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What Not To Do in the Tetons

Don't be "That Guy" during your visit to Jackson Hole. Here's what NOT to do in the Tetons... all taken from real life. Hint: if a bull elk looks ready to charge, do not approach.
What Not to Do in the Tetons

First Tip: Don't Be That Guy

It doesn’t matter if you’re at a dinner party, a high-school function, or on the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: you don’t want to be That Guy.  While you may have felt like dying of humiliation the day after you were That Guy at senior prom, you can actually die if you are That Guy in Jackson Hole.

But who is That Guy?

You know him.  He’s totally clueless, a little bit out of control and not prone to making the best decisions. So how do you avoid being That Guy—or worse, being mistaken for That Guy on the slopes or trails?

We've picked the brains of our local resources (see: locals) to help you avoid the sometimes dangerous, always moronic ways of "That Guy” during your time in the Hole.    

Ben Cavet Skiing the Moguls

There are no stupid questions?

  • That is snow on the mountains.  Yes, in July.  Yes, we pinky swear.
  • There is no nighttime light show on the Tetons.  Disregard what that “lifty” wearing the Grateful Dead hat told you.  
  • The Snake River does not loop around like the Lazy River pool at a Vegas Hotel, so please do not ask your raft guide whether you can leave your belongings on the bank and pick them up when you pass by again.  National Park, not water park.  
  • Ever wonder whether your tongue would actually stick to the ice-cold flagpole in the Town Square?  Spoiler alert: it does, and what follows is less fun than a trip to the dentist.   
  • Don’t believe the bitter locals who tell you that moguls are a natural byproduct of heavy skiing. The mogul-making machine is actually a mysterious candy-colored hulk that runs on a mixture of Buffalo sauce and PBR.  For pictures, see early Dr. Seuss.  
  • If you’re not at the top of Corbet’s Couloir and your hair begins to stand on end, you need to seek lower ground, immediately.  The weather in Jackson Hole is powerful, fast moving and unpredictable.  Just because it was sunny five minutes ago doesn’t mean there’s not an electrical storm crackling just on the other side of that peak. 
  • Park Rangers are not ninjas.  They do not round up the wild animals each afternoon, place them in kennels for the night and set them free early in the morning for all of the visitors to photograph.  
  • No one is allowed to sled off the top of the Tram.  Sure, you’d get to the bottom of the mountain in a sled… just not the kind of sled you want to be in.
  • As cool as shape-shifting ungulates would be, deer, moose and elk are all separate species.  Deer do not turn into elk at any specific altitude, nor do elk morph into moose under the full moon.  You’re thinking of werewolves.
  • “Is avalanche gear really that important? I’m the third best skier in Minnesota and I’ll just be out of bounds for a second…”  Yes. Yes it is.
  • It doesn’t matter how perfect next year’s Christmas card will be: Don’t place your children near wild animals for the perfect photo-op.  The antler arches in Town Square will do just fine.
Sleeping Indian, Gros Ventre Range
  • It’s hard to believe how perfect the Sleeping Indian’s evocative ridgeline really is.  It’s so hard to believe, in fact, that some folks wonder aloud whether or not the Chamber of Commerce paid a team of sculptors to carve the shape of a reclining Native American warrior into the mountainside. They didn’t. It's 100% naturally formed, and all the more spectacular for it.
  • Bear mace does not work like bug spray.  Unless your vacation companions are wild, dangerous grizzlies, do not spray them.  Ever.  Another tip: be sure to spray it downwind.  You don’t want to accidentally mace yourself while a bear is charging you.  Just saying.   
  • No, you can’t surf down avalanches.  This isn’t SeaWorld, bro.      
  • Remember that half-marathon you ran two summers ago? Bad news: you couldn’t outrun a charging bear then, and you definitely can’t now.  Always carry mace and place the puniest members of your hiking group at the back of the line.  No one said Darwinism was going to be pretty.  
  • If you can’t see what’s below that ledge, assume it’s a yawning chasm of doom and act accordingly.  As in, carefully avoid it.  Leave the cliff-jumping for Warren Miller and those crazy guys in squirrel suits.  

But really...

Use your noggin and don't hesitate to ask a local for help.  No one wants to monkey-wrench their vacation with a silly mistake. Oh, and watch out for yetis.