My Experience Skiing and Exploring Wyoming
I’m not qualified to review hotels. I’m not qualified to comment on the relative merits of the restauranteur club scenes in various ski towns but I do know skiing. In this series, I’ll explain my take on a few of the more and less popular destination areas for skiing in the Americas.
Traveling to Wyoming to ski is not something you do with a few extra miles on the business trip rental car. Unlike Colorado or Utah, Wyoming has no large center of commerce, no hub airport, and precious few ways in or out when winter storms roll in. Wyoming is so far off the beaten path I once walked into an ER in the biggest city (Cheyenne) and was promptly served by a doctor.
What Wyoming has, in spades, is excellent terrain and snow. According to Tony Crocker’s excellent data at bestsnow.net, Grand Targhee has the highest average snowfall in the Northern Rockies at 474 inches. Jackson Hole is second on that list averaging 372. Each of those two resorts has about 2500 acres of terrain. They ski like bigger resorts, with tons of truly steep and challenging options. Jackson, in particular, is rather famous for a few of its lines, like Corbet’s Couloir and S and S chute. Jackson is a good place to head if you haven’t been able to scare yourself inbounds at a ski resort lately. With an updated tram and the recent gondola, you’ll spend more time skiing and less time standing in line.
Both resorts have plenty of moderate groomed terrain to keep everyone in the family interested and having fun.
When to go:
The Northern Rockies tend to get snow earlier in the season. Also, the skiing is mostly exposed everywhere but Northeast, so warmer weather and sun will do a lot of damage quickly. I’ve had awesome days in March, but February is probably a safer choice.
How to get there:
Flying into the Jackson Hole airport is the most straightforward way to get into town. As it is a destination, fares can be expensive. I’ve had good luck in the past with last minute fares found on various airline ticket blogs. When bad weather (I mean…good, of course) rolls in, the airport can close down for days at a time. It is possible to fly into Salt Lake and drive, but I’d only recommend this for the heartiest of travelers with good winter driving skills and four wheel drive rentals. Further I’d recommend purchasing tire cables or chains for the truck…these are available at parts stores and even Wal-Mart in Utah. Approaching the mountain towns of Wyoming from the East or West requires a long and beautiful drive, but weather will dramatically reduce your enjoyment and chances of success.
Check this out:
Snow King is a small ski area right in the town of Jackson Hole that has fun terrain and night skiing. http://www.snowking.com/default.aspx
Keep your ski tips up!