THE SKIING: Great Week!
Thirty one members and Club guests set out for the legendary skiing at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on February 9 from Dulles International Airport. We were very lucky to be in Jackson this year because they had already received 350 inches of snowfall BEFORE we arrived–far above their average snowfall–and considerably more than most resorts in Colorado and Tahoe unfortunately received this year. Lucky indeed. Jackson’s 2500 acres of in-bounds terrain thus had more than adequate snow to keep all slopes and lifts open for our week. Jackson’s terrain, though renowned for advanced skiing, has opened up areas that now provide 35% intermediate and 10% beginner terrain—more than enough to satisfy the full range of group needs from novice to expert.
Temperatures were also very moderate for our week—generally in the low to high 20s daily, the comfort range for skiing. We received 4’’ of new snow our first day, another 4” on Tuesday and quite a dump our last day–so it was nicely spaced to provide ample coverage for the week. We were also greeted with very short lift lines with the exception of the Tram, where new snow brought out local powder hounds early to make first tracks from the peak of Rendezvous Mountain. While many of our advanced skiers spent time in tram-accessed Rendezvous Bowl, I didn’t hear of anyone in the Club that tried Jackson’s infamous “Corbet’s Couloir”, the chute that locals sought at the summit and that starts with a 10-20’ freefall drop.
The group finished the week with no serious injuries, but we did have a young orthopedic surgeon making his first trip with the Club. Orthopedists are ALWAYIS welcome on our trips, though we hope not to need them :)!
On Monday, the group took a shuttle over to the nearby resort of Grand Targhee, well known for its copious snowfall, powder and uncrowded, open terrain. While the morning started out with very poor visibility and not-a-few regrets at having left the great conditions at Jackson, it soon cleared up and we finished the day with good conditions, and even some blue sky.
Ski School/Mountain Tours.
Jackson has a great ski school, and many members availed of the discounted full day lessons that were on offer. Most members took advantage of the free half day mountain tour to explore the mountain in small groups.
Jackson Hole, located in the impressive Grand Teton National Park, has many interesting options for a mid week break. A few of the diverse activities that members participated in include snowmobiling or snowcoach tours in Yellowstone National Park, wildlife safaris, visits to the nearby Elk Refuge, cross country skiing, a photography tour of the Grand Teton Park, museums or city tours and shopping in the western town of Jackson. A few just rested!
THE LODGING: The Alpenhof Hotel
The Tyrolean-inspired Hotel Alpenhof was the first hotel in Jackson Hole and retains its old world alpine charm. Our bus driver Jesse, whom no one will forget, said wistfully that it was one of the few authentic places in town. And believe me, Jesse knows it all! If you don’t believe me, just ask those who rode his bus twice (Not me!).
The Alpenhof being the first hotel in Teton Village had obviously picked the perfect spot to locate. It was conveniently located adjacent to the gondola in the center of Teton Village. It was also a close walk to the Bridger gondola and other base lifts—not to mention ski school, shops and village restaurants. Trip members took advantage of the on-site pool, hot tub, sauna and massage services. There was a very lively, and much frequented apres ski bar, where you just had to be there to experience the live ‘polka’ band. A first for the Club I do believe. The service in the hotel was friendly and accommodating to our needs. About half of the group rented skis, most of which were delivered and picked up righ in the hotel lobby, where they also provided free ski overnight ski storage.
THE FOOD: Awesome Restaurants and Convivial Dinners
Trip member enjoyed a delicious hot breakfast every morning in the hotel. They will also remember the pastries made on site, including fresh cinnamon buns. Available fresh every morning with an array of other pastries whipped up by the resident pastry chef. And don’t forget the homemade, warm, chocolate chip cookies available in the lobby when we returned from the slopes. Oh yes, available every day, not just at check in. Om my. And we thoroughly enjoyed the multi-course fondue dinner at the Alpenhof, finished off with a memorable chocolate fondue with fresh fruit. The fruit made us feel less guilty! You get the picture. No one went hungry, and skiing hard every day gratefully offset the extra calories. In addition to the two group dinners, optional meals were organized at great village restaurants (“The Mangy Moose”, The Spur) and the Silver Dollar Grill in the Wort Hotel in the town of Jackson. 15-20 members availed of these convivial gatherings on any given night. We also gathered for Apres Ski and country music at the Trap Bar in Targhee.
And no, most of us did not miss the opportunity to visit Jackson’s famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar to sample the local Wyoming brew and literally, ‘saddle’ up at the bar! We had all heard of the great skiing in Jackson Hole, but food, music and drink was indeed plentiful and excellent in Jackson Hole too!
Our final evening, we said our good-byes at a group pizza party, and thanked Jackson Hole for providing a great week of skiing and friendship for the Club.