs on the mountain for those who like this kind of extreme terrain, and plenty more for those who like something slightly less lethal. The Cheyenne, Laramie and Tensleep bowls are high on the list.
The backcountry terrain in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger Teton was made accessible for the first time in 1999. The National Forest is some of the most spectacular and challenging terrain found anywhere in the United States, adding another 2,500 acres of terrain. Much like the sign at the top of the tram, this backyard "is like nothing you've ever skied before." For anyone venturing out into this newly accessible area it is imperative skiers and riders educate themselves to the differences; always ski with buddies, carry receivers, be aware of backcountry weather reports, and always exercise extreme caution.
Most of the terrain is well suited to intermediates, especially advancing intermediates. Although they only have an unusually small percentage of the mountain, at 10%, beginners are far from forgotten here with an excellent beginners' area and ski school.
Those staying in the town of Jackson can also take advantage of the gentle slopes of Snow King which are floodlit at night.
Children normally love the Wild West feel of Jackson and in particular the new snow tubing park open in the evenings at Snow King, on the edge of Jackson town.
Three new restaurants at the Bridger Gondola’s summit include the Couloir Restaurant and Bar, a total fine dining experience that endeavours to offer warm hospitality, a vibrant atmosphere, magnificent scenery and contemporary western cuisine. Previously leading kitchens at the renowned Jenny Lake Lodge and Four Seasons, Executive Chef, Wes Hamilton returned to Jackson to open Couloir. Wes and his team offer a daily lunch menu and a five course fixed price menu each night. Skiers will marvel at the views of Corbet's Couloir, the soaring heights of the Headwall and the incredible alpine setting from the heated outdoor deck.
Bridger Restaurant, features individual serving stations that offer fresh soups and salads, a variety of Asian delights, hand carved roasts and gourmet grill meals. The Bridger Restaurant has a large open plan indoor seating area for 150 people, floor to ceiling picture windows and an attached south facing deck, with permanent BBQ station and full service bar.
Headwall Deli a casual restaurant that has been designed with the active skier or snowboarder in mind. Menu items include a selection of gourmet sandwiches, pizza, homemade soups, fresh salads and fresh baked sweet goodies.
In Jackson itself, if you wish to sample some of the local game try the Gun Barrel Steak and Game House or the Cowboy Streakhouse under the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. There are plenty of choices for Italian and Pica's or the Merry Piglets for Mexican.
Other restaurants serve Austrian (rare in North America!), Greek, Japanese and Thai cuisine. Chain outlets include Haägen Dazs, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Taco Bell. Three companies offer dinner sleigh rides.
The range of dining options continues to expand in common with all aspects of the resort. New opportunities include sushi, other asian influenced and new American eateries.
For great character and value try the Cadillac, Blue Lion, or Bubba's. An evening at the movies, night skiing or tubing or taking a sleigh ride are all popular alternatives.
In Teton Village the world famous Mangy Moose is located at the base of the mountain. Newer options offering further variety include Four Seasons, Snake River Lodge and Spa and Teton Mountain Lodge.
The Burton Learn To Ride beginner program, including beginner specific equipment and groups. The Steep & Deep Snowboard Camp remains one of the most popular, and with the addition of Freestyle Clinics with Rob Kingwill and an all women's snowboard camp with Julie Zell, there is a method of learning for everyone.