Teton Village News – Ski Season Takes Off

Ski-in, Ski-out from Hotel Terra located in Teton Village

The skies were stingy at the beginning of the winter of 2009-10, but once they opened and starting dumping snow, the word got out – fast. “Stop what you’re doing and go to Jackson Hole, now,” Skiing Magazine advised its readers. “Finally, winter is descending on Jackson Hole.”

That’s music to the ears of powder hounds all over the country, if not the world. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort may be tucked into a remote corner of northwest Wyoming, but it has an outsize reputation for its 2,500 acres of inbound terrain, an open backcountry gate system accessing 3,000-plus acres, and an average snowfall of nearly 460 inches a year.

Jackson Hole tops in two skiing categories
The resort topped Skiing Magazine’s Resort Awards this year in two categories: Best Steeps and Best Backcountry Access. “With the exception of Whistler Blackcomb, no other resort comes close to matching Jackson Hole for easy access to back- and side-country lines,” the magazine said. And skiers and snowboarders don’t have to leave their non-downhilling friends and family members at home. The Teton Nordic Track on the southern border of Grand Teton National park offers 17 kilometers of groomed terrain and even has a loop where dogs are welcome.

Anyone who hasn’t been to the Village in a while will notice some changes. Sure, the little red box, aka the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, is still moving up and down the mountain, but it’s a newer and better version of the original Village icon. “Big Red,” which debuted last winter, is twice as big as the old tram and 20 percent faster, whisking skiers and snowboarders up 4,139 feet to the summit of Rendezvous in nine minutes. And friends and family can still promise to “meet at the clock tower” at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, as generations of skiers have done, but today’s tower is a sleeker, updated version of the original.

Apres Ski
The off-slopes season is changing, too. It’s never been hard to find a way to celebrate in Teton Village, but the list keeps getting longer. For après ski, you can relax in the lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, for example, and listen to local Judd Grossman play folk and rock music, or enjoy valley residents Pete and Anne Sibley’s vocalizations on bluegrass tunes. The Mangy Moose Saloon is always a hotspot, hosting late-night concerts in a range of genres, from rockabilly to reggae. For those who prefer classical fare, there’s the Grand Teton Musical Festival, where a string quartet playing Mendelssohn and Debussy might be on a typical evening’s musical menu. In recent years, the Music Festival’s venue, Walk Festival Hall, has been expanded and upgraded. New soundproofing, for example, ensures that outdoors revelries in the Village never interfere with the music inside Walk Hall.

The Village offers other ways to relax, as well. With the arrival of new hotels and upgrades to existing ones, the spa scene has flourished. Anyone in the mood for big-time pampering after a day of pounding on the hill can have his or her pick of massages, skin treatments, manicures and pedicures.

With all that’s going on at the resort and in the Village, it’s not hard to see why visitors keep coming back to Jackson Hole, not only in the winter, but also in the summer, when sunshine and warm temperatures turn the mountains and rivers into a different kind of playground. More and more, though, Teton Village isn’t just a vacation destination: It’s a place to live.

Teton Village Developments
One of the newest residential arrivals to the neighborhood is Shooting Star. The development’s Tom Fazio-designed golf course opened last summer, a sure bet to be a perennial on the “best of” lists in golf and travel magazines. The clubhouse features a spa and restaurant, as well as and museum-worthy art collection of Western-themed paintings and photographs. The refined-rustic Shooting Star cabins offer an opportunity to enjoy a lifestyle where great outdoor activities are literally right out the back door.

Not far from Shooting Star is the Four Seasons, which opened in 2003 and now accommodates vacationers in luxury rooms and suites as well as part-time and full-time Jackson Hole residents who have found their perfect mountain retreat in the resort’s slopeside residences and penthouses. The property is Four Seasons’ first ski resort property, and it’s been a hit not only with people who already know and love the valley, but also with those who came here for the first time simply because they’re familiar with the Four Seasons Brand. So far, Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole is the only property in Wyoming to have earned AAA’s Five Diamond rating.

Hotel Terra is another relative newcomer to Teton Village. As the first completely eco-friendly hotel in the area, it acknowledges that the appeal of Jackson Hole is first and foremost the natural environment, and that visitors and residents are increasingly attuned to the importance of conservation. Everything about Hotel Terra is designed to be low impact, from its 100 percent Eco Shake shingles to its low VOC (volatile organic compound) carpets. Guests can go to sleep at night, literally, with a good conscience: The hotel’s “Terra Beds” are made of recycled steel springs and mattresses made with natural latex harvested from rubber trees in a way that doesn’t destroy them.

Some of the other changes in Teton Village in recent years include the homes in The Timbers, the last part of the Granite Ridge development to be completed. Designed by local architect John Carney (who also designed the clock tower), Timbers homes average 3,300 square feet plus a two-car garage and feature vaulted ceilings, two-story glass windows, gourmet kitchens, stone fireplaces and private Jacuzzi decks. The Timbers grounds are liberally planted with hundreds of aspen and spruce trees, in keeping with the overall environmentally friendly process with which Granite Ridge was developed.

Recent years have seen also seen a resurgence in the “old town” part of Teton Village: the condominiums built along McCollister Drive and Rachel Way in the 1970s and ’80s. Many are newly upgraded, from simple paint jobs to extensive remodels. As with the Timbers, these units have an appeal that goes beyond a prime location. They are among the few neighborhoods in Jackson Hole that are zoned for short-term rentals. That can be an attractive opportunity for owners who would like to generate some revenue from their properties.

Teton Village will host first-time visitors as well as Jackson Hole vacation veterans this winter. Some will keep coming back for winter and summer vacations year after year. And some will decide to make Teton Village their home. As the magazine said, “Stop what you’re doing, and go to Jackson Hole, now.”