Guest Author - Candyce H. Stapen
In winter, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, offers mountains of ski trails plus such memorable off-the-slopes outings as dog sledding, hot springs soaks and wildlife safaris. The town of Jackson is also the gateway to the majestic Grand Teton National Park.
More than 5,000 elk winter at the National Elk Refuge a few miles outside of Jackson. The best way to see the herd is by taking a one-hour, horse-drawn sleigh ride through the refuge. You can also drive along Refuge Road where you might spot bison. Then continue on to Miller Butte, favored by bighorn sheep.
For more animal encounters, book a four hour trip with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. Along with the National Elk Refuge, the guides take you through parts of Grand Teton National Park where you’re likely to see moose, elk, deer, fox, coyotes and trumpeter swans.
Another great animal encounter: a dog sled trek, an easy way to sample the back-country. The huskies do the work while you savor the wildlife and the woodland peace. As the willing canines pull you along picturesque trails, all you hear is the swoosh of the sled and the panting of the dogs. Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours, co-founded by Frank Teasley, a professional musher, and eight time veteran of Alaska's grueling Iditarod, has full and half-day trips. On a day-long tour lunch in the woods and warm-up with a soak in the Granite Hot Springs (wear a bathing suit).
Skiers find plenty of runs at Jackson Hole’s three ski areas. The slopes at Snow King Ski Resort, Wyoming's original ski area, nearly swoop down into town. The mountain offers a variety of beginner and intermediate trails as well as night skiing, Tuesday to Saturdays. At Grand Targhee Ski Resort, a one-hour drive from Jackson, pick your run from 2,000 acres of lift-serviced terrain. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming’s largest resort, lures adventurers with 2,500 acres of bowls and steeps. Beginners and intermediates can find suitable trails as well.
A popular ski town, Jackson Hole has a variety of lodging options. We recommend renting a condominium, townhouse or private home from Rendezvous Mountain Rental, booking a guest room at the Bavarian style Alpenhof Lodge or go for luxury with a package from the Four Seasons Resort at Jackson Hole.