Jackson Hole's backcountry skiing access is as good as it gets
Open Gatesby Anna Olson
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort History
Youngest of all the Rocky Mountains and still growing, the Teton Mountain Range is one of the top backcountry destinations in the country. Jackson Hole is rimmed with tons of great terrain, providing plenty of excuses to escape the crowded resort area.
As early as 1890, when locals skied mail over Teton Pass, backcountry skiing and snowboarding has, for some, become a way of life. With the opening of backcountry access from the top of the Aerial Tram and the top of the Bridger Gondola, more skiers than ever are venturing off piste.
What backcountry gear will you need?
If you're a backcountry virgin, take some avalanche courses and hire an experienced guide. Even if you're already a badass skier/boarder, your skills won't help you breathe under six feet of snow. Never leave home without your avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel.
Where to go?
To get started, there are plenty of off piste areas located within the resort itself. The Headwall and Casper Bowl are located above the Bridger Gondola, which also provides access to the newly opened Crags and Sheridan Bowl. All have a great pitch and consistent fall lines with deep powder. Sheridan Bowl also has expert glades to add to the mix. Ride the perfect line, then find yourself back in lift-land for some regular runs.
Jumping into the true backcountry, you may want to try Rock Springs and Cody Bowl, located just south of the Resort boundaries and accessed through marked gates. Cody Bowl is midway off an 11,000 foot peak; you can't miss it looking from the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Once you've reached the bottom of the bowl, you enter Rock Springs. This takes you into the trees and small open meadows, then back into the trees to return to the resort. Rock Springs also has an overnight Yurt, for those who don't have a date at the bar.
Experienced backcountry enthusiasts can check out the heli-skiing. The heli-guides know the area inside and out and might be able to show you a trick or two.
Apres Ski at Jackson Hole?
Après Ski? Have no fear. A good time can be had by all at the various local watering holes of Teton Village. Don't miss the Mangy Moose, a tradition since 1967. Other notables include the Peak Bar at the Four Seasons, the Cascade and the Village Café, none of which lack in local flavor. For those non-backcountry types, the resort skiing is fantastic, and there's no shortage of off-slope attractions. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the National Elk Refuge, and the old west town of Jackson should keep anyone busy.