Alpinist Bobby Thomson is an entrepreneur, skier, and all around great guy in Jackson Hole. He'll likely ski 100 days this season, and is well versed in the best spots to hang your jacket after a day on the slopes. Who better to put together a guide to Jackson Hole?
Land in the only airport located inside a National Park in the United States. Check into your suite at the Historic Wort Hotel a stone’s throw from the Town Square. Walk around the corner to the new Hand Fire Pizza in the old Teton Theater. This new establishment serves up organic dough with locally sourced ingredients, and offers a slew of local beers on tap. Try the Zonker Nitro Stout from Snake River Brewing Co.
On your way back to the Wort stop by the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and saddle up for a cocktail, but don’t stay too long---you'll need to get back to your room to rest up for your first big day of skiing.
Rise and Shine butter cup, this town gets up early to get first tracks (powder or fresh corduroy). Walk over to Cowboy Coffee for a burrito to-go and hot coffee. Catch the START Bus across the street on Town Square—that Blue Line will drop you off at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for $3 one-way.
Head over to see the guys at Nomad Sports to get your gear setup, they have top of the line skis to rent including this year’s Kaestle’s so leave your skis at home to make and make your weekend easier.
Your advanced ski lesson meets at 9:50AM at the base of the Sweetwater Gondola. You can take a few laps beforehand to get a feel for just how steep the resort really is. I know I know, “ I don’t need a lesson.” On this mountain you do. You will learn more about the mountain and see more of its amazing steep terrain in one day with an instructor, than you would an entire week by yourself.
Lunch: Piste Bistro, you’ll want to make a reservation ahead of time.
Apres: Alpenhof Bistro. Skip the hype and crowds of the Mangy Moose and head over to the Alpenhof Lodge, a traditional European style Chalet at the base of the mountain. Grab a stein of Spaten, some raclette, and pretend you're in Austria. Order up some fondue and enjoy the crackling wood fire. ‘The Hof” as locals call it, serves up a laid back atmosphere to debrief about your day on skis.
Dinner: Snake River Grille is a solid staple on the fine dining circuit. Ample wine list, rich flavors, and great service. No one has ever turned down Truffle fries after a day on the slopes...
Head over to Café Genevieve for a big breakfast because you have a big day ahead of you. This sweet spot in a log cabin serves up large portions of Southern comfort food. My pick is corned beef hash...
The drive down to Bondurant, WY is roughly 45 minutes through winding canyon roads along the beautiful Hoback River. Green River Outfitters will size you up for a snow suit and helmet and then drive you to the trail head for one of the most beautiful snowmobile rides in the West. It takes roughly an hour on their own private packed-snow trials to reach their historic camp site complete with an old rustic log cabin and black iron stove from the 1890s. Lunch is a choice between salmon or steak. Bring a bathing suit and towel, and take a dip in their wood fired hot tub overlooking a snowy landscape with the Gros Ventre Wilderness in the background.
Head out to the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson, WY for ‘Church’. This isn’t you regular church, this is the weekly appearance of the Stagecoach Band featuring on lead vocals Bill Briggs—the first man to ski the Grand Teton. Hobknob on the dance floor with the locals...I suspect you'll be the only tourist in the place. The Stagecoach Band has played more than 2,500 times at this bar in the last 44 years, so you can only imagine that they've got it down by now.
Where to Eat:
The Local: Sit at the bar and order off of the bar menu. Great cocktail menu.
On mountain dining: OYG Teton at Calder House next to the tram
Cowboy Steakhouse: speakeasy style steak digs below the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Where to Drink:
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Check show listing for the Pink Garter Theater
Where to Ski:
If it’s a big powder day, skip the atrocious lines at the Tram and Bridger Gondola, head to the new Sweetwater Gondola where you can access Casper, Teton, and AV lifts as the patrol works hard to open the upper mountain. You can get three laps in there before they open the upper lifts. As everyone else waits in the line at the base, you will be loading Thunder before they had a chance to put their skis on.
It's Steep! Hit up the ski school for a “black diamond” refresher. These black diamonds are some of the steepest in the country and can pose a significant challenge, so don’t be afraid to take a lesson. Upper level group lessons are not usually busy so you may end up with just 2 or 3 other people in your group which will lead to a fast paced run. PRO TIP: talk with your group early in the morning about lunch options…you instructor eats free at Spur Bar, Westbank Grill at the Four Seasons, and Osteria at Hotel Terra. The meal will be better than the other on-mountain dining options and will make your day even better, you are on vacation so indulge a little! Oh, and don’t forget to throw your instructor a $20 at the end of the day. You can access every restaurant’s phone # directly from the JHTapped app, make sure you download it before you hit the slopes!