Jackson Hole ski resort has a big reputation! Challenging inbounds skiing, stunning craggy mountain views, big vertical drops, great snow and more advanced and extreme terrain than any other resort in the USA. Jackson Hole is where expert skiers and boarders abound and the alpine lifestyle rules.
First impressions are likely to confirm Jackson Hole’s reputation as a mountain to be reckoned with, as those arriving by plane will be treated to a spectacular show when landing right in front of the craggy Teton Range – America’s most photographed mountains.
In short, Jackson Hole has some of the most challenging in-bounds skiing in North America, with more advanced and extreme skiing than most skiers know what to do with. The mountain has muscular, rugged peaks with stark granite walls; high-alpine bowls; 4,139 vertical feet (1,262 m), and 2,500 acres (1,012 ha), surrounded by 120 square miles (310 sq km) of open-gate backcountry.
Many marked runs at Jackson Hole would be permanently closed areas at other resorts, if they even had the comparable terrain to begin with, and intermediate and beginner skiers should be aware that Jackson Hole’s ski area is a full step up in difficulty from many other resorts. Jackson Hole is to North America what Chamonix is to Europe: expert skiers and boarders abound and the alpine lifestyle rules.
But, don’t let Jackson’s fearsome reputation keep you from experiencing one of North America’s absolute best. There are a decent number of blue runs available off each of the mountain’s upper lifts, and there is a very gentle skiing zone that beginner’s will be able to easily access from the main base area.
Jackson Hole’s modern ski lifts more than handles the crowds, which tend to be smaller than many similar resorts as the mountain does a great job of managing capacity through dynamic pricing and pass limitations. Like any ski resort there will still be crowds on weekend powder days, but it usually eases up after the morning rush.
At the base of the ski area is Teton Village, known to most as just, “the Village.” This developed community of accommodations, ski shops, apres ski bars and restaurants does a good job of providing everything you might need for a ski-stay. Teton Village is convenient for the ski area, but if you’re looking for a true Old West experience with even more shops, restaurants and nightlife, the town of Jackson (aka “Jackson” or “town”) is just a 20-30 min drive down the road. An added bonus is its accessibility to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, which are even better to visit in winter than in summer.
Due to Teton County’s year-round popularity, getting to Jackson Hole is fairly easy. Direct commercial flights to Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)are available from major hubs, and there are even some direct flights from the East Coast. Getting to Town (9 miles / 15 min) or Teton Village (21 miles / 35 min) requires some sort of private transportation, either provided by a hotel, rental car, taxi or ride-share, as there is no public option.
Jackson Hole Strengths & Weaknesses
+ Some of the best, lift-accessible expert terrain in North America
+ Close to the airport and several direct flight options, including from New York
+ Short transfer time (35 minutes) from Jackson Hole Airport
+ Authentic Western town,with vibrant apres-ski
+ Legendary bars notably Mangy Moose and Million Dollar Cowboy
+ Other activities within Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge
– 90% of ski terrain is for experts (50%) and intermediates (40%)
– Limited terrain suitable for beginners and early intermediates