Settling nicely into its fifth decade as a ski destination, Jackson Hole has quietly courted both the jet set and adventure-minded alike with a humble and awe-inspiring vision of the American West.
Since John D. Rockefeller toured the region in the 1920s making preservation a personal mission, scarcity and sustainability have been core tenets of the area. That tradition has held true since the Kemmerer family purchased the resort in 1992, and they have now spent more than $100 million in expansion and continued reinvestment in the future of the resort.
The town, meanwhile, continues to grow and modernize while keeping its down-to-earth western spirit. New accommodations have revitalized vintage buildings, and restaurants with access to the freshest possible ingredients and independent shops now line the town square. For those who desire a winter destination that's equal parts rustic, sophisticated, and just the right amount of exclusive, look no further.
Where to Stay
Four Seasons Resort and Residences (Teton Village)
With 159 guest rooms and 18 suites, Wyoming’s only five-star, five-diamond resort was once the largest building in the state. The resort, which sits at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, remains the village’s only true ski-in/ski-out access and boasts oversized, renovated rooms with all of the latest bells and whistles.
Ready to shred “Cowboy Powder?” The on-property Base Camp ski concierges will set you up with your own locker when you check in, keep track of which skis and boots are yours, and help you put them on. Lift tickets, private lesson bookings, and any gear you might have forgotten are all available without needing to set foot outside.
If perhaps you’d rather relax, the hotel features an 11,000-square-foot spa and full-service fitness center complete with 16 treatment rooms, saunas, plunge pools, and a tranquility lounge. The "Grand Teton Sports Recovery" treatment, in particular, is not to be missed. Designed to increase mobility and reduce muscle pain, therapists combine orthopedic, traditional, and Asian bodywork styles to get you back on the slopes good as new for the next morning’s first tracks.
For food and drink, the hotel’s premier restaurant, Westbank Grill, provides the requisite mountain steakhouse experience. Ask Head Sommelier Anthony Puccia for a bottle of 2013 Catch & Release Sonoma Valley Zinfandel produced by Jackson Hole Winery (his favorite). Looking for something more après? Michael Mina’s Handle Bar is ready to serve, complete with outdoor fire pits, an indoor/outdoor bar, and plenty of storage space for your gear. Make sure you don’t miss out on the "Frickles" (fried pickles).
The Wort (Town of Jackson)
Since opening in 1941, the 59-room Wort has been the grande dame of downtown Jackson. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and has been the primary place to stay in town for decades. It’s committed staff know every inch of the property and can materialize almost any desire. Look out for their signature finishing touch (a yellow rose left on each bed at night) and be sure to check out the newly expanded Silver Dollar Bar for live music, two-stepping, and light fare. The Silver Dollar Grill (located a few steps away) is perfect for casual dining and amazing Prime Rib.
New Kids on the Block
Hotel Jackson (Town of Jackson)
Dating back to the early 20th century, the original Hotel Jackson was one of the first five structures that made up Jackson Hole. In 2015, it was reimagined as the first LEED-certified property in town. The new 58-room, six-suite building maintains its rustic elegance. Perfectly situated in the heart of town, it’s a stone’s throw from all the nightlife, shopping, and dining you could desire.
FIGS, the hotel’s signature restaurant, has turns into somewhat of a local gathering place after a day of shredding waist-deep powder. With a menu featuring Mediterranean-inspired Lebanese small plates (truly unique for the area), each dish is made with locally sourced Wyoming ingredients. Don’t miss the Sweet Potato entree, complete with Muharma, labneh, beluga lentils, and pomegranate.
Anvil (Town of Jackson)
The newly opened Anvil was borne out of a historic past; originally constructed as a 1950s motor lodge, its essence remains but with an eye to the future. A renovation from the creative minds of New York-based Studio Tack transformed it into an homage to the rugged culture of the region, with metal beds, brass finishes, and Woolrich blankets. None of the 49 rooms are without their modern extravagances, though. You can expect rain showers and locally stocked minibars.
The house restaurant, Glorietta Trattoria centers around an oversized wood-burning grill and features a seasonal menu. With a cuisine by Executive Chef Troy Furuta (formerly of LA’s Pok Pok) and cocktails from the team behind NYC’s Death & Co., you can’t really go wrong.
Mountain Modern (Town of Jackson)
Another new addition for the 2017 season, the 135-room Mountain Modern is located just off the town square. Locally owned and operated, the property features two restaurants, a cafe, and an indoor pool. Rooms accommodate large groups, apartment-style open floor plans, oversized beds (some with bunk beds kids will love) and a feeling reminiscent of home.
Mountain Modern offers restaurants for two unique tastes, Ocean City China Bistro and Big Hole BBQ - both easy, casual options, perfect after a long day of outdoors activities.
