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Road Trip to Jackson Hole

Deep in the original cowboy country of the USA lies an incredible resort that has been a beacon of awesomeness, the levels of which we have only seen over in Europe, from places like Chamonix.

In fact, you could describe this place as the Chamonix of the US. Big mountains, the kind that makes your heart beat a little faster, brushing shoulders with industry heroes and prices that will make your eyes water a little, I am of course talking about Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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Jackson Hole Resort Guide

The aforementioned, the big lines, the prices, the general atmosphere of this legendary town can be a little stressful to navigate. For us Europeans, if we are contemplating travelling to the USA for a snowboarding trip, we have to preempt, plan and mitigate every eventuality to see if it’s doable; talk about excellent local IPA taste on a shitty pilsner budget. So, considering I am travelling around in an airstreamer with a bunch of snowboarders, you know you are in pleasant company with us, as we too want maximum fun, the best riding, the tastiest beer on the least amount of a dollar. Plus it just so happens, Jackson Hole was the first stop on our epic Mid West American Road Trip!

Welcome to Wyoming. The long road to Jackson Hole.

 

    Angelica Sykes is a big mountain snowboarder from the UK. When she was booking her flights in November, she began to feel the pang of excitement and apprehension as she imagined all the places on her bucket list she will finally get to hit. After Jackson Hole, Angelica travels to Big Sky, Revelstoke and Lake Tahoe to provide all of us with tips and infos about the resorts.

It’s Starts With An Idea

So, with that in mind, let’s pretend we are best mates for a minute. We are sat across the table from one another in a bar in a city in November, and you say, „Dude, where are you heading this Winter? I’m broke, and all I know is I want to ride somewhere I haven’t been before“, I will say „babes, Jackson Hole!“ You will say, „WHAT, no way?!“, I will yell at you to shut up and drink your beer while I tell you how you can take an epic adventure in true American road trip style.

 

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Planning, Getting Started

We could talk for years about how to plan the trip, where to start etc. plus you know what you are doing, so all do it give a couple of tips:
1. Sign up well in advance for price drops
2. Tuesday is the cheapest day to fly statistically.
3. The USA has incredible early bird ski passes, plus loads of extra price reductions if you travel out of season or between national holidays etc. Next seasons Ikon pass is already on sale!

Another critical thing to note is resorts are laid out completely differently, I know this seems like an obvious thing to say but you will be miserable if you don’t hire a car, everything is super spread out. Logistically it makes the travel so much more stressfree.

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„You will be miserable if you don’t hire a car.“

Arriving In Jackson

The cheapest way for us, to get to Jackson Hole, was to fly into Denver (check out Norwegain.com). After driving for a day we finally arrived in the mountains, hauling the massive 1970’s airstreamer behind us. We arrived tired and in desperate need to a shower. Usually, the team and I opt for camping up on state land, but we decided to pay for camping as we really.needed.a.shower!

Grabbing our kit the next morning, we left the airstreamer behind and headed for the hill. We have the Ikon pass which makes travelling so chill as you march up to the lift with a facial expression that reads „I am superior, I am an expert“ and scan directly through. Taking the first gondola up, staring out at the mountains, even for me, someone who has ridden the most imposing peaks in Europe, even my knees got weak at the sight of Jacksons raw, rugged landscape.

Turns out, due to rising accom prices and the fact Jackson is becoming less of a ski focussed town as the hardcore riders are pushed away to make way to big spenders from the US 1%. Therefore, Victor, this small, unassuming town and become a mecca for Jackson Hole staff and savvy tourists. Victor now boats a classic ski town vibe plus hotels too! So if you don’t have a camper, you will find somewhere cheap to stay. Look here for more info.

Secret Spots

It would be pretty mean if I bragged about these secret spots then didn’t share the love, right? I thought I would write them down for you as I am so gosh darn cute, plus some extra lines I heard about that would be perfect if you happen to catch some clearer weather.

