travel

Skiing in Jackson Hole

Last Thursday, I flew out to Jackson Hole to meet up with my boyfriend and two of our married friends. He went out the previous Saturday and skied Jackson Hole and Big Sky (and got stuck in Idaho Falls due to snow for two days, too). Quite the adventure!

I’m always down for a ski trip. Even though I didn’t learn until a few years ago, I really do enjoy skiing. But because I learned as an adult, I have a good sense of fear with it. I’m not a little five-year-old with a low center of gravity who doesn’t realize the injuries that could happen on a mountain. Everything I had heard and read about skiing in Jackson Hole pointed to one direction: this is a mountain for expert skiers and expert skiers only. (I read one article titled something like “Everyone Should Ski Jackson Hole Even If It Scares You to Death” and I almost canceled my flight.)

I went in feeling pretty apprehensive and rightly so. I did a couple of runs down the bunny slope to make sure I remembered how to ski, haha, and felt comfortable enough to jump right to a blue. I’ve never skied a black, but I have done all kinds of blues, including an insanely hard one in Snowmass because I followed Little V up the chairlift. Every blue at Jackson Hole was harder than that. Maybe not harder necessarily, but steeper. Which to me is harder. I was terrified pretty much the whole time I wasn’t on a green. (And I was pretty bored on the greens… so it was tough.)

Despite the difficult skiing, this was my favorite ski trip ever. Jackson Hole was a BLAST. It’s such a special place and you can tell within minutes just how cool it is. This is a photo heavy post, all from my iPhone. I couldn’t narrow down the selection because everything there was just so picturesque.

Downtown Jackson Hole

We stayed in an Airbnb right in downtown Jackson. The mountain is actually by the Teton Village, but I really loved being in the Town Square. It was so nice to be able to walk to and from dinner or to run down the road to grab a little snack.

Our Airbnb was amazing. I usually prefer to stay in hotels, but this was so great, especially with another couple. The kitchen was HUGE and I could have stayed in for every meal quite honestly.

Jackson Hole Airbnb

It was about a 20 minute to the drive every morning and we’d hit “traffic” right as we approached the mountain, but it was worth the extra hassle of traveling. Parking was a bit limited, but as long as we were showing up to the mountain before the lifts officially opened, we found a spot. We might have had to walk a bit with our skis, but it really wasn’t too bad.

Jackson Hole Roam

On my first day there, I had to wait about three hours to check into the Airbnb. I lugged my luggage through the snow and parked myself at a Starbucks to tie up some loose ends with work so I could take Friday completely off. Once I could check in, I lugged my bags back to the Airbnb and then went out to explore downtown Jackson.

Jackson Hole Antler Arches

It felt like I was in a western version of Gilmore Girls. That’s the best way I can describe it. Perfectly quaint with a cowboy spin on things. I’m not going to lie, I could totally see myself embracing the west and living there. I LOVED IT. I definitely want to find time to go out there this summer if possible, too.

There are a ton of stores and shops and bakeries to pop in and out of. Pictured above is Roam, a cute, well-curated gift shop. Below is Persephone Bakery where I had a divine piece of coconut bread.

Jackson Hole Bakery

Friday was my first full day of skiing and it was a beautiful bluebird day!! Again, the beauty really shines. The views are breathtaking everywhere you turn.

Skiing

Ski Outfit

Smiling even though I was way, way out of my league skiing this mountain. But, you know what I excelled at? The apres skiing. We popped into The Handle Bar, which is connected to the Four Seasons in the Teton Village and right at the base of the mountain. I really love the idea of hot chocolate but always end up hating it. For whatever reason, I loved this hot chocolate. I ended up getting it twice during my trip I liked it that much! Felt like that had to be documented!!

The Handle Bar

Million Dollar Cowboy

We went to the Million Dollar Cowboy, a must stop in Jackson Hole and then we headed over to the Wort Hotel for live music and dancing!!

Apres Ski Jackson Hole

Day two was my favorite day of skiing. We had periods of clouds and snow, but good bits of sun too. I was too nervous and uncomfortable on the mountain to take a lesson, so I made my own “ski school.” I did my own little drills pretty much all day and even forced myself down a giant blue that I wasn’t totally comfortable on but made it down without falling, so that was a positive.

Jackson Hole Wyoming

I mean, can you believe this??? It was SO STUNNING.

Jackson Hole Four Seasons

We ended the ski day with a little more apres. Nachos and more hot chocolate. We got insanely lucky with this table at The Handle Bar. First of all, the sun came out right as we sat down. And we had a 50/50 chance of having an outdoor/indoor table and we scored what I think was the best seat in the house. I think we sat there for two hours before wrapping things up and going for one more run down the bunny slope all together. (Which was hysterical.)

Apres Ski

Jackson Hole Antlers

When we got back into town, we did a bit of shopping and then ended up going to a later dinner that we didn’t love.

