Posts filed under ‘Winter Activities’

Jackson Hill Climb

So… last weekend was Hill Climb here in Jackson. This being my first spring spent in the area, I got to experience this special event for the first time. For those of you who may also be unfamiliar with Hill Climb, the event is formally known as the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb. About 20 snowmobilers known as the Jackson Hole Snow Devils started a hill climb in 1975 at Snow King Mountain in town, and the tradition has continued annually at the same location ever since. To say that it has grown in size, however, may be an understatement. This year, for its 40th anniversary, Hill Climb drew over 300 snowmobilers, and a crowd of more than 10,000 fans to the valley.

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Snowmobilers start the events early in the morning, and they last all day. Competitors start at the base of the mountain, and the objective is to snowmobile straight up the incredibly steep slopes of Snow King, and end up the first one at the top. I live right near the base of Snow King, and so luckily (or unluckily, depending how you look at it), I was able to see and hear the snowmobiles revving up early every morning.

The festive spirit of Hill Climb is definitely palpable in the air in Jackson throughout the weekend. The base of Snow King houses beer and food stands from great local vendors, and of course, hundreds of jovial fans. A trip to the nearby bars downtown is recommended on Friday and Saturday night, as visitors and locals alike continue the celebratory spirit after hours. If you don’t prefer to be right in the middle of the crowd to spectate the events, a great option is Lift Restaurant and Bar, which due to its location, has become somewhat of an epicenter for Hill Climb festivities. Located on Cache Street, just across the street from the base of Snow King, Lift is open all day during hill climb and serves up a delicious selection of elevated bar food and drink. A great way to spectate is to go to the roof of Lift, which has perfect panoramic views of the action at Snow King.

Overall, Hill Climb is definitely a unique way to have some fun while taking a break from skiing in March, if you can. I hope that you are able to experience it at least once during your travels to Jackson Hole… I definitely look forward to it next year.

March 31, 2016 at 3:53 pm 1 comment

Winter Activities!

While Jackson Hole is famous for the world class skiing and snowboarding available at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the area also boasts other unique winter activities suited for the whole family. Our front desk staff had a chance to experience some of these activities for themselves this season, and are eager to share with you their recommendations on how to spend a cold winter day in the Hole…

Jalene recommends checking out some of the activities that Snow King Sports and Events center has to offer throughout winter. Located at the base of Snow King Mountain, near the center of town, Snow King Sports and Events center hosts Jackson Hole’s very own hockey team, Jackson Moose, all season long. They typically play on Friday and Saturday nights, but go to snowkingsec.com to check when they are in town. These games are always a good time, and local food and beer vendors are on site to quench your thirst and/or appetite. Be sure to look for Knuckles the mascot! If hockey games aren’t your thing, you can also use this same ice rink for ice skating. The rink is open to the public Monday through Friday from 12pm-2pm, and fun for all ages!

hockey

If you love animals and are looking for a definitely unique experience, Tricia recommends checking out Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours. We definitely recommend the full day tour they offer, as you get to experience the beauty of Granite Hot Springs, and soak in the hot water after a long day of being pulled by Alaskan racing sled dogs. Lunch is included, and this type of tour is an excellent opportunity to witness a variety of wildlife that Wyoming has to offer. They even offer an orientation session to more adventurous travelers who wish to “drive” their own team of dogs. Call them at 800-554-7388.

No matter which winter activity you choose, rest assured knowing that once you return to town, there are a wide variety of world-class restaurants, night-life options, and art galleries to round out your stay!

January 14, 2016 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

Country Western Swing Dance Lessons in Jackson Hole

Two years ago I was elbow deep in preparation for my August wedding, reading the Knot blog posts and perusing Pinterest boards for inspiration when I came across a post about preparing for your first dance.54113_637296061575_1650376246_o My then fiance, Jared, would regularly joke about how I had an allotted number of times I could get him out on the dance floor each year. Every time I would drag him out on the dance floor at a friends wedding he would remind me “you are using up one of your dances tonight!” In our early years when I frequented the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson for Disco Night, or Ladies Night as it’s also referred to, on Thursday nights I invited him the first few times. After politely declining every time I came to realization that Thursday nights at “the Coach” were always going to be a true ladies night for me.

