The snow's flying around Jackson, and some avid skiers and boarders are already heading out into the backcountry, dodging rocks and stumps and preparing for the season to come. Locals are busy swapping skis, waxing them up, and counting the days until Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opens for the season on Thanksgiving Day.
This year also happens to be the resort's 50th birthday, and skiers and riders have a lot to look forward to during this pivotal milestone. So get your gear ready and make sure to fit in some ski fitness classes as JHMR's 50th opening day . Here's a preview of what the season has in store.
1. Take a ride on the brand new Teton Lift.
Ready for 200 more skiable acres? Mark your calendar for December 19 and get ready to check out the Teton Lift, a brand new (and much anticipated) addition to JHMR this season. This run opens up new terrain, and half of this acreage was only accessible via hiking before. Up to 2,000 skiers per hour will head uphill 1,650 vertical feet to get some laps in from this lift. It also opens up three new groomed runs, including Kemmerer Run, an upper expansion of Wide Open, and the Crags Run—a gorgeous ridgeline run that provides views far into Grand Teton National Park . The aim is for the lift to spread out skiers across the mountain on big snow days and decrease lines at Thunder Lift.
2. But don't forget to pay homage to the old standby, Big Red.
The camaraderie of the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram (a.k.a. “Big Red” or “Red Heli”) is unmatched, according to many local skiers. Get in line early on powder days and chow down on a breakfast burrito while trying to snag a spot on the first box to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. The 4,139-vertical-foot ride up with 99 of your closest friends is only matched by terrain that's unveiled once you reach the top.
3. Get inspired by the Born to Be Wild series.
To commemorate 50 years of JHMR, the mountain is unveiling a series of five webisodes honoring the golden anniversary's “Born to Be Wild” theme. Four videos are currently ready for watching and the final webisode installment will go live on November 17. Watch these videos to get 50 years of stoke. Once the season opens, be sure to keep an eye out for 50th anniversary events, including Flashback Friday on the day after Thanksgiving.
4. Get fired up for some face shots.
You might just need a snorkel for this season's snow. Get ready to ride down the slopes with the powder flying high up into your face. With JHMR reporting 38 inches of snow as of November 10, it's bound to be a season to remember with plenty of face shots along the way.
5. Cruise some glorious groomers.
Show off your moves on those corduroy grooves: While the mountain is known for its challenging terrain, intermediate riders can find plenty of groomed terrain where they can link up turn after turn. The grooming machines are already out on the mountain and valley residents can see the lights of snowcats in the evenings as the JHMR grooming team is hard at work getting the terrain ready for opening day.
6. Test your skills on Corbet's Couloir.
While it doesn't usually open until a little later in the season, Corbet's Couloir is the most legendary in-bounds run on the mountain. Start preparing early to be ready to test your mettle on this tricky run, which involves launching off a cliff and making a quick turn in a narrow chute. The most nerve-wracking part? You'll be making those must-stick moves in front of crowds of people craning their necks to see the action.
But you'll have some time to work up the nerve to attempt one of the scariest ski runs in Jackson, as ski patrol waits until there's enough snow in the chute before opening it up for the season.
7. Savor après ski in Teton Village.
The après scene in Teton Village, one of the best in the West, is half the fun of skiing in Jackson. After your day on the slopes, relax with a pint or three in any number of fine watering holes. Enjoy fondue with your Spaten at the Alpenhof, catch live music at the Mangy Moose, or watch the game at the Spur and chow down on a jaw-droppingly huge pile of tasty nachos—you've certainly earned them.