Snow King Ski Area
Snow King Resort is a community hill with big mountain terrain. Overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee, Snow King itself overshadows the town of Jackson. Snow King looms over the town and dominates the view from streets below. Its lower slopes plunge into downtown Jackson with an alarming steepness that routinely intrigues those Jackson Hole Mountain Resort visitors that find their way from Teton Village into downtown Jackson for dinner. “Wow, that’s steep” is a regular refrain from such guests who, after first being surprised that there was another ski resort so close, are impressed by the pitches cascading into town.
Unsurprisingly for a mountain of this size, Snow King is easy to navigate. The Big Cougar Triple and Summit Chairlift leave from the day lodge base and most of the mountain is skiable in a single day.
With a day lift ticket roughly half the price of Jackson Hole and less expensive than Grand Targhee, Snow King makes a perfect add-on to a trip to either, particulary on the day of arrival or departure. While one or two days will easily be enough to ski Snow King’s terrain, even Jackson Hole regulars will find Snow King a refreshingly grassroots alternative.
Snow King Beginner Skiing
While Snow King is certainly most well known for its expert skiing, the resort does offer some limited beginner skiing. Snow King offers an attractively inexpensive alternative for families wishing to introduce their children to the sport, but not willing to pay top dollar for Jackson Hole’s expert skier-focused ski school. True novices are served by a surface lift at the base of the resort, More confident beginners can utilize the Rafferty Chairlift to access one trail. Given the relatively limited amount of beginner terrain, true beginners will likely be bored after a full day.
Snow King Intermediate Skiing
Intermediate skiers have slightly more options than beginners. The easier intermediate trails can be found off the Big Cougar chairlift. Blue square skiing at Snow King is mainly on wide open slopes – no twisty New England style trails to be found. Unfortunately, intermediates will not be able to ski the terrain on the top of the mountain, severely reducing the resort’s skiable vertical drop. While some beginners might be accustomed to skiing near the base of the resort, intermediates will find the skiing at Snow King to be
Snow King Expert Skiing
Snow King is an anomaly amongst community hills. It is the rare “small” mountain whose expert terrain outshines its green and blue slopes. While certainly not in a class with Jackson Hole, experts will be surprised to learn that Snow King’s FIS course is the steepest north-facing course in the continental United States. Steep groomersr and mogul runs cascade a leg-burning 1500’+ down into the base area with hardly any runout.
If skiing at Jackson Hole a day at Snow King should not be considered as an alternative to a rest day. The terrain is steep enough to beat up even seasoned skiers. As it receives markedly less snow than Jackson Hole, Snow King’s steep terrain often skis more like an East Coast mountain than a true destination Western resort. Expect firmer conditions with tightly packed moguls.
Snow King Restaurants & Bars
The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is one of the iconic watering holes in all of ski country. With a long row of bar stools topped with saddles (complete with stirrups), you can apres-ski like a real 19th century cowboy. Please be aware, however, that Wyoming has very strict liquor laws. Minors, even if they are not drinking, are not allowed into the bar.
Snow King Village
Jackson is an authentic Wyoming frontier town and retains much of the character of the Old West. Cowboy hats and boots are on sale in almost every storefront and seen on many of the locals. A stroll through the historic town is a must for any visitors to the region. Snow King Resort is only 6 blocks from the downtown.
Snow King also offers a snow-tubing park, snow biking trails and an ice-climbing wall as well as being home to the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb each March.
Snow King Accommodation
The Snow King Hotel is located near the base of the mountain in the heart of historic downtown Jackson. The recently updated hotel evokes the feel of the great lodges of the American National Park system. It offers an outdoor pool and 2 hot tubs and the most convenient choice for those looking to ski at Snow King.
Grand View Lodge at Snow King Resort, sister property to Snow King Hotel, provides a vacation rental alternative to Snow King Hotel’s hotel offerings. Guests at the 4-star Grand View Lodge enjoy access to all of Snow King Hotel’s amentities, including a heated pool and hot tubs.
Getting to Snow King
Located less than 15 miles from Teton Village and the Jackson Hole Airport, Snow King is an easy add-on to a vacation to Jackson Hole. Moreover, the slopes are located within walking distance of the entire town of Jackson.
Snow King Resort Statistics
Top: 7,808 ft (2,380 m)
Bottom: 6,237 ft (1,901 m)
Vertical: 1,571 ft (479 m)
Skiable Area: 400 ac
Annual Snowfall: 150 in
Lifts: 4 (3 chairlifts, 1 surface lift)
Snow King Pros and Cons
+ strong expert terrain
+ intimate feel
+ ability to walk into Town of Jackson for lunch and apres ski
– limited beginner terrain
– limited overall acreage
Updated for Winter 2014-2015 – David B. Cronheim