Jackson is not your average mountain town. Sporting world class skiing, fishing, hiking, biking and all the activities your little heart could desire, one could forget that this was not so long ago a lonely little western town. Fear not, while interest in Jackson has sky-rocked in the past few decades, the town has managed to maintain its cowboy charm.
Ski Resort/Backcountry Terrain
Perhaps the most famous couloir in the world, certainly in North America. Corbets is named after Jackson Hole ski instructor and mountain guide Barry Corbet who famously spotted the narrow crease of snow shaped like an upside down funnel and remarked, “Someday someone will ski that.”. As you approach the top of the tram, Corbet’s is in prime view. When it is open, it’s only a few turns off the top and usually leads to some of the best powder on turns on the mountain given that only the adventurous choose to navigate its tricky entrance. In recent years, Corbets has gained even more fame as it has become the arena which hosts the Kings & Queens of Corbets. There are certainly many more challenging couloirs around the world, but few as infamous.
Tower Three Chute
Many Jackson skiers are partial to either the Thunder or the Sublette lift for their powder day laps. For those who prefer Thunder, Tower Three is a nasty little chute that is usually traced out by 10am on a good day. What starts as a wide glade turns into a tight turner before opening up in the bowl below.
A collection of chutes (Alta 1, 2, 3) that will leave any powder jockey frothing from the mount. Pick any of these shoots on a good day and you are likely to enjoy your run. Alta 1 is the most popular given its steepness and showboating potential with visibility from Sublette chairlift.
The real cojones run. Sitting only a few meters down from Corbet’s lies the run that separates the men from the boys. Unlike Corbets, this run is not open to the public and can only be accessed by expert skiers who make special arrangements with the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol. The drop can be about 40 feet and you land on a narrow double fall line. As you can imagine, falling here is not really an option. Not for the faint of heart. Check it out here.
The classic backcountry run. Glory is a SE facing bowl in Teton Pass. The terrain is quite exposed and is not advisable to be skied when there is avalanche danger. That said, when it’s on, it is an easy pre-work/tourist length bootpack up the Glory East Ridge. Almost of a rite of passage for anyone who spends time in Jackson.
Exhibition Run (Snow King Mountain)
The local ski hill in town, affectionately known as “Town Hill” often gets overlooked by its vast neighbor. However, its most formidable trail, Exhibition Run, is said to have one of the steepest sections in all of North America. As the name suggests, this run is in prime viewing for any and all yard sales that usually result in skiers tumbling all the way down to the Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon in town.
The quintessential après spot. This local turned everyone haunt at the base of Teton Village is world renowned. Pull up here anytime during happy hour and you are likely to be faced with a crowd swapping stories that greatly exaggerate what they actually did that day. You are also likely to find great music, large plates of nachos, and a couple of misplaced snow bunnies.
The charmer in town, SRG is the place where ski bums with visiting parents share the dining room with Hollywood celebrities and Wall Street honchos. The food is delicious and the wine and spirits are top rated.
From the taxidermy to the saddles for bar stools, this place is a piece of Jackson Hole folklore. Best for those days when your legs are taking a break or you venture into town after a nice dinner.
Also known as “Top of the World Waffles”, some may call this stop a tourist trap. However, after riding up to 4,139 vertical feet, some nourishment before hitting Rendezvous Bowl never hurt anybody. Furthermore, if you are planning a proper “tram lap” (full run to the base of the 4139 feet) a couple waffles might help with the leg burn.
Not your typical ski resort, but if you are a fan of Aman Resorts, then you will likely want to stay here. An oasis located well outside of town, Amangiri is what a hotel would like in the show Westworld. This zen oasis meets western lodge is open year round, but perhaps most popular in summer when shuttling to JHMR for early tram laps is not a priority.
The Parrot was a place with a passionate following. If you stayed here once, you likely stayed here every time. With its rustic charm, this boutique digs was always full of adventurers and friends of locals. Sadly, this staple in the town of Jackson was burned down due to a fire in November of 2019. The family who owns the lodge is committed to rebuilding it and we hope to see happier days for the Parrot again soon.
New in town, the Caldera House has the best location in all of Jackson Hole for the snow sport enthusiasts — directly beneath the tram. With retro-cool credentials, this tiny hotel (only 8 rooms) is generally booked out well in advance for popular weeks. If you are looking to see and be seen, Caldera is the perfect place for you.
Known by ski bums worldwide, The Hostel is what skiing is all about. No frills, prime location, and filled with memories + local beer. The Hostel was immortalized by Benny Wilson, a local legend who also was the founder of the Jackson Hole Air Force.
HELI Pro Tip
Silent.Swift.Deep: the story of Jackson Hole Air Force and the hardcore ski culture of the 80s and 90s in the United States. A must watch film for any ski enthusiast.