Photographers – Stephen Shelesky and Keegan Rice
Over the past 4 days, the Freeskier Crew has had the treat of bringing the annual ski testing extravaganza that is Freeskier Fest to one of the worlds most iconic ski destinations; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Our gaggle of testers has been skiing from bell to bell each day, and even with this many phenomenal skiers covering so much ground, we can confidently say that we’ve only scratched the surface of what JHMR has to offer. There’s a reason this mountain has become such a breeding ground for talented skiers. With an average yearly snowfall of over 450 inches, incredible terrain, and a legendary past filled with skiing history, it’s no surprise that Jackson Hole has become the mecca that it is today.
We’ve gotten to experience first hand just how special this place can be, as we were treated to 20 inches of fresh Teton powder on the second day of the test. This sneaky storm opened up a countless number of possibilities, and the crew took full advantage. We found ourselves ripping down chutes and surfing open steep faces, all in the same run; linking bottomless turns in the trees, and popping out onto soft groomers. Many resorts can hype up one facet of their terrain, but it’s truly rare to be able to shameless brag about a variety of options like this. But trust us, Jackson has earned that right fair and square. Not all ski mountains are created equal.
Considering all this, it’s no surprise that rippers from around the globe are itching to get in their share of time at Jackson. Events like Natural Selection and Kings & Queens of Corbet’s, (both of which JH hosts), can draw crowds from all over, and the energy is unmatched. The Wyoming spirit that lives here is not easily duplicated, so needless to say, if you’re searching for an experience similar to this one you’ve pretty much got one choice; JHMR or bust. While this sounds like a recipe for long lift lines and chewed out snow, we can confidently tell you that after spending a week here with top tier powder days, the lines are nothing to fear, and the expansive terrain holds pockets of snow for days after a storm. We can’t say for sure, but perhaps Jackson Hole’s mandatory Ikon pass holder reservation system is to thank for this.
By requiring Ikon pass reservations, JH ensures that the guests on the mountain get their fair share of snow. The Ikon app is easy to use, and it’s not hard book the days you’re looking for. Just reserve your time a few days in advance, and look forward to less crowds and more skiing. We won’t sit here and tell you that the tram won’t have a wait after it snows, or that you’ll walk onto every lift, but you definitely will have drastically shorter wait times with limited numbers of Ikon riders per day.
A mountain such Jackson is a special place, and everyone should have a chance to experience the offers of this beast. But if you’re coming with an Ikon pass, make sure you reserve your days in advance to ensure you’ll ski when you want. All in all, less waiting in lift lines and more skiing means happier people. Unless of course you hate skiing and love standing in a snow moving heard of goggle clad individuals. If that sounds like your ideal time, the Jackson just isn’t for you. But to those who are looking for deep snow, one of the best mountain towns you’ll ever find, and a mountain that will have your legs shaking with excitement by the end of the day, we can’t wait to see you on our next visit.