I came for the winter, but stayed for the summer. That’s how most of Jackson Hole local’s explain their continued residence in the valley five, 10, or 40 years later. Not me. Raised in Washington D.C. where a half-inch of snow was a snowmageddon that cancelled school, some of my fondest childhood memories are from the exactly three storms that deposited enough snow for my younger brother and I to build snow forts. I moved to Jackson Hole for winter and am still here more than two decades later because of winter.
Of course, winter in Jackson means some of the best, most diverse skiing in the world. There’s uphill skiing with friends before or after work at Snow King Resort, my weekly women’s ski group at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and powder days exploring the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park.
But winter is more than ski turns. It’s slow walks on the groomed and packed trails in Cache Creek, two miles from the Town Square. A visiting friend once said of Cache Creek, anywhere else this would be a national park. I’ve seen mule deer, mountain lion tracks, and two-inch hoarfrost crystals growing along the banks of the creek, which doesn’t freeze but burbles all winter. It is watching through my office window a moose munch on a crabapple tree, and sending videos of this to friends and family not lucky enough to live here. It is evenings reading in front of the fire and the sound of fresh snow crunching underfoot as I walk to Persephone Bakery for a chocolate croissant.
"Winter is an invitation to slow down."
Winter is a snowmobile ride to Brooks Lake Lodge or fat biking followed by a bowl of chili in a historic lodge. It’s Sunday night wine tastings at Dornan’s in Moose, and its’s also sometimes missing the turnoff to Moose because it’s snowing so hard you can’t see more than 10 feet in front of you. Winter in Jackson Hole is enchanting, like living in a Snow globe. Except with a lot of shoveling.
My opinion of Jackson winters might be slightly tempered if shoveling didn’t fall under my boyfriends purview. Last February was the second snowiest month in Jackson since records have been kept, and it was Derek who spend a couple of hours every day keeping our driveway clear. I joined the fray only when our snowbanks had grown so tall it was impossible to pile new snow on top of them. Those days, I grabbed a shovel clambered up as high as I could, and scraped the top several feet into the middle of our yard. It was hard work (albeit not as hard as Derek’s), but worth it. By the end of that legendary February, our snowbanks hosted no fewer than three snow forts, which I enjoyed making and playing in just as much as I did as a little kid.
This article is from our 2020 edition of the Jackson Hole Explorer The Official Guide for Grand Teton and Yellowstone. To read more stories like this tune into our #JHexplorer tab in the blog or visit here to get an Explorer of your own.
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