Jackson Hole Skiing

Jackson Hole has a giant tram that fits 100 people and it takes you straight to the top of the resort. Most everyone skis down, the bravest going down Corbet’s Couloir which is a near straight drop off the mountain. We decided to get right in line (it took about 30 minutes of waiting before we could load into the tram) first thing in the morning. Knowing my ski level, I didn’t even bother bringing my skis up. Instead, I went for the waffles in Corbet’s Cabin.

Well, it was almost whiteout conditions and since we were packed in with 100 people I couldn’t see that well out of the tram. Well, I caught a glimpse of Corbet’s Couloir and my stomach dropped. By the time we reached the top, I was in a full blown panic. (I haven’t had thatmany panic attacks in about two years, so now it’s an extra strange feeling that somehow makes the panic that much worse.) I couldn’t see what we were walking out onto and in my mind, we were being dropped off right onto the edge of the mountain. Turns out there was a platform, but my brain wasn’t buying it. I eventually “recovered” but felt on edge for the rest of the day. I couldn’t shake the feeling and the waffles only sort of helped. Honestly? I should never have gone up there in the first place. Apparently, I have a much bigger fear of heights than I realized. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Jackson Hole Waffles

Jackson Hole Apres Ski

Since I couldn’t shake the nerves, my skiing was a bigger struggle all day Sunday. I had the best intentions of skiing this teeny tiny black diamond, smacked right in between two blues, but I chickened out. And then on my way back down, I got hit by a snowboarder who came flying out of the trees. I could hear him trying to avoid me and I sort of braced for it. He went right over my skis and bumped me but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But between that, being bored on the greens + terrified on the blues, and my morning panic attack, I was done. So I took off my boots and switched into something more comfortable for the rest of the afternoon.

We ultimately ended up at the Mangy Moose– an awesome bar right at the bottom of the mountain. It was a blast and just what I needed to shake the residual stress of skiing. And as we were walking out to collect our skis, we spotted two moose! So beautiful.

Jackson Hole Moose

Jackson Hole

One last sunset!

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28 Comments

Ashley C

I LOVE Jackson Hole. We went for Thanksgiving a few years ago and I fell in love. It’s still considered the off season and lot of restaurants and shops in town weren’t open yet, so I’m dying to go back. We did get to go to the Christmas Tree Lighting in the town square— so magical, very Stars Hollow-esque—and caught a movie at the 2-screen theater in town. I absolutely loved it there!

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Casey Broday

I’ve only been to Jackson Hole in the summer, but I did have the waffles and they are delicious! I also learned to ski as an adult and go to Big Sky every year! I highly recommend it! Perfect for people who learned as adults and those who grew up skiing!

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carly

Yes! Everyone loved Big Sky…. I definitely should have gone for that portion of the trip instead of JH, but it didn’t line up with my schedule!

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Ron D

You seem to have captured the essence of Jackson Hole quite nicely. The Handle Bar is great, the antler arches are unique and the skiing is second to none. Despite the thousand mile drive by car we are looking forward to skiing in Jackson once again this week next year.

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Lara Verhoef

I have been 2 Jackson twice, both on the summer. It is my favorite spot on Earth! I too am a not well experienced skier and I think you nailed what I feel would be my winter experience.
I feel that you NEED to go in the summer and venture out. The views are out of this world and less anxiety inducing.
Will be out that way again this summer and at Big Sky. (Highly recommend)
Life is too cute short to NOT live the Adventure.
Thanks for sharing.

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Katie

Hey, I feel like you just going is an accomplishment! I can feel you on the terror of learning a sport as a kid vs. adult. The fear is surely real. The last two weekends I have been playing soccer on the beach and I know how easy it is to hurt yourself. Esp since I have 0 idea how to play. I kind of want to be able to walk the next few months ha. Sounds like a really amazing trip and from a girl whose seen snow once and never skiid, your doing more than us non-snowy people!

Katie | http://www.sunshinestyleblog.com

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Nancy

I’ve skiied a lot in CO and Utah. I didn’t learn to ski until I was an adult. One thing I found is that I always took a lesson when I was first starting out. It really helped my confidence and improved my skill level each time. I’ve heard about Corbett’s Couloir and would never do it- straight jumping off a 20 ft drop is not my idea of fun but others love it. Jackson looks like a great laid back kind of place. I suggest next trip to go to Park City in Utah. Many trails for your skill level that won’t intimidate you and great ski schools. Go to Deer Valley- whole other level of service, great groomed trails and no snowboarders. Keep going skiing and relax.

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Jordyn

I loved reading your recap of your time in Jackson Hole! I feel connected to Jackson Hole in a sense because my Grandparents used to take me there as a child, and then later my family had a house in town there. I’m glad you enjoyed your experience in such a beautiful place!

