The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had a record number of skiers this past season. Officials say the resort broke its benchmark of a half-million visits, with more than 502,000 skiers hitting the slopes since Nov. 24. That’s an increase of five percent over last year and broke the previous record set in 2008. They say they’re lucky, considering the resort only received 385 inches of snow. That’s down from 605 inches five years ago.
The Jackson Town Council will review a zip line developers have planned for public land at a meeting today. Town leaders asked Snow King Mountain Recreation to stop construction on the “Soaring Eagle Zip Line” last fall after the group started work on the 700-foot-long ride without town approval. The council could decide at a 2 p.m. workshop whether the zip line falls within the parameters of the town’s lease with Snow King Mountain’s Manuel Lopez. The lease allows “ski area uses.” “This is the town of Jackson as the owner of the property deciding how the lease should be interpreted,” Town Manager Bob McLaurin said. The question that needs to be considered is, he said, “Is the zip line an appropriate use within the lease?” Lopez believes it is. “One hundred percent of it is within land that we control,” Lopez said. “Some of it is owned by the town, but we have a lease that goes on for another 21 years. That lease allows for lifts, any kind of development.” The zip line would be similar to a ski lift, he said. Riders hang onto a pulley attached to a cable and slide from the top to the bottom of the inclined line. The top and bottom of the ride would be located on public land on the town hill. The property is leased to Lopez’s group for $1,200 a year.
Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s largest ski resort, California’s Mammoth Mountain and Snowbird in Utah are joining four other ski resorts, including Aspen-Snowmass, in the Mountain Collective program, the Aspen Skiing Co. announced Tuesday. For $349, a skier in the 2013-14 season will be able to get two days each at the seven resorts: the four above, plus existing members Alta, Utah; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Calif. The Mountain Collective pass offers a “dream proposition,” said Jeff Hanle, SkiCo spokesman.
Pass holders will be able to access 30,000 acres across 12 mountains at the same price as the 2012-13 pass, which covered the four initial resorts, a SkiCo press release says. The price may go up before next winter. Besides the two included days, buying into the Mountain Collective allows skiers to get half off lift prices for the rest of their time at a resort, along with lodging discounts that vary by ski area. When the Mountain Collective pass debuted in August, member resorts allowed their unlimited season pass holders to also buy lift tickets at 50 percent off of the regular price. That will continue with the new resorts, Hanle said.
Best known for ski and snowboarding terrain geared toward experts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has gone deliberately off the mark to create better intermediate and beginner-friendly experiences, carved through the center of its two mountains. After three years and $20 million in enhancements—including moving and smoothing earth, thinning trees, taming gnarlier runs, and installing a new high-speed quad chair—this new Casper ski area introduces an intermediate run called Sundog and offers vastly improved mid-mountain skiing all around.
But make no mistake: Jackson Hole is still king of the Wild West, with deep snow that averages 459 inches a year, more than at any other resort in the Rockies or California. Advanced skiers love the aerial tram that climbs to the top of the mountain—4,139 vertical feet—in one go, allowing them to merrily jump off rock ledges and fully exploit the resort’s open-gate backcountry skiing policy.
Luxury Travel Magazine recently published this article on luxury vacation packages offered in Jackson Hole. Sounds amazing!
Did you know that Teton County in Wyoming is one of America’s wealthiest? With that in mind, it’s no surprise that The Clear Creek Group, a luxury vacation rental company based in Jackson Hole has developed the “Elite Winter Escape.”
The trip, designed especially for affluent travelers looking for an over-the-top approach to a ski getaway, includes custom handmade skis, in-home local whiskey and beer tastings and more. Not to mention the opportunity to experience the destination’s well-sought-after real estate.
The Clear Creek Group specializes in luxury vacation rentals and has more than 50 properties in its portfolio ranging from one to ten-bedrooms. All homes are located within Jackson Hole with easy access to the award-winning slopes for prime winter exploration. The expansive portfolio includes Riva Ridge, a ten-bedroom lodge on 125 acres including a private recording studio and indoor Carrera marble pool. Windswept Ranch, a six-bedroom home offers stunning views of the open Wyoming sky and is a favorite for stargazing. The five-bedroom Phillips Ridge includes an indoor bowling alley, grotto pool and movie theater.
In the past two years I have covered the fast evolving world of season ski passes, which are a game changer for ski travelers. This trend just keeps getting better.
The main players I have profiled here are Vail Resorts with its Epic Pass, now good at 13 major resorts across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Michigan and Minnesota, plus partners in Austria and Switzerland. The other major option is The Mountain Collective, a package of discounted lift tickets across several independent powerhouse resorts including Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson, Alta, Snowbird, Whistler/Blackcomb, Mammoth and Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley. There are also more niche regional products such as Utah’s Ski Salt Lake Super Pass and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain SuperPass.