So when I came across the article about our first dance a little bit of panic set in. We definitely didn’t have much practice dancing as a couple and I was having a western wedding, complete with the cowboy boots under my dress, so how could I not throw in some country western dance moves for our first dance? I immediately turned to my best friend, Google, and asked it where I could find country western dance lessons in Jackson Hole. It generated one solid lead – Dancer’s Workshop offered country western dance lessons at the Center for the Arts. Yahtzee!

I pulled up the schedule and my enthusiasm rapidly waned as I realized that the only lesson available before our wedding was an advanced lesson. Jared and I didn’t even know what foot to start with, let alone how to do a turn. I called up the Workshop and asked if the lesson was suitable for beginners. They said that it may be a little advance but we should be fine. So we each donned our cowboy boots, paid our $20 fee and entered the dance studio, where the lesson was held. Within the first 5 minutes we knew that we were in over our head. They were teaching complex, old school country western dance moves, such as “the window”. One of the instructors noticed us flailing in the corner and came over and gave us some basic maneuvers to work on. We had a good time but knew that we probably should have started with a class for beginners. So, when last week I saw an ad for free country western dance lessons at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on Thursday night, I told Jared that we should attend.

We showed up at 7:30PM, grabbed a drink from the bar and headed to the dance floor. There were three instructors – one old school cowboy and two ladies with flowing skirts. We started by learning the steps, one foot in, one foot planted in the back – lean in, lean out, lean in, lean out. Once we had that sorted we moved on to a girl turn, then a guy turn. As we progressed through the lesson we realized that we knew a lot more about country western dancing than we gave ourselves credit. There were a few couples who had clearly never danced before, dancing like puppies whose paws are too big for their body, clumsy and flailing. They watched us with awe, as if we were Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk for the first time. However, I’m pretty sure that we looked like bumbling idiots, just less so than them.

We were taught the cuddle and how to do a behind the back boy turn. Then we learned the two step, which while it is important to the history of country western dancing, I have yet to really see it being done on the dance floors in Jackson Hole. After the lesson we tipped our instructors and then the band started. We grabbed a beer and headed out onto the dance floor to try our new moves. We had an absolute blast! And I think that we even got a whoop or two from the crowd – though I could have completely been imagining that. If you are interested in learning how to dance, or even just to experience some true western culture, I would highly recommend attending the country western dance lessons at the Cowboy Bar. The lessons occur every Thursday from 7:30PM to 9PM. Make sure to bring a partner because when we went there were a lot more girls than guys so they didn’t end up doing the lesson. So grab your partner, don your cowboy boots and head down to the Cowboy for some good old fashion dance lessons!

**Note – the Dancer’s Workshop offers Country Western Dance Lessons on occasion. They currently do not have any lessons scheduled**

June 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

Nightlife in Jackson Hole – The Local

I spent many  late nights closing down the Cadillac Bar & Grill, so when they closed their doorsThe Local JH two years ago I was devastated. No matter what came in its place, it couldn’t possibly be better than the Cadillac. And then, I heard that the new restaurant to open in its place was called the Local Restaurant and Bar. Locals refer to it as “The Local.” I thought, how can they really call it The Local, they have no idea if locals will actually patronize their restaurant. I was very skeptical, but true to their name, The Local on any given Friday or Saturday night is where you are going to find the locals. The school teacher, the entrepreneur, the ski bum and the fly fishermen can be found co-mingling, exchanging stories about their week and catching up with old friends.

