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TR: Jackson Hole 1-4 February 2020

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Jackson Hole

Country: Wyoming, USA

Author: hd

Date: 1-4 February 2020

Our holiday: A repeat trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America (NA). We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Banff, Lake Louise, Whitefish, Fernie, Lake Tahoe, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse

Basics: Heathrow - Seattle - Bozeman with BA/Alaska. Second part of a multi resort excursion. Jackson is the closest airport but fares were much cheaper to BZN, which made sense for us as our final resort of the trip after this was Big Sky.

Lift system : Mostly fast, including the legendary tram. At times long queues. Generally 20-30mins for the tram, but worth it due to the huge vertical it accesses.

The snow : JH was pumping out on social media all the stats of their supposedly best January ever, but when we arrived It hadn't snowed for a few days and the area was suffering a mild spell. This combined with the heavy traffic meant everywhere was tracked out and seriously mogulled in places, especially the Hobacks, which consequently we avoided. It snowed a few inches prior to our 3rd day but less than forecast so essentially dust on crust.
Making up for this though was 2 beautifully clear sunny days which provided spectacular views of the Teton Valley. Wow.

The terrain: JH is well known for its steep terrain but we felt this was overhyped. Yes there is a fabulous consistent gradient from top to bottom but the multiple signs claiming "this mountain is like nothing you have ever seen" were in our opinion bollox. Several other NA and Alpine resorts from our experience have scarier stuff e.g. Bridger Bowl, Kicking Horse, to name a couple off the top of my head. Admittedly we didn't do the hike to terrain off Headwall and Casper Bowl as the climb up was closed when we wanted to try, but TBH we didn't really see the point as it was a long schlep up for what appeared to be not very much additional vertical.

Our favourite part of the area was the sidecountry accessed through gates 2, 3 and 4 from the tram. These led to long scenic and not excessively challenging off piste through Rock Springs Bowl which routed easily back to the bottom of the Hobacks and the base area. Avalanche gear is required, and best to try first when well tracked from a route finding POV, as there are some nasty cliffs, but easily avoided with a bit of common sense.

The resort : Teton Village at the base looked nice enough. We opted for cheaper Jackson town staying in the very recommendable and centrally located 49er Inn which had a free shuttle for the 20 minute ride to the lifts.

Food: We had some good self service lunches in the huge Rendezvous Lodge.

Costs: Ikon Base pass kept these within budget. $160/day without Shocked

Conclusion: JH is supposedly famous for its big dumps but we weren't blessed accordingly so felt a tad short changed. Nevertheless great to tick this legendary area off the list.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 15-02-20 16:18; edited 4 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

seriously mogulled in places, especially the Hobacks, which consequently we avoided

But that's what the warning of "like nothing you have ever seen" about!

While you're right that there're A FEW other mountains in north America that are as challenging if not more so, your verdict of Jackson's "overhype" of challenge is largely based on a good deal of its terrain either not open or undesirable (for you) to attempt.

I could almost say the same about Whistler "overhype" its terrain if I were only there the first 3 days of my recent stay. All the top 1/3 of the mountain were closed due to high wind and avalanche danger. The opened terrain was not particularly interesting due to poor condition.

But fortunately, I stayed 12 days. The alpine terrain eventually opened. I was "properly" challenged (and a lot of terrain still left unattempt due to lack of time)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I agree with @abc. Named runs like the Alta Chutes and Tower 3 are uncommonly difficult in my experience - and all the more fun for that. Corbett's is, well, Corbett's, but it's possible to find some seriously challenging lines if you go looking away from the stuff marked on the trail map. In particular, some of the glades slopes offer very little room for error.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
abc wrote:
your verdict of Jackson's "overhype" of challenge is largely based on a good deal of its terrain either not open or undesirable (for you) to attempt

Are you referring to Hobacks or Headwall/Casper, or both? If the JH reputation is based on a requirement to ski big moguls and/or steep but short chutes after a long uphill hike then IMHO yes no more "special" than multiple other mountains. In this regard Bridger Bowl on our first day scared the sh*t out of me far more than anything in JH. There was a sense all around the resort of excess caution from staff about the terrain, from the silly signs at the tram base, to the slightly comical announcement from the lifty every time just before it arrived at the top, then some ridiculously OTT warnings about the extreme challenges of the sidecountry by a member of ski patrol who we chatted to, after we had already been through it several times. It smacked of American concern about litigation from an inexperienced skier being attracted to JH by the marketing then getting hurt in terrain beyond their ability.

