The Jackson Hole area is a winter enthusiasts playground and offers not just one, but three different ski resort options for the winter visitor to enjoy. Established in 1939 and sitting at the southern tip of downtown Jackson, Snow King resort was the first ski resort in Wyoming. Snow King has a good variety of terrain with over 1500 vertical feet of drop and is the only resort in the Jackson area that offers night skiing. Located about an hour to the northwest of Jackson, Grand Targhee is one of the best kept ski resort secrets in the United States. The terrain at Targhee is world class, the snowfall amounts deep (over 500 inches per year) though the feel of the resort is refreshing mom and pop. Grand Targhee boasts close to 3000 vertical feet of drop and 3000 acres of skiable terrain. Visitors should take note, however, that Targhee is an experts mountain, only grooming 20% of the terrain and is renowned for its foggy weather conditions.
It is hard to deny that the crowning jewel of the Jackson Hole area ski resorts is the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Regarded by many as one of the top three resorts in the United States, Jackson Hole's gondola accesses an impressive 4139 vertical foot drop, the largest vertical in the US, and the resort boasts over 2500 acres of skiable terrain which is suitably coated with over 500 inches of snow per season. The terrain at Jackson Hole is predominantly expert and offers refreshing challenges to even the most seasoned skiers and snowboarders. Visitors should check with the individual resorts regarding specific information on trails, package deals and prices.
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding options in the mountains surrounding the Jackson Hole area are vast and spectacular. There is huge variety of terrain here, from enormous bowls and rocklined couloirs to gladed chutes and mellow aspen groves. Visitors to these backcountry locations should be well aware of the hazards associated with backcountry travel and know that the threat of avalanches in this terrain is very real. Those without the proper knowledge for assessing backcountry hazard, those without the proper gear to access the backcountry and those without the skill to react quickly and correctly in an emergency situation should occur should not enter this environment without a professional guide from a reputable guide service. For those who come prepared, the backcountry around Jackson affords some of the most impressive and highest quality mountain terrain in the lower 48. Visitors interested in the scenery and downhill benefits associated with a tour of the backcountry but not the uphill hike, or those that have beau-coup bucks, can enjoy the world-class helicopter skiing with High Mountain Heliski based in Teton Village. All visitors intending to visit the backcountry of the Jackson area should consult with one of the professional guide services in the area and/or the Forest Service concerning current avalanche conditions, forecasts and weather information.
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