Only a four hour drive north of Salt Lake City, Jackson, Wyoming offers a great variety of backcountry skiing during the winter months that any Utah skier should consider. While the resort town has plenty to offer in entertainment, food and lodging the sorrounding Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park have backcountry skiing for every taste. Huge technical lines inside the park, easy half day tours in glades and bowls near town and everything in between make this a ski destination to explore. From November through June you can find something new and exciting to ski.
Backcountry skier and Salt Lake City resident Jacki Arevalo who visits the region annually says, “Compared to the Wasatch the Teton’s can be intitially intimidating. The approches are longer and the relief is huge.” It took her several trips to get comfortable with them, but now she considers the Teton’s one of her favorite destinations.
She suggests that new visitors start by skiing Teton Pass which has world class slopes similar to the Wasatch. It can be accessed from highway Wy-22 just west of Wilson were it climbs quickly to the pass before it dropping into Idaho. Those williing to hike farther but not push the angle can discover the friendly slopes in the Buck Mountain area on popular gladed runs like Wimpy’s Knob, Maverick and 25 Short. All three have limited exposure but offer dramatic views of the higher peaks in the park .
If bigger days are your thing, but you still want to avoid the technical exposer of the higher peaks, head up to Colter Bay and carefully cross Jackson Lake to access the more secluded peaks of Owl and Ranger.
And once you have become accustom to the terrain you can go steeper and technical with lines like the Sliver or Hourglass Couloirs on Nez Perce or the 5,000 foot drop from the summit of Mt. Moran on the Skillet Glacier.
After skiing in the park Jacki highly recomends that you stop by for a drink, some food and to socialize at Dornan’s Pizza and Pasta Company located in Moose. If you are closer to town for breakfast don’t miss Down On Glen(DOG) for their killer breakfast burritos, 25 south Glenwood, Jackson, Wy.
Exum Mountain Guides, Rendezvous Backcountry Tours or Jackson Hole Mountain Guides can be useful in guiding you through this terrain. High Mountain Heli-skiing Jackson Hole can be contacted for information on heli-skiing in and around the area.
Lodging ranges from yurt/huts to hostels to high-end hotels.
For gear and local information stop by Teton Mountaineering, 170 N Cache Drive, Jackson, WY.
Current avalanche advisories can be found at www.jhavalanche.org.