So what’s the newest wrinkle in the world of ski season passes? Well at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, whose season pass already includes limited free skiing at Okemo in Vermont and Sunapee in New Hampshire, the town’s Nordic Inn has upped the ante considerably with an entirely new concept, combining a traditional season pass with 10 flexible nights of bed and breakfast lodging. This means you can make up to two 5-day trips to Crested Butte to use the pass and each time have a place to stay at no additional charge. Or you can break the ten days up however you want for multiple visits at any time from Nov. 20, 2013 through April 6, 2014, with no blackout dates, and extra days are available as an add-on at a 40% discount. If your schedule is flexible you can chase storms and come just for fresh powder. At the same time, Crested Butte Mountain Resort just lowered its regular adult season pass prices by more than 40 percent, just $599 for a full-season adult ski pass with no blackout dates.
This is an article on Business Week about the ranking of ski resorts by Ski Magazine. The SKI resort survey has been going for 26 years, and draws upon subscribers—145,000 of them last year. Do you agree?
“Jackson Hole has always been on the bucket list for any committed skier,” says Greg Ditrinco, the editor of SKI. “It’s right up there with Chamonix and AK [Alaska]. It’s the birthplace of extreme skiing. They’ve always had some of the best terrain. … But that’s God-given. What this ranking reflects is that they’ve taken care of all the management-driven elements, too.” Ditrinco says Jackson Hole had only once before cracked the top 10 (No. 6 in 2012-13), and that the previous winners, such as Vail, Colo., and Deer Valley, Utah, are all-inclusive destinations—places where families tend to spend a week.
There are any number of specific tweaks that might account for Jackson Hole leapfrogging its rivals. An obvious one is volume. On the strength of nonstop flights from 12 U.S. cities, the resort had its most visitors ever last winter (502,000, according to brand director Anna Olson). At the same time, the owners—the ski mountain is still independently owned and operated by the Kemmerer family—have invested $135 million in capital improvements over the last 12 years. Reached in his Jackson office, resort President Jerry Blann allowed that the mountain “can humble you,” which is why “we’ve really focused on maximizing our intermediate terrain, grooming, and making the whole trip more convenient.”
For skiers and snowboarders, Colorado can be a land of extremes — and not just in terrain. When it comes to the cost of a day on the slopes, Durango is the best place for bargain-hunters and Vail certainly will appeal to high rollers.
That’s the word from a TripAdvisor’s Ski Index 2012-13 of 25 destinations in the U.S. and Canada. The online travel company created it by tallying the daily cost of a lift ticket, hotel, gear rental, a burger-and-fries meal and even a mug of beer.
Durango prices out at the cheapest with a cost of $210, roughly half the cost of the average of all destinations on the index. Other bargain destinations are Bend, Ore., Taos, N.M.; Whitefish, Mont.; Kingfield, Maine; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The three most expensive destinations are Vail at $801 and Aspen at $717 in Colorado, and Park City, Utah, at $677. Mammoth Lakes, the only California ski town included in the survey, came in 10th most expensive with a daily cost of skiing or snowboarding at $423.
That’s not to say you can’t find good deals at the top-priced destinations, but it’s always nice to have an idea of where to start looking for the snow bargains.
Nestled deep in Wyoming’s Teton Mountains and averaging more than 450 inches of snow each year, Jackson Hole is easily one of the best ski destinations in all of North America. With more than 116 different runs, spread out over 2500 skiable acres, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a little slice of heaven on Earth for skiers and snowboarders alike. But to truly enjoy this magical place, you’ll want to get off the beaten path and indulge in a heli-skiing adventure.
As the name implies, Heli-skiing employs the use of a helicopter to carry skiers and snowboarders deep into the backcountry to access slopes that would normally be unreachable during the winter months. For example, High Mountain Heli-Skiing, the company that provides the service in Jackson Hole, uses a Bell 407 aircraft to shuttle guests out to a 305,000-acre winter wonderland that is virtually untouched for most of the season. Those guests will have the entire area to themselves while they shred through isolated mountain glades, take on steep chutes and zip across large, open bowls.
Grand Targhee Resort will have three of its five lifts open on Friday. The Alta ski area says it has received 73 inches of snow since the middle of October.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will open on Saturday, its earliest opening ever. The resort reports 56 inches so far this season.
The Associated Press reports that Snow King Mountain Ski Area plans to open Dec. 10.
A National Weather Service says temperatures this month in Jackson Hole have been the fifth warmest on record so far. The average temperature so far this month has been 44.2 degrees.