jackson hole winter city guide
The Grand Teton mountain range is awe-inspiring. One of the most stunning mountain ranges in the United States, sitting on the border of Wyoming and Idaho, is the backdrop to the town of Jackson Hole. Naturally Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, towering at nearly 11,000 feet with a vertical drop of 4,000 feet, is also one of the most challenging ski resorts in the country. This becomes apparent by the 360 degree view of intimidating mountain peaks during the descent into the luxe Jackson Hole Airport.
Upon leaving the airport you’re likely to lose your breath by the sharp cold of the air, but the freshness will leave you feeling elated. On the twenty five minute drive from Jackson Hole Airport to the town you’ll get a sneak peak at the wildlife grazing through the valley. The roads are never salted or sanded, so the drive feels longer than it actually is as the SUVs drive at a snail's pace.
This Western Wyoming town has an abundance of outdoor activities, but is also booming with luxurious amenities. There are endless possibilities when it comes to skiing, whether it be alpine, nordic or backcountry, and Teton Village has it all. Although it is certain to be freezing, there is also dogsledding tours and sleigh rides through National Elk Refuge.
The natural landscape has attracted luxury resorts like the Four Seasons and Adrian Zecha-founded Aman hotel, Amangani, both of which offer their own set of guided tours. But don’t overlook the many boutique hotels in the town of Jackson, as there are a growing number of wonderful spots to kick your feet up by the fire after a long day of skiing.
The number of permanent residence in Jackson Hole is quite low, but there always seems to be a crowd of visitors. Summer is the highest tourist season, but the town is still popping off in the winter. Restaurant and bars are bustling until the wee hours of the night, and après ski at the Mangy Moose is always a good idea.
Jackson Hole is a ski bum's dream town accented by western vibes. The mix of ski boots and cowboy boots makes the town even more unusual, as does shopping amidst bulky turquoise and silver jewelry, fur jackets and fifteen thousand dollar artwork, while you contemplate a new pair of snowboard mittens.
There are essentially two options, in the town of Jackson or in Teton Village at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. We always stay in the town of Jackson Hole because it has the most options, and most hotels have shuttles to escort you to the mountain.
Hotel Jackson is the newest hotel in town. Modern architecture meets Western decor. The hotel boasts a rooftop hot tub, fur blankets, and reclaimed wood. Hotel Jackson prides itself on being right smack in the middle of town.
My all time favorite, The Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa is secluded just a few blocks from the Jackson Hole town square. A more traditional boutique hotel, The Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa is inviting in every way. The hotel staff is constantly at your beck and call, they have a private car service to anywhere you want to go, and the library is filled with warm cookies and tea everyday. Read here about my Christmas with The Rusty Parrot!
The Anvil Hotel, is the new kid on the block designed by none other than the stellar team over at Studio Tack. Pictured to the left, this motel was recently renovated and is perfectly fitting for any ski bum!
Other options outside of the town of Jackson...
If you're looking for a more luxurious stay, the Amangani is an absolute must. True to Aman fashion, the hotel is surrounded by the natural beauty of the land surrounding it. Amangani is one of a kind, but a little tougher to reach from the town or the mountain.
Fireside Resort, which is between the Jackson and Teton Village, offers separate cabins with kitchenettes perfect for families or longer stays in Jackson Hotel.
Hotel Terra is a funky ski town lodge at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Hop out of bed, and onto the Jackson Hole Tram, for first lines of skiing bright and early.
Jackson Hole has just about every type of food under the sun. Vegan dishes, sushi, bakeries, fine dining and fast food for the ski bums looking to chow down a quick burger, the options are endless.
Let's start with breakfast. Upon opening in 2011, Persephone Bakery grew a set of loyal diners, both tourists and locals alike. Designed by Jackson's own, E/YE Design architecture firm, Persephone Bakery is located in a petit house just a block off town square. It is as chic and adorable on the outside as it is on the inside, and the food is to die for. Husband and wife duo, Kevin and Ali Cohane, have perfected French baking in Wyoming.
The Cohane's have recently opened another stellar cafe a bit outside of the town. Picnic is sure to be another cult favorite!
As for lunch in town Lotus is a rather healthy option, serving smoothies and salads all day, although I'd highly recommend their cookie pictured above. Their new digs closer to town square are glamorously designed, so much so that you might see Travis Rice (world-renowned snowboarder) or Harrison Ford (world-renowned movie star) their. Kick back and enjoy truffle fries on their silver suede couches or bright blue leather chairs. Lotus is easy on the eyes, and easy on the stomach!
If you've been skiing all day, and have a couple hot toddies afterward, there is a small chance you don't make it to dinner. But if you do...
Bin22 is a local fave! Light bites, like honey coconut cashews and bacon wrapped medjool dates, complimented by a huge selection of wine. This restaurant doubles as the wine shop, you can buy a bottle of wine for store price and carry it over to your table to enjoy with no up-charge! Ski bum's love great deals!
The Kitchen is another local fave, which happens to be owned by the same restaurant group as Bin22. The architecture is almost more interesting than the food, until you order the house-made wild boar ravioli. A renovated A-frame house is now made up with modern bamboo bar and tables, luminescent eco-panel wave of light over the dining area, and natural wood coloring throughout. All designed by none-other than a local architecture firm, Tobler-Duncker Architects.
If by chance you book a cabin in Jackson Hole, the best place to pick up locally sourced goodies is Pearl Street Market. Attached to the market is a comfortable cafe offering wine, beer and charcuteries.
Let's not forget about drinks!
The iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is located right in town square and is famous for its wild wild west flare. The saddle bar stools, cowboy motif and animal mounts will leave you forgetting about your beer. Jackson Hole wouldn't be Jackson Hole without the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Other noteable bars...
There is no shortage of jaw dropping Winter activities in Jackson Hole. The obvious is skiing and snowboarding Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The not so obvious are things like snowmobiling to a backcountry yurt or dogsledding to Granite Hot Springs, both of which need careful planning and preparation. Email me for further details!
If you are confident in your backcountry skiing abilities, or want to learn more about avalanche safety, Exum Mountain Guides are the best in town.
If you're not a skier or snowboarder, it's still worth riding the infamous Jackson Hole Aeriel Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. The brown sugar waffle at Corbet's Cabin is the best waffle I've ever had! Listen in on the backcountry guides prepping their skiers for the day ahead, but relax on your safe Tram ride back down the mountain.
Shop till you drop in Jackson Hole's town square!
Roam (pictured above) sources American-made products with exceptional design. Including products like hand-made Walking Rock leather tote's made in San Francisco, with proceeds going to Because Justice Matters, and hand knit scarves and beanies.
Made is a wonderful spot for gift purchasing! Started by John Frechette, after the success of his glass belt buckles, he opened the doors in 2011 to help market American artisan goods. Hand-sewn bow ties, locally made leather wallets, and of course glass belt buckles included!
There are an assortment of art galleries scattered across Jackson Hole, Diehl Gallery, Rare Gallery and Trailside Gallery just to name a few. Trailside opened in the 1960s and was the first art gallery to open in Jackson Hole. They offer the country's most unique western artists, and are the organizers of Jackson Hole's annual art auction.
The best way to conclude any Winter vacation is a trip to the spa. Body Sage Spa at The Rusty Parrot Lodge is my go-to. Their classic facial using Amala products leaves my face hydrated after the brutally cold weather, and the Mountain Thai Sports Message is the perfect ending to a week of skiing.
Take a walk through town square after the spa and enjoy the four sparkling Elk Antler Arches that outline the town square. Although tourists seem to flock to Jackson Hole, the town remains utterly peaceful.