Jan. 31, 2013… Board Jackson Hole’s 100-person tram on the first powder day in weeks, and the energy is nearly as intense as the start gates of the Kentucky Derby. Led Zeppelin’s music echoes through the tramcar, as the 4,139-foot vertical, nine-minute ride whisks skiers and boarders up to some of the most amazing ski terrain in the lower 48.
“Welcome to the top of Jackson Hole ski area, recommended for experts only,” the tram attendant announces as the crowd readies to exit the tram. “We have five inches of new snow!”
The crowd erupts in cheer. What a great start to a ski day.
To visitors, Jackson, Wyo., is known for views of the Teton Range, elk antler arches, a steep ski mountain and The Cowboy Bar. To locals, the town is known for its hardcore-yet-friendly community, vast open spaces and exciting sporting opportunities.
For the Big Sky Weekly’s new spotlight series featuring nearby mountain towns, we have come up with some criteria that make a weekend getaway worth leaving our own gorgeous mountain and terrain.
Some of the key elements are: a comfortable bed, family activities, amazing meals, insider tips, places to get a ‘deal’ and how to’s. We recently sent a team to Wyoming to explore its jewel of a ski town, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
When the Weekly went to press on Feb. 6, JHMR had a 72-inch base and 256 inches for its season total. More snow was in the forecast.
WHERE TO STAY:
Editor’s Pick – Four Seasons Resort
The name says it all. When it comes to a resort property, Four Seasons at Jackson Hole is truly one of the finest in the ski industry. Location, location, location. The runs are groomed to the doorstep of the Base Camp, which is where your ski day begins and ends. Four Seasons hospitality and service includes luxurious rooms, an 11,000 sqare-foot spa, on-property restaurants and an après bar. For families, this resort is an oasis. Its amazing staff can help with everything from equipment rentals, lessons and activities for all ages. If you’re looking for the luxury resort with the best access to JHMR’s ski slopes, Four Seasons Resort is the spot.
Tip – Nespresso coffee in the morning and heated lockers for your robe poolside. Ski vacation dream come true! Ski and stay packages offered throughout the season.
Locals’ Pick – Fireside Resort
Looking for a different resort experience during your stay in Jackson? Try Fireside Resort just off of Wilson Road. Ultra modern, yet rustic cabins frame this quaint little ‘glamping’ community, giving Jackson a refreshing twist on luxury lodging. Each cabin is equipped with a cozy mini kitchen and living space, ultra modern designer bathroom and master bedroom that combines unique touches to provide plenty of storage space. Don’t forget to bring your sweet tooth, because your private wood burning fire pit outside comes with all of the fixin’s for s’mores… complimentary of course.
WHERE TO EAT:
On-mountain – Terra Cafe
Located slopeside in the contemporary and elegant Hotel Terra, this understated café serves up a great organic breakfast with everything from eggs to lattes to smoothies.
Tip – The banana and peanut butter smoothie with a scoop of soy protein powder will carry you through a ski day.
In town – Café Genevieve
One block east of the town square, this log cabin serves up a hearty meal. Go for the Spanish Frittata or the Chicken and Waffles supported by a Mimosa.
Locals’ pick – Pearl Street Bagels
Grab a fresh baked bagel and a cup of coffee and be on the mountain fast. This landmark bagel shop is the place to gather in the morning, with its hip vibe, quality product and reasonable price. Located in the Town Square and in Wilson and open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
On-mountain – The Spur
Teton Mountain Lodge’s in-house restaurant the Spur offers world-class, Western-inspired cuisine in a unique and lively atmosphere.
Tip – Order the half grilled cheese with salad and a bloody mary with bacon. Yep, bacon!
Locals’ pick – Teton Thai
This family-run business located in Teton Village serves up the best Thai food in the valley. A favorite for over a decade, it has strong loyalty from locals and visitors alike.
Tip – The Masaman and Panang are must-haves!
Another dining experience creation from the Fine Dining Restaurant Group, this Italian restaurant is the perfect end to a powder day. Chef Joseph O’Connor has created a diverse menu with everything from house-made pastas, wood-oven fired pizzas, beautiful salads and fresh fish. The atmosphere is cozy with a small setting and sophisticated ski bums serving up an elegant meal.
Tip – Try this for a meal…. Fried Stuffed Olives, followed by an entrée of Crispy Lamb Shank, and the Osteria chocolate mousse cake to finish things off.
In town – Rendezvous Bistro
Known as a locals’ favorite for years, this Bistro style restaurant serves up some of the best food in the valley. The raw bar and other menu items like baby octopus will test and reward customers. Daily Plate specials are always a hit and the private dining area is perfect for groups.
Tip – Try the Tuna Tartare with a glass (or bottle) of EOS Chardonnay. No need to say anymore.
Locals’ pick – Nikai
Sushi in ski towns is like powder on the slopes – just right! Two blocks off the Town Square, Nikai is a trusted source for amazing sushi and Asian inspired menu. The comfortable and contemporary setting is a welcome site in this cowboy town.
Tip – Try the Firecracker and Big Kahuna rolls. Get an order of the Sake from Oregon – best bang for the buck!
Top five “Must do’s” when visiting Jackson
1. Ski the new Casper Quad Lift
It accesses some great intermediate terrain and stellar, long groomers, including the Moran face.
2. Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Saddle up at the famous landmark in Town Square. Check milliondollarcowboybar.com for a live music schedule.
3. Inversion Yoga
Hosting a variety of classes in two studios, this Inversion Yoga has everything from flow classes to hot yoga. The downtown studio has showers, a smoothie bar and retail. What a great way to start a day or relax after skiing. inversionyoga.com
4. Visit the National Elk Refuge and take a sleigh ride
Imagine riding a sleigh through the open fields of the refuge, in the shadows of the Tetons, getting a close-up view at thousands of wintering elk. Sleigh rides run from December through April. Contact the Jackson Hole Visitor Center for tickets, open 9 to 5 daily. (307) 733-9212 fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge/JacksonHoleVisitorCenter.htm
5. Go Cross Country skiing at the Trail Creek Nordic Center
Located at the base of Teton Pass, the Trail Creek Nordic Center’s groomed loops are used by the Jackson Hole Nordic Team for training and races, as well as by community members for a fee. For information on all nordic skiing opportunities in the Jackson area visit jacksonholenet.com.
Next stop for weekend getaway – Alta, Utah