Jackson Hole has three ski resorts, each offering completely unique views, terrain, and experiences.
There’s a reason some people dedicate their lives to skiing. Whether carving down fresh corduroy on a bluebird day, storm skiing in powder so deep it fills your mouth (because, as much as you try, you can’t not smile in conditions like these), or enjoying a groomer with friends, skiing is exhilarating. Sliding down a mountain on snow, you can’t help but be in the moment, reveling in the crisp alpine air and potential for hot chocolate after the next run.
Wyoming’s first ski resort was in Jackson Hole: Snow King Mountain opened with a single rope tow in 1939. Jackson Hole is also home to Wyoming’s first (and only) tram: Big Red at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort started carrying skiers to the 10,450-foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain in 1965. In 1969, Grand Targhee Resort opened and brought skiing to the west side of the Tetons.
All three of these resorts welcome skiers of all ages and ability levels from November to April and offer distinctly different experiences. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, 12 miles from downtown Jackson, is often included on annual round-ups of the best ski resorts in North America. Its vast and varied terrain includes runs for every type and level of skier, and it has the greatest number of lifts, runs, acreage, and amenities. It’s also home to the world-famous Corbet’s Couloir, a run so steep you have to jump into it, and the Sweetwater Gondola, which is dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers.
Grand Targhee Resort is in Wyoming, but you have to drive about an hour up and over Teton Pass and through Idaho to get to it. It’s famous for its low-density, high-fluff powder and local ski hill feel. Families love its low-key vibe.
Snow King Resort is the smallest of the three resorts and the unofficial “town hill”—just five blocks from the Town Square. It’s great for visitors who want skiing to be just one of many activities while on vacation in Jackson (rather than have their entire vacation be focused on skiing), and its magic carpet at the summit makes it one of the most picturesque places to take your first turns. Snow King is also where the local Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club racers train; its steep, north-facing runs make for a racer’s playground.
How to have a great resort skiing experience in Jackson Hole
Plan your lift access ahead of time. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort limits the number of skiers on the mountain on any given day; day lift tickets and spots for Ikon passholders often sell out in advance. To ensure you get to ski on the day you want, pre-purchase your day tickets. Resort season passholders aren’t required to make reservations. At all three resorts, pre-purchasing tickets can also be less expensive than buying day-of lift tickets.
Use public transportation
If possible, carpool or use public transportation. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s app has real-time information on how full its parking lots are, and prices range from $15 to $40. Parking at Snow King and Grand Targhee Resorts is free.
Make sure to drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated doesn’t only keep headaches at bay, but it also helps prevent your muscles from cramping.
Give your legs a break
Stop for the day before your legs are tired. Many ski injuries happen on the last run of the day when muscles are their most fatigued.
If the temperature in the valley is scary cold and skiing seems like a bad idea, know that in the winter, Jackson Hole often gets temperature inversions. It might be zero degrees or colder on the valley floor, but a balmy 20-some degrees at the top of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram or Grand Targhee’s Dreamcatcher lift. Before bailing on a day of skiing because it’s too cold, make sure to look at the weather conditions at 10,000 feet.