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Visiting the “Best” Ski Resort in America

Visiting the “Best” Ski Resort in America

You didn’t hear it from me, but apparently, according to Forbes, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the best ski resort in the entire country! I had to find out for myself if that was true or not, so I traveled all the way from Tampa, Florida to Jackson, Wyoming.

Florida is vastly different from Wyoming. For starters, there aren’t any palm trees in Wyoming and people there really like to drive Subarus. For real, though, Wyoming is soooooo cold! When I left Tampa, it was over 80 degrees and when I finally got to Jackson, it was under 20! Now, December is not necessarily the best time of the winter season to visit Jackson Hole, but you gotta take what you can get, you know?

As a (self-proclaimed) expert on skiing and snowboarding, I thought it would be a great idea to see what Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the Town of Jackson have to offer. I’ve never been to Jackson Hole, let alone Wyoming, so this is an unbiased opinion on one of the most popular ski areas in America (and the world). I packed my bags, grabbed a camera, and made my way to Wyoming, the cowboy state. 

Getting to Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is a fancy place to be and getting there is not exactly easy. Typically, people will fly right into the town of Jackson in their private jets, but, if you are like me, you find other ways. I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah. I know what you think: “Sam, that is nowhere near Jackson…” I know! But flying into Salt Lake City and then renting a car and then driving four hours to Jackson is still cheaper than getting a direct flight to Jackson (it’s a lot less convenient, though).

Flying into Jackson is the ideal mode of travel. However, flying to Salt Lake City and then driving has its perks, too. For example, the drive from SLC to Jackon was one of the most stunning and scenic drives I have been on in my life! From the moment I touched down in SLC, there were mountains all around me that stretched for miles into the sky. I grabbed my rental car and was on my way.

Luckily for me, there was not a lot of snow on the ground, which made my drive. In fact, most places around America have not received a lot of snow, causing ski resorts all around the nation to suspend their opening day. Jackson Hole, on the other hand, opened in November and has the second-largest snowfall so far (right behind Alta, Utah). While there was little snow, there was still a bit of ice on the roads I had to be wary of. However, with not a single bit of traffic the entire way, I got to Jackson in just over four hours.

Upon arriving in Jackson, I checked into the Flat Creek Inn, which is a great alternative for those looking to save a few extra dollars (skiing ain’t cheap!). The Flat Creek Inn does not claim to be the best place to stay in Jackson. That said, I was pleasantly surprised and very comfortable. Plus, the staff was very, very kind.

Here are some things to expect from the Flat Creek Inn (straight from the site):

  • Updated Rooms
  • Friendly, Helpful Staff
  • Scenic Views from Every Room
  • Affordable Rates
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Kitchen Suites Available
  • All Rooms are Non-Smoking
  • Cable TV, Microwave, Mini-Fridge, Coffee Maker, and Hair Dryer in Every Room
  • On-Site Convenience Store & Gas Station
  • Family-Owned and Operated
  • Monthly Rentals in Winter
  • Increased Cleaning & Sanitation

Day 1: Battling Low Visibility

Snowboarding in Jackson Hole

Lucky for me, the days leading up to my trip to Jackson Hole proved to be pleasantly powdery. Early-season skiing and snowboarding can be tricky, so going at the right time was extremely important. Fortune was on my side, though, as over 10” of snow covered the Tetons with fresh, powdery snow.

However, with fresh snow came clouds so thick that the mountain received very little sunlight. When visibility is low, like it was on my first day, it can be hard to see far ahead of you, and, in extreme cases, it can even be difficult to see moguls right in front of you! This was the case on my first day. I couldn’t even see the peaks of the mountain while riding the ski lifts!

When planning a ski trip, especially to a place you have never been to before, it is important to plan for the unexpected. Before I arrived in Jackson, I had a feeling I would have to prepare for some iffy weather conditions. While December skiing is known to be a bit on the chilly side, it was surprisingly nice. The only problem was the poor visibility. Thankfully, I brought my Outdoor Master Falcon Goggles that have replaceable Zeiss lenses. I switched out my base lens for an almost clear lens, allowing me to see much better on the dimly lit slopes.

After a tumultuous day of snowboarding, I returned to my room where I took a nice, hot shower, made dinner, and fell asleep.

