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Western Getaway

Nov 27, 2010 02:13AM ● By Erin Frisch

Jackson Hole

Travel Time

Jackson Hole

There’s something for everyone this winter

by Debbie Johnson

As winter approaches, do you often think about heading west to enjoy winter activities in a new terrain? I do. The vast expanses of Wyoming have always intrigued me. And, for some reason, Jackson Hole comes to mind more often than any other destination. Along with the prospect of being able to ski at three mountains, Jackson Hole offers new experiences that I have yet to try, and the “cowboy” in me is summoned to the natural beauty of the land.

Jackson & Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is a 72 mile-long valley surrounded by high mountains and includes the towns of Jackson, Kelly, Moose, Wilson, Moran, and Teton Village. Towering more than a mile above the valley is the Grand Teton with an elevation of 13,770 feet. Twelve Teton peaks reach above 12,000 feet and support a dozen mountain glaciers. The airport is located 12 miles north of Jackson, 24 miles from Teton Village, 54 from Grand Targhee, and 52 from Yellowstone National Park. With a population of fewer than 9,500 residents and an elevation of 6,069 feet, it encapsulates the concept of the “wild west.” Temperatures during the winter months are quite similar to those in New Hampshire. However, you will find the summers cooler with a high averaging 80 degrees and a low of 38.

Jackson, Wyoming, is located at the southern end of the valley of Jackson Hole. The heart of the town of Jackson is the town square with its famed antler arch entrance. There you will find countless opportunities for shopping and dining for every taste and every budget. It is a mecca for art galleries, boutiques, and souvenir shops as well as just a couple of commercial chain stores. Restaurants, local hideaways, and nightlife abound. Jackson offers a wide variety of accommodations from historic inns to resorts and condominiums. Snow King Resort is situated in Jackson and offers hourly lift tickets, night skiing, and a tubing park.

Plenty to Do

If skiing or snowboarding is your main focus, Grand Targhee is located 54 miles from town and boasts 500 inches of powder per year. Twelve miles from Jackson is Teton Village, which is situated at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with 2,500 acres of terrain and the largest continual vertical rise in the country at 4,139 vertical feet. There you will find restaurants and accommodations such as resorts, condominiums, home rentals, and a hostel. Between Jackson and Teton Village you’ll find that a variety of even more restaurants and accommodations are available to you. Public transportation is offered between all three locations via START bus.

Should you not wish to ski or snowboard every day or if one of your traveling companions does not partake, rest assured that there is still plenty to do. You will find cross-country ski centers, snow-tubing parks, and for those who choose to stay warmer indoors, there is a multitude of spas. Imagine an aerial tram ride with views of the Tetons, snowshoeing or snowmobiling through the wilderness, or a dogsled tour.

Get up close to 6,000 elk on a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge, located only a few blocks from the town of Jackson, or combine a delicious dinner with a sleigh ride to a cozy, warm teepee located next to the Snake River. View wildlife such as buffalo, elk, wolves, and other smaller creatures while staying warm on a snow coach tour (a modified SUV with snow treads) to Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful erupt. With all that Jackson Hole has to offer, for every taste and every budget, you won’t be disappointed!

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