National Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride is a favorite activity. Photography by Ashley Merritt.
WHY MAKE JACKSON HOLE your choice for a cold-weather vacation? The famed western Wyoming town is the winner of the Scouted Cities Contest’s Winter Destination category, and as The Scout Guide Jackson Hole editor and owner Jill King explains, when the snow starts to fall, it’s the place for anyone who loves alpine getaways, heart-pounding downhill thrills, and backcountry adventures on- and off-piste. It’ll be cold (the average winter temperature is 21 degrees), snowy (the valley averages 459 inches of the white stuff every year), and always picturesque. In addition to three world-class ski resorts, you’ll find snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling, and dogsledding. There are plenty of cozy fireside après-ski drinks-and-dining options, too—all of it bathed in the twinkling white lights of Jackson Hole’s signature quaint downtown.
Ready to plan your winter getaway? Here, Jill shares her favorite local finds and activities for making the most of the winter months in Jackson Hole.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WINTER RECREATION AREAS
From the steepest slopes to a snowmobiling haven, the Jackson Hole area has it all for winter recreational pursuits.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (3395 Cody Lane, Teton Village). Nestled inside Grand Teton Park, this is the largest ski resort in the valley. Base elevation begins at 6,311 feet reaching 10,450 elevation at the summit with vertical drops of 4,139 feet.
Snow King Mountain Resort (402 East Snow King Avenue, Jackson Hole). Established 1939, Snow King Mountain Resort is the valley’s oldest resort, boasting 1,571 feet of vertical gain rising to 7,808. These impressive statistics woo skiers and ski racers from all over the world.
Grand Teton National Park Winter Snowmobiling to Old Faithful (103 Headquarters Loop, Moose). For those that want a little less work with outdoor adventure, snowmobiling excursions on perfectly groomed trails thrill with the glory of epic mountains as the backdrop.
Grand Targhee Resort (3300 Ski Hill Road, Alta). Just over the hill in Alta, Wyoming, Grand Targhee Resort offers a less crowded experience of deep powder, nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, and more.
WHERE TO STAY
Whether you’re seeking a cozy, mountain lodge vibe or pioneer-days chic, you’ll find the perfect place to rest your head here.
Wildflower Lodge (3725 Shooting Star Lane, Wilson). This seven-bedroom lodge offers the privacy of a secluded mountain home with the upscale services and amenities found at a premier luxury resort. It’s a great location for accommodating large families or groups.
The Alpenhof (3255 West Village Drive, Teton Village). This is the closest hotel to the tram and lifts of Jackson Hole Mountain, outfitted with cozy rooms with Alpine charm.
Four Seasons Jackson Hole (680 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village). This renowned hotel sets the bar high in every location, and this alpine resort is no exception. With luxe amenities and notable restaurants and bars, it’s no wonder guests return year after year.
Amangani (1535 North East Butte Road, Jackson Hole). With magnificent views of the Grand Tetons and Snake River Valley at every turn, Amangani (translated to peaceful home) pampers while transporting guests to the atmosphere of the American West’s pioneering days.
APRÈS SKI DESTINATIONS
When you’ve had a hard day of taking in nature’s splendor, unwind at any number of these cozy hot spots.
Local (55 North Cache, Jackson Hole). This is Jill’s favorite spot to sip on a libation where she enjoys their original Buffalo Tartare, Tasty Fries, or Oysters on the Half Shell. With a fun “local” vibe, you’re bound to run into someone you know from some distant land.
The Silver Dollar Bar (50 North Glenwood Street, Jackson Hole). Located in the historic Wort Hotel, this spot is both a place to be seen and catch up on sports playing on the multiple screens. Standing out as the most interesting joint in Jackson Hole, wet your whistle with a Wyoming Mule or a Cowboy Handshake.
Rendezvous Bistro (380 South US Highway 89, Jackson Hole). A little off the beaten path is, this spot is well worth the drive for the atmosphere and cuisine. The fried calamari, many proclaim to be the best in the valley, is paired with a frisée salad that will leave you perfectly sated.
The Handle Bar (7680 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village, Jackson Hole). Located at the base of the mountain in the Four Seasons Resort, this is the quintessential après ski bar. With an outside bar and heaters, it’s perfectly designed for ski-in and ski-out. Start saving your table around 3:oo PM and order a barrel-aged Negroni or a warm hot chocolate with Baileys.
Alpenhof Bistro (3255 West Village Drive, Teton Village). Turn back time when you visit this Austrian-Bavarian hotel and restaurant. Here you’ll enjoy the Chan Man Band playing polka tunes, signature pretzels, and a local brew. The scene is nostalgic, fun, and truly one-of-a-kind.
Osteria Italian Restaurant (3335 West Village Drive, Teton Village). Located inside Hotel Terra, this is the place to take ravenous children after ski school. Parents won’t be disappointed with their Safe Advice and Teton Sunset cocktails, perfectly paired with oven-roasted olives and burrata salad. The kiddos will love the wide selection of wood-fired pizzas.
WHERE TO EAT
Jackson Hole is a mostly casual town, but that doesn’t limit the delicious culinary options.
Gather JH (72 Glenwood Street, Jackson Hole). A block off Town Square, this local favorite offers creative American cuisine in a family-friendly, stay-for-awhile, casual environment.
Snake River Grill (84 East Broadway, Jackson Hole). Situated in Town Square, this 25-year-old stalwart reliably delivers fine-dining in either the intimate bar or rustic-elegant dining room.
Palate (within the National Museum of Wildlife Art) 2820 Rungius Road, Jackson). Enjoy a creative lunch with a view that complements the Museum’s world-renowned art. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite before touring the museum, heading to the airport, or enjoying a long, lazy lunch with friends, the team behind Gather delivers inventive dishes made with seasonal, sustainable and local ingredients presented in a creative way, like Idaho Trout Fish & Chips.
