Jackson Hole is not a beginner’s mountain. In fact, it is probably the most challenging mountain I’ve ever skied. There is a lot of exposure. Cliffs and boulders can sneak up on you and make even an experienced skier a little nervous.
Jackson is the first mountain where I’ve actually seen black traverses. What makes a traverse a black, you ask? Part of the reason may be that it only access black chutes and runs. But then there is the small, insignificant fact that much of the way down there is a giant cliff on the side that, should you accidentally ski off, you would inevitably fall to your death. So, yeah, black traverses.
The tram at Jackson Hole accesses expert terrain only. There are ungroomed blacks, double blacks and gates that access back country skiing from the tram. It also offers the best views of the valley and the back side of the Grand Tetons. Stunning views! The tram also accesses the “scariest ski slope in America”, Corbet’s Couloir. No, I have not skied it, (I’m not that good) and neither has my husband, but there is a fun run right below it where we stood and watched the crazy, extreme skiers risk their lives.
If tree skiing is what you seek (my favorite type of runs) there are some great glade ski runs off the Teton chair lift, which just opened in the 2015-2016 ski season. Saratoga Bowl is also known for its great tree runs.
There is also a fun terrain park for those looking for something really adventurous.
Intermediate skiers will find plenty of blue and even double blue runs at Jackson Hole. Apres Vous and Casper lifts as well as the Gondola offer the best access to blue runs.
I’ll be honest there isn’t a lot of ski-able terrain for the novice skier. However, I actually learned to ski in Jackson Hole, so I wouldn’t discourage beginners from trying out the mountain. All the green runs (which there are only about 4 or 5) are located at the bottom of the mountain off the Teewinot and Eagle’s Rest chairs. I would definitely recommend taking lessons if you plan to visit. Their instructors are knowledgeable and you can learn a lot very quickly. For little kids in ski school, there is a great area with a magic carpet separated from the rest of the runs.
In all there are 11 chair lifts, a gondola and an aerial tram that access 133 trails. Once you ski Jackson once, you will want to go back. It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it’s an adventure!
Looking for more information? Check out our family-friendly guide to Jackson Hole here.