As a keen skier I make an annual pilgrimage to the Northern Hemisphere. I often get asked what the best overall ski resort is, taking into account reliable snow, après ski, terrain, scenic beauty and accessibility. While most Australian's are more likely to end up in the higher profile resorts like Whistler, Aspen, Vail and Lake Tahoe the clear winners for me are Jackson Hole /Grand Traghee Ski Area, ski area.
- Reliable snow fall. This area catches both Pacific North West storms and the storms from Canada and gets smashed with between 450 (Jackson Hole) to 600 (Grand Targhee) inches per annum. That’s a lot of snow! About 30% more than Aspen or Vail and most importantly as its high up in the Northern Rockies it’s always light and dry.
- The area is known as the birthplace of American extreme skiing and has some of the most challenging terrain on earth. Jackson Hole has the longest black run vertical drop in the word. 4500 feet to be precise. If you’re an intermediate skier you are also covered with great terrain. As the resorts are real skiers mountains you won’t find as many snowboarders ripping up all the powder.
- The area between the Grand Teton National Park and the Yellowstone National Park and is one of the most beautiful places to ski in the world. The area has several hundred lakes, many small alpine glaciers and some amazing wildlife. In fact Jackson Hole closes in early April due to bear activity. The mighty Grand Teton Range rises 7000 feet from the valley floor and is truly spectacular.
- Après ski. The town of Jackson is a real old western town with great bars and restaurants to experience.
- Accessibility. Jackson Hole is a direct 2.5 hour flight from LA .The resorts are an easy shuttle from the town of Jackson.
- Price. Whilst ski in ski out can be expensive the town of Jackson offers comfortable accommodation for as little as USD$100.00 per night.
So all you Aussies with Niseko or Whistler on the brain get out and experience the Northern Rockies. You won’t regret it!
Written by Sam Wheeler