Skiing in Jackson Hole—with an average snowfall of more than 500 inches—falls well into the world-class category. Skiers from all over the world make pilgrimages to the Tetons for the incredible snow and terrain. Whether you’re strapping on two boards or one, you’ll be beyond happy you chose a winter ski vacation here.
Where? Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village; Snow King Mountain Resort in the town of Jackson; Grand Targhee Mountain Resort in Alta, Wyoming (accessed by driving over the Teton Pass from Jackson)
How Much?: $59 up to $158, depending upon which mountain you choose to ski; reduced rates for children, seniors, half-day tickets, and purchasing online. Kids age 5 and under ski free at all three resorts.
Intensity: Easy to high adrenaline
Highlights: The views of the Tetons from the top of each mountain and powder for days.
What Are My Options?
Three's the charm out here; you can mix and match your mountains with relative ease.
• Snow King Mountain: Known as the “Town Hill,” Snow King Mountain offers a lot for such a small area. The oldest ski area in Wyoming is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019. In addition to skiing, the King is a fun-filled destination for an afternoon of winter activities such as snow tubing and a mountain roller coaster. The hill boasts one of the steepest sustained pitches, top-to-bottom, of any ski area in the lower 48. A favorite lunchtime destination for locals, it hosts many national ski teams during the early season and local, state and regional Alpine races throughout the winter. The King also offers night skiing until 7 p.m. The resort is open from the first week in December through the end of March.
• Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: The 53-year-old ski area had been named the No. 1 Ski Resort in North America by Forbes magazine eight years in a row. Considered the closest to a European ski experience within the U.S., JHMR boasts acres of expert terrain and out-of-bounds skiing, plus the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the country: 4,139 feet. About 22 minutes by car or bus from the Jackson Town Square, it is home to perhaps North America’s most iconic lift, the bright red Aerial Tram. It boasts the country’s second-longest vertical rise served by a single lift. As a counterpoint to the vast and challenging terrain accessed via the tram, the high-speed Bridger and Sweetwater gondolas offer access to acres of moderate, groomed slopes for the intermediate skier. Lower down where things are simpler, the Teewinot chairlift provides an excellent, peaceful option for beginners to get the practice they need before exploring further. The resort is open from late November through the first week of April.
• Grand Targhee Mountain Resort: Located on the typically snowier west side of the Tetons in Alta, Wyoming, the 'Ghee is known for the most powder days of any ski area in the country! Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Targhee is tucked away on the western slope of the Tetons above Driggs, Idaho, but actually resides in the very last edge of Wyoming. With a vertical drop of 2,270 feet, it offers a mellower atmosphere with excellent skiing for all abilities and plenty of challenges if you look for them. Grand Targhee is about an hour's drive from Jackson, accessed via the scenic Teton Pass/Hwy 22 which starts in Wilson, Wyoming, and ends in Victor, Idaho. Targhee is one of the least crowded resorts you'll ever ski. The gladed skiing is excellent and there are plenty of forested areas to confidently explore. And did we mention the epic powder? The resort is open from mid-November to late April.
Traveler Tip: If you'd rather not bring your own skis, boots, and poles with you, there are several places in town where you can rent great equipment and of course rental gear is available at each resort.
When's a Good Time To Go?
Each month offers its own brand of skiing goodness. Things are relatively quiet in December/early January at all three resorts, affording you the chance to claim a trail all to yourself and little-to-no lift lines. Bonuses at each mountain are fireworks displays and torchlight parades on New Year's Eve. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, we're told the locals working there have nicknamed January "Manurary," as there seem to be numerous men coming out that month for guys-only ski weeks. February and March bring more families, as well as the start of spring skiing. Come mid-March and April you can multi-task by both skiing and working on your tan!
The Last Word
Skiing/snowboarding in Jackson Hole is legendary and you won’t regret a moment of your trip here. Every powder hound knows Jackson Hole is famous for its “cowboy powder,” so come out and experience it for yourself. You may never ski anywhere else again!
Traveler Tip: Prepare for high altitude. With the town of Jackson above 6,200 feet and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Aerial Tram taking skiers and snowboarders to an elevation of 10,450 feet, some travelers to the area may experience difficulty adjusting to the altitude. And the common misconception that drinking less water is OK because of the area’s cold climate can sometimes add to this problem. If anything, more water should be consumed to stay ahead of the ill effects of altitude sickness. To stay hydrated, you may want to limit caffeine and alcohol consumption as well.
Lastly, here is a great article on what to have in your ski jacket to be prepared and hydrated.