Jackson Hole Winter
World-Class Skiing Yet So Much More
If you’re a skier, there is no better place to be in winter than Jackson Hole. Between the world-class Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, throwback ski areas like Snow King and Grand Targhee, ski touring in Grand Teton National Park, heli-skiing in the Snake River Range, more than 100 miles of groomed Nordic trails, and the access to backcountry skiing on Teton Pass, Jackson Hole has skiing for everyone.
But, over the last five(ish) years, Jackson Hole has worked hard to become more than a ski destination. We’ll go so far to say that you can come to Jackson Hole in winter, not ski a day, and have a transformative vacation. Our nearby national parks are different worlds when buried in more than 10 feet of snow, and can be explored by car, snowcoach, snowshoe, or snowmobile. (The latter is only legal in Yellowstone, not in Grand Teton National Park.) Have you heard of fat bikes? They’re traditional bicycles except their frames can fit tires up to 5 inches wide. These tires can ride on groomed trails. Some locals argue winter is the best season for viewing wildlife. Five minutes from Hotel Jackson’s front door, you can hike on a snow-covered road alongside Cache Creek, which manages to burble even when patches of it are frozen, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. And then, of course, there is the National Elk Refuge, which, come winter, is home to more than 8,000 elk. December through March there are daily horse-drawn sleigh rides that go right into the herd. You could get close enough to an elk to see its eyelashes.
Backcountry Skiing & Mountaineering
Jackson Hole is the best backcountry skiing destination in the country. Whether you’re looking for a mellow powder run on an untracked slope or a steep and scary couloir, we’ve got it. We've also got several local organizations that offer avalanche safety classes and multi-day backcountry skiing/snowboarding camps. Single-day guided backcountry ski/snowboard experiences are also available.
Jackson Hole is the starting point for one of the most prestigious dog sledding stage races in the Lower 48 states, the Pedigree Stage Stop. If you’re here in late January when the race usually starts, definitely walk the one block from Hotel Jackson to the Town Square to watch human and canine athletes compete. Want to try mushing yourself? We’ve got Iditarod veterans that run dog sledding trips from their kennel along a gorgeous creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest to a historic natural mineral hot spring pool. The full-day trip includes a soak before heading back to the kennel.
Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides
Ever wondered what elk smell like? Or wanted to see bulls play-fight? There’s no way you could get close enough to an elk on your own to experience either. But, because horse-drawn sleighs have been used for more than 100 years to feed the elk herd that winters on the National Elk Refuge, the animals are accustomed to them. It’s possible for sleighs to get right into the center of the herd, which includes more than 8,000 elk. The Elk Refuge is also home to bison, more than 300 species of birds including bald eagles, wolves, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Elsewhere in the valley, you can combine a sleigh-ride with dinner.
National Park Tours
The southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park is four miles from our front door; the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park is about one hour farther. These parks couldn’t be more different—the former has snaggly mountains that soar up more than a vertical mile from the valley floor without any foothills to temper their rise; the latter has otherworldly geothermal features and the world’s highest concentration of geysers. Both are home to grizzly and black bears, bison, wolves, mountain lions, more than 300 species of birds, elk, and moose, among other animals. Winter is the best time of year to spot wolves. Go on a safari with a local naturalist/guide to turn your park visits into an experience of a lifetime.
The opportunities for snowmobiling in Jackson Hole are diverse. You can rent a sled on your own and explore the hundreds of miles of trails around Togwotee Pass, visit Old faithful in Yellowstone National Park with a guide, or sign on for a tour into the Gros Ventre Mountains (which offer spectacular views of the Tetons), among other options. Whether you’re looking to get your adrenaline going or for more of a scenic snowmobile adventure suitable for first time riders, we can help you find an outfitter/guide. Guided trips include snow suits, full face helmets, and gloves.
Be Your Own Ansel Adams
Hotel Jackson Exclusive Wildlife Safari + Photography Workshop!
This curated experience includes private instruction from a professional photographer while you explore famous Jackson Hole scenes. Learn about Ansel Adams, David Brookover, Thomas Mangelsen, and William Henry Jackson as you capture your own images. After a full day in the field, pick your favorite shot and we’ll have it printed, framed, and shipped to your home. A signed copy of David Brookover’s The Road is included.
Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding
There are three ski areas within a 90-minute drive of Hotel Jackson. Snow King, the first ski area to open in Wyoming (in 1939), is six blocks from the hotel. (You can walk, but we recommend taking our complimentary shuttle.) The King isn’t fancy, but its ski programs for kids are a great value and its slopes are never crowded. In addition to skiing it has a tubing park and Mountain Coaster, a gravity-powered roller coaster-type ride. The Jackson Hole Ski Team, which has sent several racers to the Olympics, trains of Snow King. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the ski resort the valley is most famous for. Consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in North America, “The Village” has a 100-passenger tram that climbs more than 4,000 vertical feet in less than 10 minutes, high speed quads, three gondolas, one of the country’s best ski schools, runs for all levels, and a mountain-top cabin that serves made-to-order waffles. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is 12 miles from Hotel Jackson and we provide a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the tram dock at the heart of the resort’s base area. Grand Targhee is over Teton Pass, and worth the trip for guests looking for a funky, family-friendly experience.
Jackson Hole is most famous for its downhill skiing, but over the last several years, the Jackson Hole Nordic Alliance, a consortium of dozens of local public and private organizations and businesses has worked to improve the number of trails groomed for Nordic (cross-country) skiing. Some trails are a five-minute drive from Hotel Jackson. In Grand Teton National Park, you can Nordic ski for more than 30 miles! At the northern end of Jackson Hole, in Buffalo Valley, former Olympians groom about 10 miles of trail daily, and have a cozy lodge that serves a hearty lunch.
Want to ski 10,000 vertical feet or more of untracked powder from mountain summits you don’t have to have to share? Let us arrange a heli-skiing adventure just for you. If heli-skiing sounds intimidating, consider cat skiing, where a tracked snowcat carries you and your gear to the top of a slope and meets you again at the bottom. We’re happy to arrange a snowcat adventure for you too.
Go with a naturalist guide on a four-hour, six-hour, or full-day snowshoe trip in Jackson Hole. This adventure’s details will be adjusted based on your fitness level and goals—want to see wildlife? Learn about the valley’s winter ecology? Want great views of the Tetons? Want to walk alongside the Snake River? Tours could be in Grand Teton National Park or in the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Private Scenic Flights
Soar around some of the tallest peaks in the Tetons in a Cessna. A 60- or 90-minute scenic flight offers a bird’s eye view of the valley and photo opportunities abound. Geologists say seeing the valley from high above is the best way to understand Jackson Hole’s rich geology. Options include a private family tour and sunset flights
Fat Tire Bike Tours
If you’ve seen a fat bike, you’ve probably laughed at it. Its tires, which are up to 5-inches wide, are, without a doubt, clownish. But, these bikes, which have exploded in popularity in the last five years, are a novel way to explore snowy areas without requiring you to learn a new sport. Fat bikes look a little different than traditional bicycles, but riding them is the same. Get comfortable on the seat and start pedaling. Full- and half-day trips are available and include bike and helmet rental.
National Museum of Wildlife Art
Although it is inspired by a Scottish castle built in the 16th century and perched on a hillside opposite the National Elk Refuge, locals often say the National Museum of Wildlife Art is one of the valley’s hidden gems. (It does blend in with the hillside very well.) Designated the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States by an Act of Congress in 2008, the museum has a permanent collection of more than 4,000 works of art and interprets the genre of wildlife art broadly. The collection includes pieces by Albert Bierstadt, Carl Rungius, Andy Warhol, and Picasso. A three-quarter mile Sculpture Trail wends its way around the grounds and features stunning bronze sculptures such as Wapiti Trail, shown here. The museum’s restaurant Palate might have the best views of any restaurant in the valley. Ask us for a list of current exhibits and events.
Have a blast—pun intended—safely learning about and using various firearms in a controlled environment and under the care of highly trained instructors. Choose from a variety of guns, fired on a western-style outdoor range with targets out to 600 yards. This is a family-friendly activity.