|Hard-cores hike a boot trail to bowls on the backside of Jackson Hole|
|Jackson Hole is a skier's mountain!|
|Big groomer boulevards are super fun to ski in the sunshine. Heading down to the Thunder Chair.|
I managed to break away to ski Jackson Hole recently, and it was a real treat! I've got a lot of great memories from skiing Jackson over the years, even going back to when I was a high school senior and skied 6 days of fantastic spring corn in April ... an experience that cemented my feelings about going to college out West.
And then there was that time when I blew out my ACL on the first run of an 18-inch powder day in the 90's, but that was a mere blip in the whole time horizon.
I visited on a bluebird day, Friday, March 3rd, and it was so great to be there on a day when you could see the Tetons in all of their splendor, and experience the whole 360 degree view of being in Jackson Hole. It's definitely one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, in my opinion. And Jackson is pure and simple, a skier's mountain. They have something for everybody, including plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain for destination skiers from all over the nation, if not the world, but they have a ton of black diamond terrain, double black diamond steep shots and chutes, hike-to chutes and big powder basins for the experts.
On top of that, Jackson has 4,139 feet of vertical, so it's like more than 2X the vertical of Bogus or Brundage ... you might try to ski top to bottom, but it's going to eat your legs, even more so than Sun Valley.
To start, I took the Bridger Gondola up the east side of the mountain, and took a cat track over to the Thunder Chairlift, one of my all-time favorites. While we're riding up the gondola, there was a young ski instructor who had two of his own kids in there with us, and he's talking about how easy it was to jump into Corbet's Couloir for his kids, who were maybe 6 and 9? I'm like you've got to be kidding me! He's like, "Oh there's so much snow this year, it's easy to drop in."
It's true about the snow ... Jackson had a chart on its web page indicating that it had received something like 499 inches of snow, compared to Alta in the 450 range and others in the 400 range ... so they really got nailed this year. And now they're celebrating "March Radness" 500+ inches of snow. The routine is to "Shred Party Repeat" day upon day upon day.
From the Thunder chair, I skied the Thunder bump runs, taking me back to my teens, and then I hit the Alta chutes and other fun black diamonds from the Sublette quad. There wasn't any fresh powder, so I avoided the Hobacks, but boy, they can be something else with lots of fresh snow. HUGE amounts of open glades and tree skiing with a steep fall line. I toured around Casper quad, the Teton quad and the Apres Vous quad as all of the snow was turning to perfect easy-skiing spring conditions. And there was no one around on those lifts, compared to Thunder and Sublette and the Tram.
In my mind, it's great to experience different ski areas to gain different perspectives on skiing. Jackson will test your skills in a way that few mountains will. Enjoy the photos and reserve time to ski Jackson and maybe hit Targhee on a double-dip spring weekend to put a nice exclamation point on your ski season.
See the Jackson Hole Chamber for information on food and lodging. Hopefully there are some special spring deals to be had! Jackson Hole is open through April 9th.
|More hike-to terrain visible from the main ski area ... ready to drop in?|
|Looking up the barrel of Corbet's Couloir ...|
|Broader view of Corbet's Couloir|
|Looking back toward Jackson and Snow King Resort|
|Sleeping Indian Chief across the valley in the Gros Ventres Mountain Range|
|Beautiful bowl all skied up from fresh powder earlier in the week|
|Salute to the Grand Teton and the Teton Range|