Do you dream of cascading through evergreens draped in snow, your vision vanishing with each turn as snow explodes around you? Do you love the adventure skiing provides, but crave more? Do you joke with friends at the top of mountains about bringing a hang-glider the next time you hike?
If you answered yes to any of these, backcountry skiing is something you should try, and Jackson Hole is a great place to start.
One place to start is Jackson Hole’s legendary side-country, and in-bounds hike-to-ski terrain. The headwall is patrolled by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol, and controlled for avalanches. This means, any expert skier willing to hike for 30-40 minutes will be rewarded with some of the last touched powder in the resort boundaries.
Jackson Hole’s side-country has been made famous by many ski movies over the years, and it is almost always worth the trip to one of the somewhat secret locations. Although you can find everything from steep couloirs and big cliffs ,to long gladed not so steep runs, no matter where you are going you need avalanche equipment. If you are not already familiar with what equipment you need, book a guide at the resort and you will have your own personal guide to the secret stashes.
If you already have backcountry experience, the terrain outside of the resort is endless. Although locals frequent the main areas: Teton Pass and Grand Teton National Park, there are almost always fresh tracks to be found weeks after a storm. Exum Mountain Guides provides guided tours of everything from The Grand to shorter tours in the pass.
You may only ski one run, but the magnificent views of the Tetons, and the gratifying feeling of earning your turns is unmatched. Similar to how Warren Miller has ended every one of his films, if you don’t ski in the Jackson Hole backcountry this year, you’ll be one year older when you do!