WHERE TO UNWIND
Residents of Jackson Hole hit it hard on the slopes, but when the sun goes down they channel that energy into their evening pursuits, primarily in the name of western dancing.
The Cowboy Bar (25 North Cache Street, Jackson Hole). This iconic establishment has been the place for western dancing and live entertainment since 1937, drawing legends like Waylon Jennings, Glen Campbell, and Willie Nelson to its stage. Locals gather to dance, drink, and shoot killer rounds of pool.
The Stagecoach Bar (5755 West Highway 22, Wilson). Seventy years in the making, The ‘Coach has been the official hang out for generations of JH denizens. The perfect stop after a day in the mountains, here you can play darts, pool, enjoy the house band, and boogie to DJ disco night on Thursdays.
The Mangy Moose (3295 Village Drive, Teton Village). Doing business since 1967, this bar and saloon offers regionally sourced cuisine, signature cocktails, local brews, and reliably good live music.
WINTER SPORT SUPPLIERS
Whether you’re hitting the slopes or going on a backcountry trek, these shops have everything you need to stay safe and warm in all your adventuring.
Hoback Sports (520 West Broadway Avenue, #3, Jackson Hole). Operating since 1976, the staff here are committed mountain junkies and gear nerds who will outfit all your ski, snowboarding, and fat bike needs.
Jackson Hole Sports (3395 Cody Lane, Teton Village). Located in Teton Village, this ski-in and ski-out, full-service shop offers the best equipment and outerwear from the industry’s best brands.
Skinny Skis (65 West Deloney Avenue, Jackson Hole). Born out of a passion for Nordic skiing, Skinny Skis is a year-round speciality store, but focuses on cross-country and backcountry skiing.
WHERE TO SHOP
If hitting the slopes isn’t your speed, or you just want to take a breather from outdoor activities, there are many unique and well-stocked boutiques to visit for that perfectly stylish souvenir.
Belle Cose (Town Square Flagship, 48 East Broadway, Jackson Hole). If we have a true tastemaker in Jackson Hole, it is Jane Carter-Getz. As the stylish, luxury lifestyle guru behind Belle Cose, whose six Teton Valley locations include the recently opened Ski Cabin, her stores offer everything from fine jewelry to home decor, furniture and accessories, ski gear, kitchen, and clothing. If you want it, she has it.
NEST (3445 N Pines Way, Wilson). Nest is a one-of-a-kind boutique truly curating for the Jackson Hole scene, stocking everything from from Mother Jeans to their own “Private Label.” Whether you’re shopping for something unique for day or evening, you’ll find it here.
Hide Out Leathers (40 Center Street, Jackson Hole). Located on the Town Square, this shop curates one-of-a-kind pieces from local artists alongside pieces from around the world. There is something for everyone here, with accessories, home goods, and designer labels. Styles range from classic Western wear to contemporary motorcycle jackets and couture pieces.
Altitude (48 East Broadway, Jackson Hole). This is a hip shop to outfit your entire closet, offering designer goods to wear in Jackson Hole or NYC.
Terra (160 East Broadway, Jackson Hole). Terra stocks contemporary collections from some of your favorite labels, as well as some that are harder to come by. In addition to curating lasting wardrobes for women, Terra now houses Terra Tots and The Botanic Shop at Terra.
Sing Hat Company. This by-appointment-only shop offers custom, one-of-a-kind quality beaver fur hats made in the USA. Their hats are timeless, custom-made works of art, tailored to fit your personal style. Whether ranching, adventuring in the wild, or heading to a beer joint or honky tonk, a custom Sing Hat will have you covered.
FAVORITE WINTER ACTIVITIES
Alpine skiing is a given when visiting Jackson Hole, but when you tire of the downhill shred, there are plenty of other outdoor pursuits to explore.
National Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride (532 N. Cache Street, Jackson Hole) Head out for an incredible adventure when you climb into a horse drawn sleigh that takes you for a ride onto the National Elk Refuge. Guides offer an illuminating tour while guests take in the majestic sights.
Cross-Country Skiing at Teton Pines Nordic Center (3450 Clubhouse Dr, Wilson). For those wanting to mix things up, cross-country skiing here offers an invigorating workout while enjoying 16 km of immaculately machine groomed trails that meander along the rolling terrain of the famously scenic Teton Pines Golf Course. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife sightings of moose, fox, coyote, and bald eagles.
Snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park (103 Headquarters Loop, Moose). The pursuit of snowshoeing through the park offers adventurers the experience of stark silence and beauty, with many glimpses of wildlife.
Ice Skating on the Town Square (10 East Broadway Avenue, Jackson Hole). One of the most popular seasonal pursuits, the Winter Wonderland Skating Pond, is located in the “Heart of Jackson Hole.” Enchanting lights of the iconic elk arches and the old world charm of the ice pond, take skaters back to yesteryear. Once off ice, enjoy steaming cups of hot cocoa or cider around the heaters.
National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States (2820 Rungius Road, Jackson). This notable museum, founded in 1987, is home to more than 5,000 artworks representing wild animals from around the world. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon, and Carl Rungius, the museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 B.C. to the present. Built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the Museum received the designation “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008. Boasting a museum shop, interactive children’s gallery, restaurant, and outdoor sculpture trail, the museum is only two-and-a-half miles north of Jackson Town Square, and two miles from the gateway of Grand Teton National Park.
Pedigree Stage Stop Dogsledding Race. Similar to the stops on the Tour de France, this dog sledding race, typically launching in late-January, stops for eight nights in various locales throughout Wyoming. The ceremonial start to the race begins in Jackson Hole and is a sight to behold.
For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Jackson Hole, follow The Scout Guide Jackson Hole on Instagram.