Jackson Hole delivered. It took a couple of days but it delivered. As a major swell rocked the Rockies and Utah began to go from hardpack to divinely soft, we popped into my Honda for our annual pilgrimage to one of my favorite resorts in the world. The snow is usually better than in Utah and we hoped that the new storm cycle could finally bring on a Jackson powder experience. Even the milk toast cop who pulled us over in Evanston, Wyo., to write us up for speeding couldn’t dampen our excitement. “Where ya headed?” he asked. “Jackson Hole,” we answered as I handed him my insurance and registration. “I love Jackson Hole. It’s one of my favorite places. Drive safe now,” he said as he handed back a speeding ticket. Niiice. It was Sunday night and no one was on the road. He could have written us a warning in his zeal to bond over our mutual Jackson love, right? We motored on. Even with the light snow and slick roads we made it to Fireside Resort in about 4.5 hours. The stable of reclaimed wood portable cabins is located just 4 miles from Teton Village. The individual one-bedroom units offered a touch of rustic luxury amid the gently falling snow. I was in a Jackson Hole portrait!
We had everything we needed from a medium-firm king bed to the s’mores kit left for us in the kitchenette.
In the summertime, there’s an RV campground in back and the entire place is booked solid. Fireside was an ideal spot to set up ‘glamp’ so to speak. We crashed hard in anticipation of our first Jackson ski day, We woke to 1” of new. What?!
Lucky for us that one inch was on top of two inches, three inches, an inch, etc. It’s been snowing consistently in Wyoming for the past month and you can tell the difference. The wind, too, has smoothed out potential mogul fields. Needless to say it was a fluffy playground that starts with the long but fast-moving tram line and ends with beers at the Alpenhof. It snowed for three days straight. Although our clothes were drenched it never felt heavy and wet under foot. Just creamy. ‘Like butta’ my guide Karin would say. Ryan took off and hiked Headwall for three laps into the Casper Bowl area while we danced in the trees off Cheyenne Woods and South Colter Ridge. Why hike when everything was sweet inbounds? Even the Hobacks were more inspired than grueling. I almost made it top to bottom without stopping but the burn kicked in. Maybe next year.
We planned to do Headwall the next day but the winds kicked up shutting down Sublette Chair and forcing us to ski between the Bridger Gondola and Thunder Chair. No matter. The day went swiftly from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ever ski Tower 3 without ski poles in a blizzard? Try it sometime, just to mix things up. The steeps lesson for the day was moving your hips and torso down the fallline without worrying about timing a pole plant. I was nervous at first but not only was it challenging, but fun. We did it again before grabbing the poles for the third round. Jackson Hole is a huge mountain filled with everything an expert skier could demand. And when you want more, ditch the poles. Though there is a sizeable amount of intermediate groomers, the staggering canyons and cliffs will intimidate newbies.
If you were ever considering a ski lesson (and even if you weren’t), this is the place. There are an unprecedented 16 PSIA DECLs (Division Education Clinic Leaders/ski examiners) on staff. Ski programs don’t get any better than at Jackson Hole.
One apres pitcher later and it was back to the cabin for s’mores, Olympics and showers. The dog was missing us too. By Day Three we were packed and planning to head home at 1 p.m. Four o’clock rolled around and we had just kicked off the ski boots. How could you cut out early when there was more than a foot of new snow on the ground? OMG it was seriously one of the best Jackson ski days in PCSkiGal memory. Rumors swirled of another 10-18” on the way and Ryan begged to stay another night. If only. Utah awaited. And as we drove through the storm, bodying buzzing and sticky from hard charging all day, we day-dreamed about buying one of those Fireside Wheelhaus units and leaving it right where it was just so we could have a place to come back to every year. I’ve said it (more than) once and I’ll say it again. There’s no place like Jackson Hole.