The restaurant is located in downtown Jackson on Cache Street, next to the infamous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The restaurant itself boasts delicious, albeit expensive, steaks, elk and fish options. The bar menu has a variety of finger foods and includes a particularly tasty hamburger. They have a signature cocktail menu with drinks ranging from $9 to $12 and 12 beers on tap. The bar can get a liThe Local Jackson Holettle tight after 10PM as they have a fair amount of tables and seating around the bar and not much standing room. They do not have live music. The Local is a favorite place for locals to meet friends to catch up, celebrate a birthday, bachelorette party or grab a few drinks before heading over to dance at the Cowboy Bar. If you are looking for a quiet place to grab a drink I don’t suggest that you go to the Local on a Friday or Saturday night. The bar tends to be loud and crowded which can be fun or miserable depending on what type of mood you are in. If you want to be social and rub elbows with a bunch of locals it’s a great spot. If you are looking for a romantic spot to grab a drink with you hunny I would suggest heading to a somewhere else, like the Snake River Grill’s bar or Hayden’s Post. Either way, I would definitely pop in to the Local if you are looking for a good nightlife spot when you are in Jackson. You never know who you are going to run into!

March 26, 2015 at 3:13 pm 2 comments

Your Guide to Cody Peak

I have a photo of Cody Peak framed on the wall of my office. Whenever I need some inspiration I take a moment and ponder the mountain. It is so iconically Jackson and the terrain on it will challenge every fiber of your being. If you have ever skied off of the tram or Sublette chair at 892143_656237218345_1706851057_oJackson Hole Mountain Resort you have most likely notice the jagged peak to the South. Cody Peak is an extreme skier’s dream. With access just outside of the ski area boundary and a short boot pack, average joes can access terrain that is seen in extreme skiing movies. The peak is not for the faint of heart and I would recommend only for expert skier with extensive backcountry experience. There have been countless avalanches on Cody Peak as well as avalanche-related deaths on the peak. It is out of bounds, therefore you will need to have appropriate avalanche training and gear in order to ski the peak.

Cody Peak has numerous aesthetically pleasing lines. From the open powder field known as the Powder 8s to the extremely steep Pucker Face and narrow couloirs and chutes with names like “Once is Enough”, Cody has tons of skiable terrain. To reach Cody you leave the resort through the upper gate in Rendezvous Bowl and follow a mellow trail along the ridge to the bottom of the boot pack.

The HikeCody Hike

The Cody Peak boot pack is the scariest boot pack in the Jackson Hole sidecountry area. Depending on how much snow there is the first part of the boot pack can be more like a rock scramble.. with ski boots on. It’s a heart pounding experience. Plastic soles with no tread on icy rock is not a good combination. This, coupled with the fact that the peak is avalanches-prone means that it isn’t a good choice for early season skiing. The peak is best skied 10856563_791366682815_3695880803945005684_o(1)with a lot of snow, when the boot pack is more than likely to be filled in – with the exception of a few spots where you will need to scramble over rock outcroppings. Additionally, the peak is very susceptible to wind. If it is blowing more than 15MPH you most likely will not want to hike Cody, where you will be pummeled by wind during your entire hike.

Once you are above the scramble the hike becomes very mellow. You will hike down the ridge and around the back side of Cody Peak. Once you get to the top of the ridge you will have to make your decision on what you want to ski.

The Lines

There are 6 lines that you can ski off of the bootpack on Cody Peak.Cody Peak Named The first line that you will approach is called Pucker Face. It is an extremely steep face with a cliff ban in the middle. From the top all you can see is a roll over, right where the cliff ban is. It’s rather nerve wracking, not particularly knowing where the cliffs are. This face is also very prone to avalanches, so if you are the first one to ski it make sure you do a proper risk assessment.

The next line that you will reach is a bowl called No Shadows. It’s popular entrance is on the skier’s right of the bowl. Next up the ridge is Four Shadows, another steep bowl which is typically plagued by a large cornice on the top. The best way to enter Four Shadows is at the highest part of the bowl on the right hand side. Four Shadows and No Shadows are north facing, which means that they are good options during a drought when all of the southern aspects are baked or frozen. Up past Four Shadows is a north facing chute. Central is a hair raising, narrow no-fall chute with a mandatory air at the bottom. If you can ski it you most likely are a pro skier or should consider changing your career.

