On Saturday, November 24th, Jackson Hole's slopes will open to skiers, many of whom come from distant corners to experience the thrill and challenge of the Grand Tetons' spectacular terrain.
Jackson's origins as a ski destination began in 1961, when Paul McCollister, a former radio advertising salesman, acquired the Crystal Springs Girl Scout Ranch at the foot of Rendezvous Mountain. McCollister had been coming to Jackson to hunt and fish since 1942, and in 1952, having succumbed to the valley's allure, purchased his first acreage for a summer home. It wasn't long before he became hooked on skiing, and in 1957, at the age of 41, retired to a 390-acre cattle ranch he acquired at the base of Shadow Mountain. McCollister became President of the Jackson Hole Ski Club, and after exhaustive studies confirmed that the Rendezvous Mountain property was ideally suited to development of a ski resort, formed the Jackson Hole Ski Corporation. In the winter of 1965, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Jackson's first slopes opened to the public. The original tram, rising 4,140 feet to the mountain's summit, an elevation of 10,450 feet, opened in the summer of 1966. It lasted for four decades and was replaced in 2008.
Today, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is universally acknowledged to be one of greatest ski destinations in the United States. Located 12 miles northwest of the town of Jackson, it is anchored by Teton Village, a collection of residences, hotels, restaurants and shops that are busy winter and summer. With an average of over 450 inches of snow a year, the resort's 116 trails lie on adjacent Rendezvous and Apres Vous mountains. Half the trails are rated expert and another forty percent intermediate, with bowls, glades and chutes offering over 4,100 steep vertical feet of skiing, the highest and most challenging continuous inbounds rise in North America. These include Corbet's Couloir, one of the best known expert ski runs in the world. Though small by resort standards, Jackson Hole has for these reasons attracted some of the world's greatest skiers, not only as visitors but as residents and instructors, and also serves as a training site for the U.S. Olympic Ski Team.
Don't overlook Snow King Mountain for a convenient ski alternative. On the south fringe of the town of Jackson, it offers 16 steep runs for both day and night skiing as well as snow tubing. It's also a stone's throw from The Bunnery, but no matter your choice of slope, be sure to stop in avant- or après-ski for a mug of Jackson Hole's most delicious hot chocolate, guaranteed to warm you up.
Click here for complete information, travel tips, pricing and deals on passes and an interactive of the trail map below. And be sure to check out the great ski videos!
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