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Skiing the Jackson Hole

  Just twelve miles northwest of Jackson, Wyoming is the Jackson Hole Mountain. The ‘Hole’ part of the name comes from partly from the extremely steep terrain on the mountain, but mostly from its vertical drop of 4139 feet – the highest in North America. Elite skiers from around the world head to Jackson Hole on a regular basis, using the drop as a sort of litmus test for their skill level. This isn’t a mountain for beginners, but you don’t need to be a ‘cream of the crop’ skier to do the Hole.


Before the Jackson Hole became a destination ski resort with resort location s for visitors, it was a Girl Scout ranch. In 1961, the land was purchased, developed and finally opened as a ski resort in 1966. At the time, there was just one ski lift, today there is one tram, one gondola with eight cars, nine chairlifts, one magic carpet and one rope tow. The original tram was closed in 2006, and reopened in 2008 with the ability to reach the full height of the vertical drop.

Showing Off

Free skiers of the world consider Jackson Hole to be the most challenging in North America, in-bounds and out of bounds. The rough terrain provides excellent opportunities for perfecting obstacle avoidance and other skills. Even the ski film industry has found Jackson Hole as its new favorite filming location. Teton Gravity Research stakes out a location on the mountain on a regular basis, attracting skiers looking for a little more exposure in their sport. The best run for elite skiers is Corbet’s Couloirs.


Having the highest vertical drop, and having a top elevation of 10,450 feet, avalanches are to be expected. The boundaries of the resort are well marked, gated and guarded. However, skiers still choose to venture past the gates for some more challenging terrain. Sometimes the outcome is uneventful, and sometimes it is tragic. Out of bounds avalanches are going to occur, that is why certain areas are designated as out of bounds. Unfortunately, in-bounds avalanches happen too. There have been three in Jackson Hole’s history, just three in over forty years of skiers. There are more than 2500 acres of in-bounds ski areas at Jackson Hole, and 3000 acres of back-country. Within those 2500 acres and 116 ski runs, there are also loads of other activities. If skiing isn’t for you, then how about dog sledding? Or snowshoeing, balloon rides, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, rock climbing and even Nordic skiing. Not many people in this world are in the elite class of skiing. Even if you are a moderately successful skier, the Jackson Hole is definitely worth trying out. Even just to see first-hand, the deepest vertical drop in North America.
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Ready to challenge the 4,139 foot vertical drop at Jackson Hole this winter? Make it a full luxury vacation with Diamond Resorts and stay at the ski-in, ski-out Teton Club at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Indulge in the exquisite furnishings and quality service that the Teton Club is known for on your next ski adventure.