From the top of Four Shadows there is a bootpack traverse over to the south side of the peak. The first couloir that you reach is called “Once Is Enough.” With a sketchy entrance, this steep Once and Twice on Codyno-fall couloir is one of the most well known lines in the Tetons. You can see the line from the road, it’s the line in the notch of Cody Peak when viewed from the South. It’s a popular line to ski in the spring when the sun warms the snow and creates edgeable corn. If you look into Once and decide that it’s a little much for you, head up the peak further (to the East) and take a look at “Twice Is Nice.” As you can gather from the name of the line, it’s a more mellow option to Once with a nice hanging powder field that narrows into a choke. This steep line is equally fun during the springtime. These lines drop you into No Name Canyon. If you are looking to extend your day, keep right at the exit of both of the couloirs and take the traverse over to No Name.

Last, but not least, are the Powder 8s. This open powder field can be access by either skiing the North facing lines on Cody (Pucker Face, No Shadows, Four Shadows or Central), and then traversing over to the bottom of the bootpack, or by hiking the bottom of the bowl at the base of Cody Peak. The Powder 8 bootpack is relatively short and steep.. I mean, sweet. From the top of the Powder 8s you can ski the powder field or traverse over to No Name Peak or drop into No Name Canyon. The Powder 8’s are popular to lap.

So there you have it. I have skied all of the lines on Cody Peak except for Central and Once. The terrain is heart pumping and exhilarating. It is really amazing to have such challenging terrain just steps outside of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundary. If you are a serious backcountry skier I definitely recommend fitting a hike up Cody Peak into your trip!

February 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Shopping on the Town Square in Jackson Hole

One of the best things about being located in downtown Jackson is that you can walk to a myriad of shops, restaurants and bars. Whether you are looking for a souvenir t-shirt for your kids or for an authentic western hat, cowboy boots or belt buckle, there is a shop that fits your needs on the town square. Here’s a list of some of my favorite shops:

MADE – Located in Gaselight Alley, this shop features goods made by local artists. The owner, John, makes all of the glass items in the store. His belt buckles are very trendy and I love his Teton themed coasters for the coffee table. There are also plenty of other Wyoming themed knick knacks including bucking bronco accent pillows, antler necklaces and bronco coffee mugs, pint glasses and wine glasses. Also be sure to head across the street to their sister store “Mountain Dandy.”

Wyoming Outfitters – For a good quality pair of cowboy boots or a Western button down shirt head over to Wyoming Outfitters. They have a good selection of quality boots and western attire. It’s the perfect place to stop and splurge on a western outfit to wear to the rodeo.

Jackson Hole Trading Company – Located at the main intersection of Broadway and Cache, this store has quality souvenirs including local goods – huckleberry jam, elk jerky or huckleberry chocolate bars. Additionally, they have some Jackson themed home goods and your standard souvenirs such as postcards, magnets and key chains.

Lees Tees – For good quality souvenir t-shirts head diagonally across the street to Lees Tees. Here you will find a variety of t-shirts and sweatshirts all with different designs and sayings about the Jackson Hole area.

Teton Mountaineering and Skinny Skis – If you are looking to pick up some last minute supplies for a hiking or backpacking trip head on over to Teton Mountaineering or Skinny Skis. Both carry a great selection of outdoor apparel, shoes and gear. Teton Mountaineering will have a broader selection and has a better variety for climbers while Skinny Skis has a larger selection of children’s clothing. Both also carry bear spray and rent outdoor gear.

High County Outfitters – For the fly fisherman, this is your go-to store. Additionally, they have a large selection of guns upstairs for the sportsman. They also have a large selection of outdoor clothing and shoes.

Jackson Hole Resort Store – Don’t have time to make it to Teton Village, the base of the famed ski resort Jackson Hole Mountain Resort? Don’t worry! If you are looking to purchase any ski-themed gifts head over to the Jackson Hole Resort Store. They also have a small selection of outdoor clothing.

Those are a few of my favorite stores on the Jackson Hole Town Square. There are plenty of other stores that are worth a stop in, notably The Hide Out (for belt buckles and leather), Vom Fass (for artisanal oils, vinegars, spices and spirits), Accentuate (for the ladies) as well as plenty of art galleries. Either way, a stroll on the Town Square is always a good idea. If it’s a hot day, be sure to stop at Moo’s Ice Cream and take a break to get a cone or milk shake and eat it in the small park on the town square. Oh and don’t forget to take your photo in front of the iconic elk antler arches!