Tree Runs
1. Rendezvous Trail – head down the cat track just beneath Rendezvous Bowl.
2. Hidden Paradise – this was short but very sweet! Sadly I can’t recount the exact details of how to get there, BUT head to the ski hire at the bottom of the main gondola and Teton village and they will tell you!
3. The Moran Woods – head to the trees there on the right side of the hill for significant tree coverage and fluffy pow or anywhere by the Thunder lift!

Big Lines
1. Cody Bowl – access through a backcountry gate at the top of the tram is a sick hike-able line.
2. Toilet Bowl on a good vis day! The name is enough, but if the weather is right, you have wide-open, steep skiing.
3. Corbet’s Couloir, the man maker, the legendary run it open to all if you can work up the confidence, charge into the in-run and speed out and become an instant star!

Angelica in action!

Grand Targhee

There was some low key chat about this locals spot, a resort that’s mostly Jackson Hole staff on their day off and residents, this dreamy resort named Grand Targhee. Brain and Christina insisted on taking us right away a perfect 2-day snowfall. Man oh man, we were blessed with the best conditions. The sun stayed away, and we had free refills as the Americans call it! Discovering untouched runs between the trees where the visibility was best, riding as much as we could between the tight trees only then to literally ski directly to the door of the only bar at the basin and drink local IPA with the lefties at half the price of Jackson. That’s the dream right, ride all day, Apres ski like you are sponsored for it then in bed by 9!

Après Ski Lifestyle

That brings me seamlessly onto the après ski vibes in Jackson and cheeky nightlife haunts for locals and expert tourists alike.

However, do prepare yourself to spend some money. Let me help you part with your money by telling you where to go.

Nightlife

There are a couple of great spots to dance, enjoy live music or simply chill with mates.
1. First up I’m kicking off with The Knotty Pine in Victor Idaho, this is the most popular haunt, delicious local grub and a vast selection of beers and the also mix a mean cocktail.
2. Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, it’s not a local spot BUT its an authentic experience. So worth a visit to say you have been and mingled with real Cowboys.
3. Silver Dollar Bar & Grill is the perfect spot of live music, great folks, too!

Eating Out/Grabbing a bite

It’s a risky business! But if you want to eat out on an evening as opposed to cooking in, feeling fancy perhaps, then prepare. There are some excellent cheap eateries, mentioned below.
1. Creekside Market and Deli for unmissable breakfast and lunch options, slope snacks for the win!
2. Pinky G’s Pizzeria, famous pizza and a local and tourists fave!
3. Pica’s Mexican Taqueria, grab a beer and fill up on excellent tacos. Forget the fast food Taco’s this is the real deal.

Events

Jackson Hole is pretty non stop from November to May. The event calendar is a dream for most riders who wish to push themselves to the limit or indeed those of us who want to watch those crazies find their inner bliss while dropping insane cliffs.

Here are the top 3 of the most UNMISSABLE events that you can enter as well!
1.) Kings & Queens of Corbet’s – an insane display of human capability or rather how big are your balls! Find more details to watch here.
2.) Freeride World Qualifier In Grand Targhee 2* Event. Head at the end of Jan this year, what a way to explore this fantastic mountain and make friends with locals to secure your accomodation to come back next year. Plus gain FWQ points.
3. Music Under the Tram – Okay, maybe its not for riding but still totally awesome. „Great bands entertain the crowds in this unforgettable, sunny location, slopeside under the tram. Grab your friends, and après like there is no tomorrow!“

Now, I know you are probably thinking, Angelica, tell me about the Snow Parks. They must be incredible. Well yes, you are right and you I say, Jackson Hole is a big mountain resort, we were there during record snowfall, so I didn’t bother with the park as, why? But if you wish to know more or if you are visiting in the spring, head to the Jackson Hole website for more info.

Jackson, Grand Targhee, Wyoming, you were blissful. You were friendly, warm, welcoming and embracing. You care deeply for your mountain, the environment and everyone who frequents your state and for that I cannot wait to come back. You were also utterly exhausting. But I am ready to head to Montana, first to Big Sky and then to my bucket list destination – Whitefish.

Until next time riders …

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