There is so much to do around Jackson in the winter. Here is my take on what is good.
Jackson Hole is known for it’s skiing in the winter. It is steep and it is deep. The skiing here is challenging, there are not a lot of easy or intermediate runs. But that is not to say avoid this area until you are a more advanced skier. There are so many quality ski instructors that can bring you from 0 to hero in no time. This area has three ski resorts, Snow King, JHMR, and Targhee. And let’s not forget the plethora of backcountry to be had. Now, when all the skiing has been done there are great après spots at the base of the resort and in town.
At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort you have to first stop mid day for lunch, Piste Mountain Bistro will delight your palate while you rest between runs. Apres begins whenever you want it to, however the hours that it lasts are usually 4-6PM. I love going to the Spur in Teton Mountain Lodge. It’s a great place to have a drink, locals, and guests all mingling, and you can hold a conversation or watch a game on the TV. The Mangy Moose offers live music most nights and has been a staple in Teton Village for years. But there are many other places to go, Osteria, Enoteca, Handlebar, Nick Wilsons, and don’t forget OYG which has amazing cocktails by Tobias, who is now the bartender at Piste up top. In town, it’s great to catch happy hour at Local, they have great drinks and a very friendly staff.
In addition to all the après spots to hit after skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, or Snow King there are great dining locations. The food scene in Jackson and Teton Village has been described to me as “the best they’ve ever had”. This quote is not false. The restaurants here strive for quality in their food by sourcing most of it locally, and creativity in their brand. There are truly amazing offerings in this town for such a small area.
When not skiing, eating and drinking there are so many places to go and things to do. In town, there is Snow King Resort, which offers more than just skiing. There is the mountain coaster that describes itself, a roller coaster on the mountainside. A section at the base dedicated to snow tubing, which takes sledding to a whole new level. Also at the base of Snow King is a large indoor ice rink, featuring our local Moose Hockey team. If you are in town during a game night you should definitely check them out. Within Grand Teton National Park you can do some amazing snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and fat bike riding, just to name a few. The views are spectacular.
On the east side of town, you will find the Elk Refuge that offers sleigh rides in the winter. This is where you can get up close and personal with the elk herd; learn all about the elk and their migrations, as well as catching some other wildlife in this habitat. Don’t forget to dress warmly and in layers, it can get really cold out. It is also customary to tip your guide so please have some cash on hand.
Another not so hidden gem is the National Museum of Wildlife Art. You will see this large stone building with its castle-like architecture, on your right when heading into town from the airport, directly across from the Elk Refuge. You can make this adventure a half or whole day event. Have an amazing lunch at Palate, and then enjoy all the artwork and history this place has to offer.
Snowmobiling around this area is also a favorite past time among locals and visitors alike. One way to get into Yellowstone Park during the winter is by snowmobile. This has been described as a life-changing experience. The thrill of the sled delivering you to a winter wonderland with the majestic Old Faithful geyser spewing in the background is the stuff of dreams. These tours can be booked with local guiding companies such as Scenic Safaris or Togwotee Adventures.
Two other past times that involve being indoors are catching a movie at one of the two theaters in Jackson. These theaters have the best popcorn I have ever had, and that comes from experience far beyond this continent. Also, Big Hole Bowl offers great bowling and an amazing atmosphere for food and drink. Other games offered are pool and shuffleboard. This is a great place for friends and/or families.
I’m sure there are many other things to do during the winter that I have not mentioned. Keep your eyes on Buckrail or the Jackson Hole Daily for more current and daily activities and events.