Ask any skier or rider what could be improved about their home hill and they’ll quickly rattle off a laundry list of hot-topics. Whether it’s the difficult parking or outdated lift that desperately needs an upgrade, seemingly everybody has an opinion on how to make things better. To the institutions of North American skiing and snowboarding, here is our unsolicited (and free) customer feedback.
Jackson Hole is the ultimate playground for any serious skier or rider, few places are as associated with extreme terrain as the legendary resort in Northwest Wyoming, Catch a tram lap on a big powder day or successfully make it to the bottom of Corbet’s Couloir and you’ll be singing the praises of Jackson Hole too. For all the hype surrounding skiing at JHMR, the crowds and powder panic is less than appreciated by long-time locals.
5 Ways To Improve: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Mandatory Backcountry Testing
Doug Coombs and the rest of the Jackson Hole Air Force spent years fighting the resort to allow exit into the surrounding backcountry. Following the opening of the backcountry gates in 1999, more folks are finding turns beyond the resort than ever before. The incredible terrain surrounding Jackson boundaries is also a hotbed of avalanche zones and these areas routinely put rescuers at risk helping those caught in incidents. If you are rightfully prepared to be in the backcountry you shouldn’t be offended to pass a competency test and prove you are carrying appropriate avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel and probe).
Discounted Locals Parking Pass
Jackson Hole locals have bared the brunt of recent development and area growth, but how about the resorts finally tosses its biggest fans a bone. Qualify locals to purchase discounted seasonal parking passes based on zip codes. Getting to Teton Village is hard enough especially when you have a short window to ski in the morning before work. It may not be the most lucrative business decision, but just imagine the great feedback it would receive.
Upgrade Sublette Chair (With Another Fixed Grip)
Perhaps the most beloved lift on the entire mountain, Sublette has also become the oldest piece of machinery on the hill at Jackson Hole. With a future upgrade to the chairlift coming down the pipeline, why not retain the character of Sublette and keep it fixed grip. The 11 minute ride time is plenty fast enough after scorching your legs down the steeps and the mountain has already become overrun with high-speed detachables. If you can’t time the bump correctly at the bottom terminal, you probably aren’t ready to ride the terrain anyhow…
Report Base Area Conditions Too
JHMR has always been quick to boast the vertical statistics of their mountain, but any serious skier will quickly remind you how conditions can vary immensely from 6,300 feet to 10,400 feet. Reading the mountain report at Jackson always comes with a grain of salt, albeit you can spend most of your day finding pow stashes at the higher elevations at some point you will have to ski out to the base. Don’t oversell the conditions marketing department, start reporting temps and snow levels from the base too. So when those spring conditions can be lackluster down low, powder panic does not ensue from misleading snow reports.
Drop The Ikon Pass
Overcrowding at Jackson Hole has become a major problem in recent years, the issue reaching a zenith following the announcement of the Ikon Pass. While undoubtedly the Ikon pass is a great value for those who travel to ski, it has also diminished the Jackson Hole skiing experience tremendously. The lore of skiing at Jackson is intact, so why mess that up and crowd the place with unsustainable skier numbers. People will probably pay more for lift tickets etc. if the tram line wasn’t 3 hours long… just saying.
Also Read: 5 Ways To Improve: Alta Ski Area