Day 2: Ramping Up the Difficulty

My second day in Jackson Hole proved to be just as difficult as the first. While the visibility of the mountain had certainly improved, the areas I chose to explore were significantly harder to traverse.

Jackson Hole is an interesting ski area. Did you know there are only 5 green runs on the entire mountain?! As one of the premier ski areas in all of North America, Jackson Hole is known for its expert terrain. From its sensational steeps to its spacious bowls, there is something for everyone at this magnificent mountain oasis.

On day one, I spent most of my time on the East side of the mountain, exploring Jackson Hole’s easiest terrain areas. Most of my day was spent riding the Bridger Gondola and gaining confidence in my turns. With better light conditions and still lots and lots of snow, I was ready to conquer more of the mountain on my second day.

I took the Bridger Gondola and traveled West until I made it to the Thunder Quad chair. With a stunning view of Corbet’s Couloir, I continued to practice my turns and get my confidence back. After jumping some side hits and navigating some moguls, I decided it was time to keep traveling West until I reached the Sublette Quad chair. This chair takes you to the second-highest portion of the ski resort (unfortunately the Aerial Tram was closed due to a lack of snow).

Once I made it to the top, I had two choices. I could keep going West and ride along Rendezvous Trail, a blue that was sure to boost my confidence. Or, more dangerously, I could ride East into the Tensleep Bowl, a steep area filled with moguls and TONS of powder. After a quick ride on Rendezvous, I was ready to try Jackson Hole’s steepest and most difficult terrain.

The West side of the mountain proved to be the most fun. While it was certainly difficult, cruising through the powder on my Lib Tech Orca was heavenly. 

Day 3: Taking In the Beauty

The slopes of Jackson Hole Wy

After day two, I was pretty beat up. My neck hurt, my back hurt, and my feet were sore from wearing tight snowboard boots all day. But momma ain’t raise no quitter!

I headed for the slopes early, around 9:00 a.m. I battled the ice of the early morning and made sure to keep myself from freezing. Fortunately, it was the clearest day of all and I could see every peak in sight.

I was able to take in all the beauty Jackson Hole is known for, and now I know why people pay the big bucks to ski there. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is unlike any ski resort I have ever been to in my life. Most ski areas are gorgeous, but Jackson Hole is on another level. What sets this place apart are the massive peaks that rise into the air like giants.

At noon, I stopped to have a lunch break at the Snake River Lodge and Spa. The staff was so very kind and the burger was to die for.

I snowboarded for the rest of the day, drinking in the majesty of Wyoming’s mountains. As the sun began to set, clouds covered the slopes and the last few rays of light were cast on the town of Jackson. I was lucky enough to get the very last chair of the day. My last lap was filled with smooth carves and scenic views. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I will 100% be visiting Jackson Hole again.

Tips on early-season skiing: It is very important to remember that skiing early in the season is going to be vastly different than what you might be used to. For those considering skiing or snowboarding before Christmas, just remember… there is not always lots of snow and you have to be extra careful due to exposed trees and rocks. For those who own your own skis/boards, be extra careful not to scrape or scratch your gear on exposed rock. It will be very costly to fix!

Jackson 101

If you choose to visit Jackson Hole, here are some things to know before you go. The town of Jackson has many places to stay, drink, and eat. Here are a few:


  • Flat Creek Inn (save some money!)
  • Snake River Lodge and Spa
  • Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
  • Amangani (high-end)
  • Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa


  • The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
  • The Silver Dollar Bar at The Wort Hotel
  • Local Restaurant & Bar
  • Snake River Brewing
  • The Handle Bar at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole


  • BAPP Korean Restaurant
  • Persephone Bakery
  • Snake River Grill
  • Bin22
  • The Kitchen


Jackson Hole is a stunning ski area with lots to do. Not everyone likes skiing and snowboarding as much as I do, and that’s okay! In Jackson, there are tons of places to visit and lots of attractions for those looking for non-skiing thrills. I see why some think this place is the best ski resort in the US. I would highly recommend visiting the Granite Hot Springs. Soaking in some natural mineral water might be the perfect way to cleanse your soul!

In Jackson Hole, beginners should prioritize safety, checking weather forecasts and sticking together. Learn basic navigation, carry essentials, and heed warning signs. Start with easier trails (greens), gradually advancing. Embrace caution and take beginner-level runs before working their way up to the blues and blacks.


snowboarding Jackson Hole

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