All this week our resident ski expert Helen is sharing the latest news from ski resorts as we approach the new ski season. Yesterday she featured Club Med’s plans for families skiing at Christmas, and earlier in the week she showed us her pick of some of the best ski chalets for families. Today she’s heading to America, to give us a taste for some slightly more extreme skiing at Jackson Hole.
Since I’ve known my husband, he’s always wanted to ski Jackson Hole. I rarely see him during the skiing day. While I like to cruise the open pistes, or stalk the children while they’re having lessons, he’s off in search of powder. Frequently off-piste, sometimes with an avalanche-equipped guide, he’s always looking for the more extreme thrills. He once jumped out of a helicopter with skis attached to his boots.
Extreme skiing at Jackson Hole
I worried about this when we began to ski as a family. How would the children’s need (albeit temporary) for a more sedate week on the slopes fit with his hunger for thrills? Could we keep everyone happy? It turned out that fatherhood – and more crucially, watching your children follow in your footsteps – creates a more laid-back attitude to your own pursuits, and we enjoyed a wonderful week of skiing as a family, with interludes of more extreme skiing when the opportunity arose (I have a strong feeling my daughter will be joining her dad on the black runs in the not too distant future)!
Jackson Hole has always been his goal. Celebrating its 50th birthday as a resort this season, Jackson Hole is known as a resort for the hardest skiers, and the most able, and he wants to be able to chalk it up on his list. Corbet’s Couloir is the reason.
I have palpitations just looking at it.
As he gets ready to celebrate his own 50th, it seems obvious that he would want to do so here. But how will we do it as a family?
Corbet’s Couloir is probably the reason most serious skiers have for visiting Jackson Hole. The sheer drop into a run which promises some of the best (and least skied!) snow in the USA is just too irresitible. It’s iconic. But as the prospect of a family ski holiday at Jackson Hole looked increasingly likely, I decided to find out how the rest of us would fare while Jason contemplates the biggest adrenalin shot of his life. I discovered that there’s more to Jackson Hole than feeling the fear.
Family activities in Jackson Hole
Take the tram: I can safely say that I won’t be skiing Corbet’s Couloir, but I will take the children on the tram, which offers a great view of the infamous run. We’ll hold our breaths and watch Jason make the leap as we listen to the cool music the tram operators are famed for playing.
Eat waffles: Once that’s done I can relax, and we’ll indulge in what sound like the most incredible waffles ever at Corbet’s Cabin. Brown sugar, Nutella, peanut butter and bacon..? We could even design our own topping to be considered for the 50th anniversary menu. The resort is inviting #JHWaffle suggestions on Instagram – currently I’m contemplating the Alpenglow, with Brie, blueberries, lemons and sugar. I’m pretty sure my kids would go for bacon and maple syrup.
Cruise the blues: Whilst Jackson hole has a lot of challenging terrain for more advanced skiers, there are plenty of gently blue runs to cruise down with the children. There are also terrain parks for learning tricks, and Stash Parks designed especially for kids to enjoy practising their new skills.
Learn about the area: Jackson Hole has a Children’s Museum Children’s Museum runs daily programmes to capture children’s imaginations. Even the fish tank holds local meaning: among the indigenous species swims a rare blue cutthroat trout.
Take a sleigh ride: How much fun would it be to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through herds of elk? The National Elk Refuge can organise the adventure of a lifetime right at the foot of the slopes.
Sleep in a back country yurt: spend a night slopeside at the rustic Rock Springs Yurt. Led by a knowledgeable guide, the overnight adventure includes a private tour to the yurt’s secluded backcountry site in the Bridger Teton National Forest and a fully-outfitted stay, from the hot drinks greeting you upon arrival to the gourmet meals prepared by the yurtmeister and the cozy bunks guaranteeing a sound night’s sleep.
Go to an open-mic night: On Monday nights, Dornan’s Spur Bar hosts the Hootenanny, an acoustic gathering open to all. Local and visiting musicians are welcome to sign up for a two-song slot.
Good to know: Jackson Hole run ski lessons for children aged 3 and up, and have daycare facilities for children from 6 months to 3 years.
This year is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s 50th Anniversary and they’re celebrating the occasion with parties, webisodes, a photo contest and giveaways. For more on Jackson Hole for families click here. And to feel the fear of Corbet’s Couloir watch this video!