Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Nestled at the gateway to the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the mecca of North American downhill skiing. Moose and elk from the next door National Refuge compete with two-skied wildlife drawn to the 459” of annual snowfall and legendary terrain. Famous for its vertigo-inducing chute drop, Corbet’s Couloir, Jackson Hole is where skiers come to test their nerve and burnish their credentials, rubbing shoulders with the weather-beaten local skiing legends, the ‘JH Air Force’. However, for those seeking iconic pistes without white knuckles, over half of runs are classed beginner-intermediate, and plentiful waffles await at Corbet's Cabin for those who ride the famous red tram.

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Where many US resorts fall down - food and lodging - Jackson Hole steps up. Family owners who still ski the slopes today have preserved the laid-back culture, which characterises the luxury hotels and secluded condos that host America’s top bankers once a year. Meanwhile, the nearby town of Jackson boasts true Old West charm. Unwind at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, replete with barstools topped with saddles, or the Silver Dollar Bar, where the bartop is inlaid with 1921 silver dollars. And when you come to leave, sitting next to a real fire in the airport departure lounge within sight of the pistes, you’ll know it’s not called ‘The Big One’ for nothing.

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Words by Tom Allsup, The Iris Letter March 2018.