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Jackson Hole ski resort in Wyoming is often cited as the USA's version of Chamonix; the scale and alpine nature of the mountains bear natural comparison and, like Chamonix, Jackson Hole is best suited to seasoned intermediates and experts who relish challenging ski terrain and full-on apres ski.

Overview

Tucked away at the remote north-western edge of Wyoming, not far from the state-line with Idaho, Jackson Hole is a long way away from the USA's mainstream mega-resorts of Colorado and Utah, in geography and in spirit.

The scale of the country here is humbling, this was authentic Wild West territory where only the bravest and the toughest survived.

And it still attracts the brave and the tough today in the form of the many advanced-level skiers and snowboarders who are drawn to Jackson Hole because it offers one of the greatest lift-served vertical drops in North America and has a well-deserved reputation for super-steep in-bounds terrain and huge expanses of extreme backcountry; the company of plenty of like-minded big-mountain enthusiasts and the great ride-hard, party-hard atmosphere are also a big part of the allure.


Ski area

Jackson Hole ski area is spread over two principal peaks: the minor Apres Vous Mountain to the north and the major Rendezvous Mountain to the west, the former accessed via two linked chairlifts, the latter via a cable car (aerial tram) that rises the full 1,262m from the base terminal to the summit; the ridge between the two mountains is also accessible directly from the base area by a gondola.

Apres Vous Mountain, and the slopes served by the gondola, house most of Jackson Hole's intermediate-level terrain, offering a fair selection of cruise-able pistes and presenting plenty of opportunities for the most competent intermediates to progress to ungroomed glades and steeper black-diamond runs.

Advanced and expert skiers and riders can just about take their pick of all the remaining terrain (other than a few closed-off cliffs), with Rendezvous Mountain the principal in-bounds focus. The headline descent here is the notorious Corbet's Couloir straight off the top of Rendezvous and directly in the view from the cable car; this short but super-steep chute is entered by leaping off a cornice, with cliffs to either side plus a number of rocks in the middle of the fall-line.

There are also numerous other difficult couloirs, boulder drop-offs, mogul fields, steep and deep powder bowls, plus hundreds of hectares of surrounding backcountry; much of the area is designated 'expert' as distinct from the lesser classification of 'advanced' terrain, this is truly serious big-mountain freeride territory.


Off the slopes and apres ski

Teton Village is Jackson Hole's compact and friendly base-area resort village, with the Jackson Hole Tram (cable car) terminal at its core and a sweep of slope-side accommodation embracing the home-run pistes that flow down to the base terminals of the other ski lifts. The village has received major developments over recent years and is now a self-contained resort, with new upscale accommodation and a handful of good bar-restaurants plus a luxury spa.

The Saddlehorn Nordic Center at Teton Village offers a selection of alternative snow-based activities, including cross-county ski circuits, snowshoe treks, and dog-sled tours. Snowmobiling and horse riding trips are also available in the surrounding valley.

Apres ski at Teton Village is lively and fun, particularly at the well-established Mangy Moose bar, which features regular live music sessions; there are also a couple of more laid-back hangouts too. For a greater selection of restaurants and bars, including a number of real Western-style saloons, head to the lively town of Jackson, just 19km away by road to the south.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
7
Families
6
Lift System
6
Off the slopes
5
Off-piste
9
Resort Charm
6
Ski Area
7
Vertical drop
1261m
Altitude range
1924–3185m
Ski area
1012
Parks
6
Resort height
1924m
Summit
3185m
Airport
Jackson Hole
Train station
Salt Lake City (UT)
beginner
10%
intermediate
40%
expert
50%