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Marcella

This post makes me want to learn how to ski!! However I live in TX so… never really had the opportunity lol. Is it similar to like rollerblading? Or am I totally wrong about that?? Haha. I think I would just be so paranoid about getting into a ski accident!! Maybe someday..

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carly

It’s more like ice skating than rollerblading, but it’s also different haha! I definitely recommend taking a few lessons to learn– it’s never too late!

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A Girl, A Style

We never went to the snow when I was growing up in Australia, so I’ve never learned to ski and I hate being bad at things, so now I’m sort of too terrified to try. But I fantasise about the idea of going to Aspen or Vale or the beautiful Alpine resorts in Europe, so I really should go and take lessons – even if it’s just bunny slopes followed by apres ski (at which I’m sure I’ll excel). So I loved reading this and living vicariously through your trip; even if that last bit did give me anxiety (I can only imagine the terror!).

Briony xx

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Jason

My wife and I vacationed in Jackson Hole a few years ago and it instantly became her favorite vacation ever. Hopefully you had time to visit Yellowstone and/ or Grand Tetons NP. We snowmobiled through Yellowstone and snowshoed through Tetons; both HIGHLY recommended!

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COSkier

While I’m glad you enjoyed the vacation, I’m very confused as to why you didn’t take lessons. Inexperienced skiers on the mountain kind of “going it on their own” is how bad accidents happen, and as someone who skis very regularly I’ve seen some awful collisions with people who were panicking down the mountain because they were frightened and freaking out and not aware of their surroundings. If you were skiing with an Ikon pass, a consequence of a collision is confiscation of your pass and being locked out from purchasing next year. I know with your close encounter with the boarder I’m sure you definitely didn’t want that. I wish you would encourage your followers to take lessons from a professional, they are wonderfully trained and so helpful. Jackson Hole is not really for beginners, so kudos to you for being willing to ski it, but I would absolutely take lessons (even private ones) next time. That way you can hone your skills and feel secure and safe with an absolute professional. Trust me, you’ll feel so much more confident and in control.

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carly

Trust me, I wasn’t skiing down anything that I couldn’t handle, which is why I was pretty bored but preferred that over feeling unsafe/insecure. The collision with the snowboarder was right where a blue intersected with a green (where I was) and he came flying out of the trees– I could hear that he was out of control and trying to avoid me (that scraping sound is the worst).

As for the group lessons, I have taken one at each resort I’ve gone to with the exception of Jackson Hole. I talked to an instructor and ultimately decided that I didn’t want to pay for a group lesson and run the risk of a) either feeling bored on greens or b) unable to keep up on the blues. Private lessons were nearly $1,000 for a half day and I couldn’t commit ahead of time not knowing what the group’s plan was.

(I also should note that my issues with skiing aren’t totally skill-based but more a mental fear. So once I get over the initial fear of getting over the “ledge” at the top of the run I’m fine getting down. I may sweat a bit, but I’m fully capable of finishing it out. It’s just that first drop that I usually struggle with mentally!)

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COSkier

Fair enough! I do think that’s kind of part of the appeal of skiing for me personally, is the adrenaline that comes with trying a new challenge and feeling awesome when I wind up at the bottom still in one piece!
Have you ever tried CBD for anxiety? I suffer as well, and it’s been a great addition. At first I didn’t realize it was separate from THC, but it totally is and is awesome. Really recommend trying it out.

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Laina Ramsey

Ugh! I googled Corbit’s Couloir to check out the tram! Ummmmmm, NO!!! I give you all the credit for riding up there! I have a slight shake right now just for looking at pictures!!! Did you have to ride the tram back down?

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Lindsay

Yes I looked it up too. That looks insane. The tram looks like I’m of those things I’d want to do because I’m sure the views are amazing, but I’m sure I’d panic just at the thought of having no where to go and bring that high up.
I’m new to skiing this year (I’m 28) and I’m loving it but you are so right about the difference in learning a new sport when you’re an adult as opposed to a kid. All the kids are flying down the hill with their parents yelling PIZZA behind them and meanwhile I’m going so slow trying not to panic!

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Priya

I LOVE Jackson Hole!! I went two summers ago, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I still remember the waffles at Corbet’s cabin and going to the Handle Bar. You should go back in the summer! It’s just as beautiful and scenic, but less cold! I hope you had an amazing trip 🙂

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Erin

Jackson hole looks awesome! I am a ski instructor and man do I respect people who learn as adults – it can be scary! (I tried snowboarding for the first time as an adult so I know the fear – terrifying!). Jackson Hole is supposed to be one of those places that makes everywhere else feel easier by comparison- I bet you will be pleasantly surprised next time you ski, now that you’ve conquered their blues 🙂

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Jeannie

I lived in Jackson Hole for almost three years, and you’re so right- it’s such a special place! So fun reading about all of my old favorite places from your point of view!

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