If there’s one name to know in the Jackson Hole culinary community, it’s Gavin Fine. The Tetons' answer to Danny Meyer, Fine reigns over his seven-restaurant fine-dining empire, which ranges from the town’s primary wine bar, Bin 22, to Teton Village’s "Bodega," a roadside market-cum-Dean and Deluca, and the flagship Rendezvous Bistro, which he opened 15 years ago at the ripe old age of 25.
380 South Broadway, Jackson Hole, 307-739-1100
When Gather's owners brought on award-winning executive chef Clark Myers, he reoriented the menu around locally focused cuisine and added new takes on western decadence. If you’re in town on a Tuesday, be sure to take advantage of the eight-year-old staple’s weekly "2sday Tastings," wherein patrons can weigh in on new menu additions.
72 South Glenwood Street, Jackson Hole, 307-264-1820
Teton Thai (Teton Village)
Think a five-star mountain resort means only dining on rustic fare? Check out Sam and Suchada Johnson's family-operated local favorite Teton Thai, within walking distance from the slopes, for authentic Thai cuisine. Grab salad rolls and salmon curry. If Sam is around, just let him order for you, but be careful of the spice level - these guys don't mess around. They even created their own micro-brew with local Roadhouse Brewing; it's called the "Fire Extinguisher" - to help tone down the heat.
7342 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village, 307-733-0022
Bar Enoteca (Teton Village)
Bar Enoteca, which opened in October of 2017, is the newest restaurant from the "Fine Dining" Group. Located next to it’s sister restaurant Il VIllaggio Osteria inside the Hotel Terra, Bar Enoteca focuses on lighter Italian fare and wine. Head chef Serge Smith (also Executive Chef of Osteria) presents European-style small plates like Mojama (salt-cured tuna) with olive oil and hazelnuts and house-made head cheese.
3355 West Village Drive (Hotel Terra), Teton Village, 307-739-4100
Mountain Tools for the Top Chef: New West Knifeworks
Fusing elegant craftsmanship with high function, New West Knifeworks has built its reputation on the prep tables of celebrity chefs and art collectors alike. Amongst gorgeously rugged knife sets and outdoor supplies, their flagship store in Jackson also houses the Mountain Man Toy Shop, where customers are encouraged to test "dangerous toys for big boys," like hand-forged tomahawks that can be tossed in the back alley (supervised) while sipping Wyoming Whiskey. It’s an unconventional combination for sure, and one that could only work here.
98 Center Street, Unit C, Jackson, 877-258-0100
Featuring a highly curated selection of local wares from more than 150 artisans, MADE has become the go-to destination for gift-givers. Owner John Frechette has assembled the perfect collection of hard-to-find stationery, natural candles, and crafty knick knacks. MADE’s "brother store" is the newly expanded Mountain Dandy showroom, which carries more substantial handmade items for the home. Think the perfect souvenir (leather aprons, industrial desks, and curated coffee table books) you would never be able to source back home. Do yourself a favor and do some pre-shopping via their Instagram feed.
Gaslight Alley, 125 North Cache Box 702, 307-690-7957
NOT FEELING THE SLOPES OR SHOPS?
This is Yellowstone as you have never seen it: no cars, no crowds, no people, no noise - just you and the elements (and the animals). Scenic Safaris's 12-hour, full-day tour takes you from Flagg Lodge approximately 40 miles to Old Faithful and back along snow-covered roads to see the geyser in all its glory. With a maximum of just 500 snowmobile permits issued per day, this is truly a unique experience. Ask for Christian, who's one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides you could hope for.
From $295 per person
If you’re looking for something a little more laissez-faire, a winter wildlife safari through the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park is the perfect way to get in touch with nature while protected from the elements. A fully appointed Chevy Suburban picks you up from your hotel and plunges you right into the wild. Witness wintering moose, bison, elk, fox, and bald eagles with beauty of the Tetons surrounding you. After off-roading in "the field," lunch is served at the National Wildlife Art Museum where you can set your eyes on thousands of years of inspirational paintings, sculpture, and photographs in the 51,000-square-foot space. The tour lasts approximately eight hours, so while loved ones are shredding the slopes, this is the ultimate alternative.
From $250 per person
The Ski: Kastle
The Board: Jones
The Locals's Après Spot: The Spur (best nachos and spicy margaritas)
Local On-Mountain Brand: Stio
Local Lifestyle Brand: Teton Gravity Research
The Athlete: Travis Rice (Snowboarder)
The Souvenir: Give'r custom gloves with your initials
The Beer: Roadhouse Rhombus Ale
The Drink: Anything with Wyoming Whiskey in it
Hot Table: Rendezvous Bistro
The Local Celeb: Harrison Ford
Brandon Perlman is the creator of MrLuxuryski.com.
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