August 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm 1 comment

Backcountry Skiing in Grand Teton National Park – The Delta Lake Shots

We have the luxury of having a breathtakingly beautiful National Park in our backyard. Alex on Delta Lake in the WinterThousands of people explore Grand Teton National Park during the summer    months, but during the winter the park becomes rather inaccessible due to the fact that they don’t plow the majority of the park road and you need to have skis or snowshoes to explore it. The road from the South Entrance in Moose is plowed until the Bradley and Taggart Lake trail head. On the north end it is plowed until Signal Mountain Lodge and Flagg Ranch (see A Trip to Polecat Hot Springs for a fun excursion in the north end of the Park). The South end of Grand Teton National Park is a haven for the winter enthusiast – there are lots of backcountry ski objectives, miles of trails for snowshoers and the Park grooms the road for cross country skiers.

I have done a number of different backcountry ski objectives in Grand Teton National Park, but last weekend’s objective was by far the prettiest. My friend Katie and I decided that we were going to sacrifice a long, consistent ski run for breathtaking views on a blue bird day. She suggested that we ski the Delta Lake shots. Delta Lake is one of my favorite lakes in Grand Teton National Park and I’ve hiked to it numerous times during the summer, but I’d never been to it in the winter, let alone ski down to it so we packed up the car and headed to the trail head. The one thing that I don’t like about skinning and skiing in Grand Teton National Park is that there are a bunch of small foothills that you must negotiate between the trail head and the beginning of the mountains. This means that there is some up and down on the skin track, which is one of my pet peeves – I hate having to go down just to go up again.

After the foothills we reached Bradley Lake. Katie Skinning Across Bradley LakeThe lake, which is frozen for the majority of the winter, provides a gorgeous up and close view of the Teton Range. After the lake, we finally reached the base of the mountains. We skirted around face of the mountains for a little bit and then began our ascent. Thankfully, someone had already put in a skin track. It took us 4 hours of zigging and zagging up the mountain side until we got our first view of the Grand Teton. It was absolutely gorgeous. Until we realized that we were on the wrong ridge. Thankfully there wasn’t a huge depression in the mountain to get to the ridge that we needed to be on. I did protest a little bit as we started downhill towards the correct ridge. After a short uphill we were standing on top of one of the Delta Lake Shots, staring down on Delta Lake. The mountains were silhouetted by a brilliant blue sky. I took about a million photos and then started to take off my skins and prepare for the descent.

After a quick assessment of the snow pack and Katie Skiing a Delta Lake Shotdiscussion of where our safe zones were, Katie dropped. I watched as she skied the smooth powder down to the agreed upon safe zone. I dropped after her and met her at the safe zone and then she skied down to the lake and watched from afar as I took my turns in the wide chute. The view from the lake was equally stunning.Grand Teton, Owen and Teewinot in Winter All I kept thinking was “this is heaven on earth.” I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place! After taking more photos on the lake we skied out of Glacier Gulch and traversed across until we got closer to Bradley Lake. The snow had warmed up under the sun to soft corn. We both laughed giddily as we skied down to Bradley Lake. Once on the lake we put our skins back on and trekked back to the car.

We both agreed that a celebratory beer was in order so we drove to Dornan’s and cheers-ed to our ski tour while admiring the peaks that we were just skiing in. Dornan’s was packed with fellow skiers, all sharing the tales of their ski objectives and trading high fives. It’s a really cool atmosphere and it’s a must if it’s your first time touring in the Park. In fact, I took my Avalanche 1 test at Dornan’s after skiing in the Park for the first time for my avalanche course.

Please note – Backcountry skiing is inherently dangerous and I do not suggest that you try to go for a ski tour in Grand Teton National Park unless you have proper training, gear (beacon, shovel, and probe), are in excellent physical shape and have a good awareness of the area and your objective. With that being said, touring in the Park is an unbelievable experience and I highly recommend it to any serious backcountry enthusiast.

March 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm 1 comment

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