How can the holidays be anything but happy in Jackson Hole? A myriad of merry abounds from beneath the twinkling lights encircling the famous elk antlers in Town Square to the steep slopes of the area’s trio of ski resorts — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain and Grand Targhee.
Country Living magazine recently named Jackson Hole one of America's "20 Best Small Towns for Christmas." Ranked No. 4, the article says of Jackson Hole: "No town lights up for the holidays quite like Jackson. The town at the base of the Tetons has a spectacular Town Square any time of the year, with monumental arches of elk antlers at the four corners. But around the holidays, the arches are wrapped in strings of lights to illuminate the nights with a festive glow. Stick around until New Year's Eve if you want to see the torch parade of ski instructors snaking down the mountain at the town's two ski resorts."
Here are a few activities to help make your seasonal vacation bright.
Horse-drawn Sleigh Ride, Anyone?
Oh, what fun you can have in a one-horse open sleigh, jingling and (slowly) dashing across the snowy expanse of the National Elk Refuge.
From December 14th and every day thereafter —except Christmas Day — visitors can get up close and personal with the thousands of wapiti who call the elk refuge home each winter. Rides are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Each red sleigh can carry up to 16 people. There are cushioned benches to sit on and cozy, colorful wool blankets to drape over your lap during the one-hour ride. Dress warmly and bring your camera. Tickets are sold at the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache Street. (Read More)
Jolly Old St. Nick is holding court on Town Square every night starting December 15th, from 5 to 7 p.m. until Christmas Eve, when he then needs to depart to fly around the world. Join Santa in his workshop at the Stage Stop building on the southwest corner of the square.
Your family can have breakfast with Santa at the Wort Hotel on Sunday, December 22nd. It's first come seating and reservations are required by calling 307-733-2190.
Santa Claus will also be dropping by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort — he is literally scheduled to rappel out of the Aerial Tram! — on Christmas Eve at 4:30 p.m. And on Christmas Day, you and the kids can even ski with the big man in red on Teewinot between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Look for him near the base of the gondolas.
The famous Jackson Hole Playhouse—named one of the "Top Attractions in Jackson Hole" by TripAdvisor—will present its annual Christmas show from December 14th through 31st. (No shows on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, however.) The dinner theater's musical comedy offering for the holidays is called "Christmas Survival Kit."
Tickets for dinner and the show in the Playhouse's Saddle Rock Saloon are $80 for adults, $60 for children ages 13 to 17, and $50 for children ages 5 to 12. Seating is very limited, so act now! Call the box office at 307-733-6994 or visit jacksonholeplayhouse.com.
Dancers’ Workshop will present "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" at the Center for the Arts on
Friday, December 13th, at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 14th, at 2 p.m., and again that evening at 7, and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 15th. There will be a special “Meet the Characters” autograph session on stage following the Saturday matinee performance. For tickets, visit jhcenterforthearts.org
The Wort Hotel will host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in the Silver Dollar Showroom from 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, December 21st. There will be live music and a prize for the ugliest sweater. The hotel will also present a Holiday 80's Party in the Showroom with a local 80's band playing starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 28th. There is no cover fee for either event!
New Year’s Eve: ‘Parades’ and Pyrotechnics
Start your New Year’s Eve off in an amazing way by viewing a mountain torchlight parade at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain or Grand Targhee. Each parade is followed up by an equally awe-inspiring fireworks display.
Snow King hosts the oldest torchlight parade in the valley. Since the 1950’s, intrepid, expert Jackson Hole skiers have ridden to the top of the mountain and then—torches in hand—made their way slowly down the town hill in dramatic, fiery fashion.
The parade starts at 6:15 p.m. and fireworks are at 7.
Over in Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is set to host a “Glow Worm Parade” at 5:30 p.m. for children up to age 14. Glow sticks substitute for torchlights as the kids traverse down the Eagles Nest run from the top of the new Sweetwater Gondola.
At 6 p.m. the resort’s employees will treat revelers to their traditional torchlight procession on Apres-Vous, with a fireworks show to follow in the Village Commons.
Over in Alta, Wyoming, at Grand Targhee Resort, the Kid’s Glowstick Parade starts the New Year’s Eve fun off at 4:30 p.m. The adult’s torchlight event fires up at 5:30.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will also present its annual "Gondi Gala" on New Year's Eve from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The cost is $75 per person. Dress warmly for the gondola ride!
Bonus Holiday Fun
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is hosting some family-friendly apres ski events during Christmas week. On December 22nd, kids can make ornaments at the Kids' Ranch from 4 to 5 p.m.; on the 23rd you can skate with Santa for free on the Rink on the Commons from 4 to 5 p.m.; on December 26th meet birds of prey from Teton Raptor Center from 4 to 5 p.m. at TBD; on December 30th from 4 to 6 p.m., kids young and old are invited to ice skate on the Village Commons rink, then warm up by the fire with free hot cocoa and cookies (skate rentals will be free, too!); and on the 27th from 4 to 5 p.m., go behind the scenes with snowcats and avalanche dogs at the Kids Ranch.
For more detailed information, read our blog post on all the holiday happenings in the Village.