While the winter weather in Jackson Hole is usually frosty, there is always a great amount of things to do. The main winter draw of the area is the ski resorts that include Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Resort as well as Grand Targhee Resort. Located just 12 miles northwest of town, Jackson Hole boasts an elevation of 10,450 feet and is known for steep terrains while Snow King overlooks the town, offers night skiing and is the oldest ski resort in Wyoming. Just over an hour away, Grand Targhee is known to have deep powder, short lift lines and terrains for all abilities. Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee often receive an average annual snowfall of more than 500 inches while Snow King sees about 66 inches. If you want to get more extreme on the mountains, Heli, Snowcat and Backcountry Tours are always an option. Even if you do not ski or snowboard and are not out on the slopes, travelers will not run of out of things to do as there is something for everyone to enjoy.
In addition to skiing or riding the 32 runs on this summit, Snow King Mountain Resort offers lots of winter fun. We had a great time snow tubing where there are three groomed slopes to slide down and a rope pull to get you back up top. This is a great activity for the entire family as anyone over 42″ tall can participate. Then there’s the Cowboy Coaster that has a mile of twists and turns with incredible views, while the Exum Ice Park offers ice climbing which is great for beginners or experts wanting to hone their skills on the frozen waterfalls. Whatever of these activities you choose, just be sure and bundle up!
There are also two National parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone, in the area that provide a variety of experiences. While there are a vast amount of sightseeing and wildlife tours available, we jumped on Brushbuck Tours‘ four hour Grand Teton dusk tour. Our tour guide was Duane, who was full of information and knew exactly where to stop to spot all of the best wildlife. While Grand Teton National Park encompasses 310,000 acres, it is home to numerous large mammals, elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep, bear, and wolves that can all be seen within the park boundaries. Numerous species of birds including eagles, hawks, and owls can also be observed. The educational tour is also very fact filled as it also focuses on the human and natural history of Grand Teton National Park as well as the diverse geology within the park. Brushbank also offers numerous longer tour variations to Yellowstone which provide an awesome way to observe wildlife as well as take in the numerous geyser basins.
If you want to stay warm inside and learn more about wildlife, head over to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Tucked in the hillside overlooking 25,000 acre National Elk Refuge, this stop is only a few miles north of Jackson. There is plenty of 19th and 20th century American art that captures the European exploration of the American West in many different genres. This is a great place to entertain the kids for hours as there is a Children’s Discovery Gallery, Artist’s Studio, Puppet Theater, and Critter Case available. Another item to note on the property is the Sculpture Trail designed by award-winning landscape architect Walter Hood which presents abstract art forms in the wild. Before you leave, be sure an use the museum’s telescope to check out the expansive view of all of the animals on the elk refuge.
March is a great month to catch live music. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features March Radness, which offers 31 days of live music and events with events all over town. This also includes Music Under the Tram, a free Spring outdoor concert series every Saturday in March starting at 3pm at the base of the Aerial Tram. Also coming up before the Ski season ends is Rendezvous, a four-day lifestyle and music festival on March 17th-20th. Featuring concerts on multiple stages in Teton Village and on Town Square, Bud Light’s Rendezvous Festival includes performances from notable acts that include Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Zac Brown Band, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Uncle Kracker over the weekend.
Just a few blocks from town square, The Center for the Arts is another spot to go if you enjoy live music. This versatile venue provides an intimate concert setting where there is not a bad seat in the house. Since the beginning of the year, there have been sold out performances by great acts such as Grace Potter, Rich Robinson, Luther Dickinson, Ivan Neville, Robert Randolph, John Hiatt and Garrison Keillor. This month will feature a sold out Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen show with Elvis Costello on stage in April. The other hot entertainment venue in town is the Pink Garter Theatre. While the theater was originally built to host Western-style plays and community events, it is now a widely popular live music venue that is complemented by The Rose’s classically inspired craft cocktail program. Entertainment Director Ethan Oxman books a wide variety of acts but some of the best this year have have been bluegrass bands from Railroad Earth and Infamous Stringdusters to the upcoming show with Yonder Mountain String Band. The standing room only venue holds a mere 450. So, be sure and get tickets in advance as shows often sell out.
A smart way to take your taste buds for a stroll is experiencing Jackson Hole Food Tours. This three hour culinary adventure combines a local’s insight on Jackson’s history, culture and scenery with food tastings and cocktails. Sampling one to three items at each stop, our tour visited five locations that included Bin 22, Lotus Cafe, Persephone Bakery, The Kitchen and The Rose. Each restaurant chose a broad array of dishes and gives patrons a real opportunity to get a taste of Jackson’s culinary scene that is often called a destination for foodies. We also had the opportunity to gain insight from the owners, managers and chefs behind the various establishments. While there is a good bit of walking involved, all ages will enjoy the culinary tour and not leave hungry. Private tours are also available for groups. As reservations are required, be sure and book your tickets for the tour in advance.
When it is time to relax after a long day of soaking in all of the activities, the 17,000 square foot Snake River Lodge Spa is the place to go. I took advantage of the Apres-Ski Massage and have to say it was one of the best massages that I have experienced in a long time. This full body massage focuses on the tired back and legs. A local arnica is used with a combination of stretching techniques and soothing massage movements to improve function and restore overworked muscles. After the massage be sure and take advantage of the indoor/outdoor hot tubs, stone sauna, steam showers and outdoor grotto waterfalls. Whether seeking relaxation or relieving aches and pains, this calm setting is a tranquil haven to enjoy therapeutic wellness in a luxurious environment.
This list only touches on the amount of winter activities that are available in Jackson Hole. Be sure to also try the sleigh rides, dog sled tours, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, just to name a few more. If you plan to take advantage of all of this fun, be sure and bring your pocketbook as the area is quite pricey. As added incentive to visit, Jackson Hole Central Reservations is offering a special on airfare from now until closing weekend.