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Ski Guide: Jackson Hole, WY: Skiing in the Wilds of Wyoming

Filed Under: Resorts, Skiing, Wyoming
Amidst Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole’s 2 peaks, Rendezvous (10,450 ft.) and Après Vous (8,481 ft.), are home to 2,500 skiable acres of challenging trails and steep backcountry terrain. While the resort is gaining a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, in Jackson Hole, the cowboy is king. In the wilds of Wyoming, skiing is more important than shopping, fine dining and luxury accommodations.

Only at Jackson Hole
Snowboarders will love the new Burton Stash Park, the only one in the Rocky Mountains. Burton has gone back to the roots of snowboarding, by creating freestyle snowboard parks in natural terrain using only local wood products. Elevate the impact of your riding while lowering your impact on the environment.

Best-Kept Secret
Twelve lifts and one 8-person gondola service the trails on Rendezvous and Après Vous. But an additional 3,000 unpatrolled acres of backcountry terrain, adjoining Jackson Hole to Bridger Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park, are available to experienced off-piste skiers and snowboarders. The 116 patrolled trails include bowls, trees, wide grooms and gentle slopes.

Where to Sleep
There are 3 areas near Jackson Hole where visitors can find accommodations: the town of Jackson, Teton Village or in between the 2. Each option has its pros and cons. Staying in Jackson allows easy access to shopping and dining but you will have to drive or take a shuttle to ski. Teton Village hotels, condos and vacation rentals are closest to the slopes since they’re at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Staying between the town and the village is a hybrid of these respective plusses and minuses. Weary skiers and boarders can choose from inns, bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, private home rentals, condos or rustic lodges. Click here for Jackson Hole’s official lodging guide.

Where to Eat
Let après-ski drift into dinner at the Snake River Brewery, where microbrews like Custer’s Last Ale and Zonker Stout (both regular winners at the Great American Beer Fest) are served alongside pastas, panini, pizza and salads. Take a break from skiing and have lunch at Snake River – they offer a $7-lunch from 11:30 to 3:00 daily.

Burke’s Chop House, open since 2004, features a sleek dining setting for steaks, game and seafood. Dinners such as smoked baby back pork ribs with homemade bourbon barbecue sauce range in price from $20 to $40. Reservations strongly recommended.

Where to Shop
Like most ski-resort towns, Jackson has plenty of shopping for outdoor wear (Teton Mountaineering, Jackson Hole Sports), however what makes this Wyoming town stand out are its art galleries. The Meyer-Milagros Gallery is a newer addition to the Jackson art market and shouldn’t be missed. Click here for a full list of galleries featuring antiques, Western and contemporary art in the Jackson area.

For the Non-Skier
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only ways to enjoy Wyoming’s great outdoors. Grand Teton National Park is full of footpaths that meander through mountains, under aspens and alongside Jenny Lake. During winter months, participate in ranger-guided snowshoe walks or cross-country skiing. In the summer, ride the white water of Snake River. Upper Snake is a calm, leisurely course that allows moose and elk sightings; the rapids of lower Snake are for the more adventurous paddler.

Biggest Bang for Your Buck
If you and 3 friends are heading to Jackson Hole for the first time, take advantage of their new 4th Flies Free promotion. As its name suggests, the fourth member of your party will receive free airfare before April 2011. Check here for seasonal promotions on lodging, lifts, airfare and rentals.

Travel Channel Tip
Choose your trails wisely. Jackson Hole is an expert’s paradise. The Sublette Quad and East Ridge Double service the summit of Rendezvous and connect to some of Jackson’s celebrated double blacks, namely Corbet’s Couloir, which features a 20-foot free fall that drops skiers inside a 10-foot-wide, 55-degree slope. However, beginners ride Teewinot Quad and Eagle’s Rest to Jackson’s only novice area. There are a few runs making the area big enough for group lessons and avoid forcing beginners to navigate around trees—or other beginners.

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