Known for its stunning landscapes, endless outdoor activities, and world-class powder, some might say that winter is the best time to visit Jackson Hole. The jagged peaks of the Tetons have inspired countless generations, and in the winter, become a playground for snowshoers and cross-country skiers of all ages and abilities. As thousands of elk gather in the valley, just as many skiers and snowboarders head up the mountains, and no trip to Jackson, Wyoming is complete without exploring the majesty of Grand Teton National Park. Magnificent views await those willing to put in the effort.
Before you head out on your adventure, make sure to load up all the gear you’ll need in an Osprey Packs Kamber/Kresta series, designed especially for snow sports.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Grand Teton National Park’s main inner loop road is closed to vehicles in the winter, making it the ideal place to snowshoe or cross country ski. By far, the best trip you can take is the eight mile out-and-back trip to Jenny Lake from the Taggert Lake Trailhead. Climbing just 200 feet, the path is groomed weekly and has two lanes for skiers and snowshoers. The trail is simple to follow and leads to the crystal clear Jenny Lake. If you get the angle with the reflection of the mountains just right, you can snap a brag-worthy photo to make your friends at home jealous. An added bonus? A trip through the wilderness to Jenny Lake in the winter will let you see this popular area free of the crowds.
Farther up Highway 89, north of Jackson, are two more snowshoeing and cross-country skiing destinations worth checking out. One is an easy, 4.6-mile double loop that starts near the Colter Bay Visitor Center. First leading to Jackson Lake, the trail loops back and heads out to Swan Lake and Heron Pond. Along this trail you will find stunning views, picturesque waterways, and possibly spot some winter wildlife. After completing that, continue north of Highway 89 until you reach Flagg Ranch in the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. Parking at the lodge, you can choose between a more challenging walk along the scenic Snake River or an easier trek west out to Huckleberry Hot Springs along the Polecat Creek Loop Trail.
Skiing and Snowboarding
If cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are a little too slow of a pace for you, stick close to the town of Jackson and enjoy some of the best ski resorts around. Choosing between Snow King and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is always tough, as both offer awesome experiences.
Snow King is located right in town, and is Wyoming’s oldest ski resort. Over the years, it has become a destination for downhill racers, and a training ground for some of the best skiers in the United States. It’s also is the only place in the region that offers night skiing, allowing you a chance to take in the lights of Jackson Hole while enjoying fresh powder.
Those looking for a larger ski resort with more room to roam will enjoy the 133 runs found at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With 12 lifts (including a tram and a gondola), 2,500 skiable acres, and a 4,000-foot vertical drop, it is hard not to fall in love with this place. To top it all off, the resort is only about 12 miles from town.
If you are looking to avoid the crowds, head up into the mountains and find your own chutes and ridges to bomb down in the backcountry (with caution of course!). Each year, backcountry skiers and snowboarders set off avalanches that often result in severe injury or death. If you plan to hit the slopes in the backcountry of the Tetons, be sure to check snowpack and avalanche conditions before you head out and carry an ABS compatible system on your pack. Know before you go!
It’s important to be prepared for any trip, and Teton Mountaineering should be your first stop in Jackson before heading out on your winter adventure. Operating since 1971, Teton Mountaineering will make sure you are just as comfortable and warm on the slopes or in the backcountry as you are walking through town, or hitting up one of the region’s many yoga studios. The store is committed to core mountain sports like rock and ice climbing, backcountry and nordic skiing, backpacking, and trail running, employing passionate outdoor enthusiasts who go and explore the area as much as they can. Teton Mountaineering sells the best gear, ensuring that you will have the best Osprey Backpack for any style of adventure you take. The store even rents snowshoes and anything else you might need for a day of winter adventure, so stop in to grab some gear, get beta on trail conditions, and celebrate the glory of winter in the Tetons.
– Via Roots Rated