Now don’t get me wrong, Jackson Hole is an amazing ski resort. I have taken 3 separate trips there as recently as last year, and it’s pretty unique. But the #1 all around resort in North America? I don’t think so. Why? Because to be the #1 resort, you need to have something for everyone.
Here are the problems: First, don’t be surprised (as I was the 1st time I went) that the town for Jackson Hole is nowhere near Jackson Hole Ski Resort, they are 12 miles or about 20 minutes apart. The small village at the base of the resort is Teton Village. This village is cute and has some nice lodging options, but only a handful of restaurants and even less real shops. The Mangy Moose is great but you can only eat and drink there so many times. So you will have to travel for most of your dinners and shopping. But, in its defense, the town has great shopping, bars, and restaurants. Be sure to check out the Million Dollar Cowboy bar.
Problem number 2: The area is not nearly as large as some of the previous Ski Magazine winners and top picks like Whistler, Deer Valley, Snowmass or Vail. In spite of what Ski Magazine says, there are not enough runs for beginners and intermediates for a week of skiing, in my opinion. If you’re a family with young kids or you are looking for a lot of blue groomers, you will probably be disappointed.
Problem number 3: One of the coolest things about Jackson Hole is that it has both a Tram and a Gondola. The Tram takes you on an awesome ride up to 10,450 feet with about 100 other people from the bottom to the top. But you better be a good skier because when you get off you will have nothing but mostly black and double black options. The gondola, which does have blue run options, only takes you up to 9,095 feet. Jackson Hole also allows out of bounds skiing but again not for the non advanced level skier.
The 2nd time I was in Jackson Hole I was testing skis for K2 and they provided us with a guide. This is definitely the way to experience Jackson Hole. There are a ton of real great runs and hidden treasures that you would probably never find on your own.
So if you’re a good skier who is looking for some of the most amazing on mountain runs, Jackson Hole might just be for you. But if you are a family or couple looking for a relaxing ski vacation complete with lots of amenities, like:
- convenient shopping
- fine dining
- ski school to drop off the kids
- other actives like ice skating and sledding, and not having to deal with transportation
then I would recommend Whistler, Aspen, Steamboat, Snowmass, Park City, or Deer Valley.
Just my opinion.