Passing Through- Insider Tips From Jackson Hole, Wyoming

10 March 2019

We have been truly inspired by Powder Magazine and their series entitled "Passing Through", they visited some fantastic places in USA and we dreamed of the chance to experience some of these very destinations for ourselves. Thrillism's very own head of content Angelica took this enviable trip so she recant the story of these destinations, through her eyes. . . . 

When the opportunity came around to visit some of the sensational resorts in the Midwest, from my own bucket list, I thought I would take the same concept as our friends at powder magazine and instead create a written series to inspire you guys to take a well-deserved trip to the US to ride. Skiing, snowboarding, apres ski and more in cowboy country, seeing insane views, eating, drinking and riding. 

We totally understand that a trip like this is a big one, its expensive to travel to the US to ride but once you have paid the flight, we wanted to make the other aspects of the holiday, a little more approachable. With some forward planning and frugality, you can get stoked for a unique trip to the big mountain paradises of America. 

Introducing Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is the true big mountain resort. Imposing, raw and rugged mountains like that of Europe. When you first arrive and get to grasp the sheer magnitude of the mountains you are filled with curiosity and fear, that fear when you realise you are a small creature in a big space. Use that fear to be pragmatic and respectful of the mountains and that will result in the most incredible experience. Jackson Hole Valley encompasses 3 ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort. "Jackson Hole Mountain Resort thrives as one of the only independently owned premier ski resorts - thanks to the Kemmerer Family, whose enduring commitment to Wyoming is intertwined in the state's history." Therefore the resort has a unique feel and remains toroughly warm and welcoming. 

Gilson Snow

This trip was organised as a content trip for the homegrown snowboard company Gilson Snow

We believe in the value of American artisan manufacturing. Our wood-cores are shaped from locally-grown and sustainably-harvested Pennsylvania Poplar trees. From start-to-finish, our boards and skis are crafted under one roof at The Gilson Snowboard & Ski Farm, located in the Appalachian foothills.

We merge the woodworking heritage of our region with the precision of modern technology, building snowboards & skis that are of the highest quality in construction.

Gilson invited me along to join them on their coast to coast tour- filming and content trip. I will be joining them in Colorado and travelling West to Wyoming, Montana and down through to California. We will be riding big mountain, filming, taking photos and meeting Gilson fans or anyone who wants to try the new season models. Spreading the word and riding as much pow as we can!

After arriving in Colorado to meet the crew, we drove the next day to Wyoming to pass through Jackson and the excitement kicked in. I want to share with you all the details of the trip so let's get stuck in! 

The Stats

Courtesy of the Jackson Hole Tourism board. 

Mountain Characteristics

·Terrain: 2,500 acres of in-bounds terrain on two mountains, Après Vous and Rendezvous

· 2,500 acres of in-bounds terrain

·Vertical drop: 4,139 feet

·Base elevation: 6,311 feet/1924 meters

·Summit elevation: 10,450 feet/3185 meters

·Uphill capacity: 17,833 skiers per hour

·Backcountry terrain: open backcountry gate system accesses more than 3000+ acres

Runs
· Quantity: 133 named trails on the map

· Difficulty: 50% expert, 40% intermediate and 10% beginner


Lifts

· One 100-passenger Aerial Tram

· Two eight-person, high-speed gondolas

· Four detachable quad chairlifts

· Four fixed-grip quad chairlifts

· Two double chairlifts

· One fixed-grip triple chairlift

· One magic carpet

Aerial Tram (click for more on the Aerial Tram!)
Rise 4,139 vertical feet in 9 minutes! 
Nickname: Big Red, The Red Heli 
Birth date: December 19, 2008 
Construction Dates: April 2007–December 2008

Secret Spots

We aim to spread the love after all, this is an insiders guide to Jackson, so we simply had to share the secret spots with you. The riding in Jackson was amazing. We had snowfall continuously during our stay bar one day, I couldn't describe the mountains of Grand Targhee to you in terms of the views but I can certainly tell you that the terrain is varied and challenging. The snow was light and truly dreamy.

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!

For more info on Snow parks/Terrain parks, head to the Jackson Hole website for more info.

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. Our friends 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 accommodation 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!“

Jackson Hole was wonderful. An experience that feels like a dream. Onto the next spot of Big Sky in Montana so watch this space for the next instalment of Thrillism's Passing Through series. 

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