These opinions are all caveated by regrettably somewhat sub optimal snow conditions. I would have loved to have ridden the Hobacks on a powder day but alas it wasn't to be.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

Bridger Bowl on our first day scared the sh*t out of me far more than anything in JH. There was a sense all around the resort of excess caution from staff about the terrain

The "scared the sh*t out of me" terrain in Bridger Bowl REQUIRES a transceiver to access!

Many other mountains have accessible "side country" terrain where you can find good snow and/or challenge you don't find in regular runs inbound.

Jackson nonchalantly puts all that on its map and accessible to the average Joe skier.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Bummer that you didn't get the goods while you were out there. Maybe if you ever come back, you will hit it on a storm cycle. And maybe you will have some time to find some terrain that challenges you too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks for the report.

Backs up what a kicking horse local told me about their trip to Jackson - "similar terrain, but lots more queuing and hype".
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
boarder2020 wrote:
Thanks for the report.

Backs up what a kicking horse local told me about their trip to Jackson - "similar terrain, but lots more queuing and hype".

Actually, JH terrain is not at all “similar” to Kicking Horse. KH has intermediate terrains. KH has advance terrain that it re-brand as “beginner”/“intermediate”. rolling eyes

There’re other mountains having “similar” radical terrains as KH. Taos, Crested Butte that I know of. Both suffer the same drawback as KH of not having well-rounded terrain makeups, though to a lessor degree than KH.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@hd, did you get a day in Grand Targhee?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@hd, did you get a day in Grand Targhee?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Unfortunately not. We considered popping in en route to Big Sky (TR to follow) but GT had received even less than JH from the Sunday night dump that wasn't so we refrained from shelling out $80 to ride moguls and made use of our Ikons again instead.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Sat 15-02-20 16:25; edited 2 times in total
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
boarder2020 wrote:
Thanks for the report.

Backs up what a kicking horse local told me about their trip to Jackson - "similar terrain, but lots more queuing and hype".

Indeed. A rule of life is to always under promise and over deliver.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
In other news my biggest achievement from this trip was learning how to pronounce Teton. Teee-taaan!!! Yeah!!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Actually, JH terrain is not at all “similar” to Kicking Horse. KH has intermediate terrains. KH has advance terrain that it re-brand as “beginner”/“intermediate”.


I don't understand what you are trying to say. I guess he just ment that it has similar level steeps and vertical, I don't think either of us really care about intermediate or beginner terrain (in which case don't go to kicking horse!).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Bridger Bowl beats Jackson hands down on shoots and drops and especially on price..

I skied there over 25 years ago . The area was funded by the state !!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I sort of agree about the hype which carries over a bit into "attitude" from locals but that doesn't make JH a bad place to ski. There are probably bigger challenges in skiing for true experts but for solid advanced skiers it's a good playground. And the vert is high for US resorts, ski repeated tram or gondi laps and you are doing a lot of skiing.

It's also a strange place, a genuine cowboy town but one with a mind boggling concentration of wealth in a very rural and sparsely populated state, yet accessible cheaply for those willing to stay in a town motel.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
No doubt it's a fantastic ski area that every experienced skier should visit but the repeated hyped up OTT warnings about its terrain appear a bit silly after a few days there.

The town was a pleasant place to stay with reasonably priced accommodation but has gone down the quasi theme park tourist tat route just a tad. Didn't think much of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in terms of food, service or ambience but had a very nice evening and dinner in the Snake River Brewery which is off the main tourist drag.
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