Core Contributor and Words: Dan Schatz
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
The kind of mountain mothers warn little flatlanders about
Bad boy riders dancin’ with ultra-rich flatlanders
This is the biggest and baddest hill in the continental US if not all of North America: 400+ inches of cold and dry snow, 4000 ft contiguous vertical, and thousands of acres of OB.
On powder days, get in the tram line early. The more snow, the earlier you need to line up. 7 am should be okay for first box. On windy days, consider getting in gondola line around 8:15 in case of a wind hold.
December is a great month to visit during good snow years because the mountain is empty. During bad years, coverage on the lower half is sketchy. Blame it on the 6000 foot base.
Those with the right stuff, appropriate gear and training, and a willing local, will find the OB a virtual pandemic of sickness. Epic gnar lies to both the north and south of resort. But BEWARE. Don’t go alone because many inviting paths cliff out. If you go to north OB, expect a long, arduous sidestep back to the resort base. South OB has a less punishing return, but if you miss the line back at the bottom of one of the ridges, you are on private property and trespassing in a state that only recently outlawed loaded guns and open alcoholic beverages in the same moving vehicle.
On high wind days, Saratoga Bowl, off the Apres-Vous quad chair, holds a sick but short stash.
For the full Jackson experience, head straight to Corbet’s Couloir after a big storm. The wind generally dumps twice as much snow into the ‘Cooler’ than elsewhere and since so few people manage to get the nerves to drop in, the riding is almost always incredible. As for the maneuver in, follow the ‘goat path’ on rider’s left or go big on rider’s right.
Park and Pipe
The entire mountain is a terrain park, so avoid the man-made ones. Did you really come here for park?
Burton Stash Parks have created four zones for all-mountain freeride/park fun. All-natural materials fused with natural mountain features create organic fun zones.
Two traditional parks are maintained as well. Hit Antelope flats for the halfpipe and medium to large-sized features. Newbs head for Bronco trail.
Get up early to get yer pow. Local hounds will hammer it early before heading OB to tag that terrain too.
Don’t be afraid to ride the lower lifts (Apres-Vous and Casper in particular). Lots of good tree skiing and groomers off these lifts. These lifts are not as famous as the upper lifts for terrain, but A.V. still sports an FIS-sanctioned downhill course, so it has to be at least somewhat steep and long.