Dream Ski Trip: Heli-Skiing In Jackson Hole

Nestled deep in Wyoming’s Teton Mountains and averaging more than 450 inches of snow each year, Jackson Hole is easily one of the best ski destinations in all of North America. With more than 116 different runs, spread out over 2500 skiable acres, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a little slice of heaven on Earth for skiers and snowboarders alike. But to truly enjoy this magical place, you’ll want to get off the beaten path and indulge in a heli-skiing adventure.

As the name implies, Heli-skiing employs the use of a helicopter to carry skiers and snowboarders deep into the backcountry to access slopes that would normally be unreachable during the winter months. For example, High Mountain Heli-Skiing, the company that provides the service in Jackson Hole, uses a Bell 407 aircraft to shuttle guests out to a 305,000-acre winter wonderland that is virtually untouched for most of the season. Those guests will have the entire area to themselves while they shred through isolated mountain glades, take on steep chutes and zip across large, open bowls.

A day with High Mountain Heli-Skiing usually consists of six runs that cover anywhere from 12,000-15,000 vertical feet. A group consists of a maximum of just six people, one guide and five guests, who spend the entire day shredding virgin backcountry powder. At most, there are only four such groups in the field at any given time, which makes for a ski experience that is vastly different from the long lift lines and crowded slopes you’ll find on a typical hill.

And after spending a long day of making turns on untouched powder, you’ll want to relax in luxury and style as well. Fortunately, Jackson Hole has you covered in that department too. There are plenty of luxury rental cabins available throughout the area with amenities that will comfort and pamper you throughout your stay.

If you’re looking for a unique winter adventure for the ski season ahead, then put Heli-Skiing in Jackson Hole on your bucket list. It’ll be an experience unlike any other.

[Photo Credit: High Mountain Heli-Skiing]

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers discounted ski passes

While most of the U.S. continues to recover from a nasty heat wave, certain parts of the country are already looking ahead to winter. For instance, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, located in Wyoming, has already announced new pricing on season passes for the upcoming ski season in advance of those passes going on sale on August 1st.

Last year, the resort introduced the Grand Pass, as an all new alternative to the All Mountain Pass that skiers had previously been use to. The Grand Pass was offered at a 25% discount at that time, and this year it will be even more affordable. When the passes go on sale next week, the price will be $1195 for a full season of skiing, which will extend for 135 days this winter – the longest season in the resort’s history.

JHMR also offers discounted pricing for skiers of all ages as well. For instance, the Grand Pass for Seniors (65 years and older) is just $815 for the full season, while the Junior and Student passes make skiing affordable for the younger crowd as well. Junior passes, aimed at kids age 6-14, is priced at just $159, while the student pass, for 15-18 year olds, is just $289. Children under 6 get to ski for free any time.

Each version of the Grand Pass comes with similar benefits. Those include unlimited skiing or snowboarding between November 26, 2011 and April 8, 2012, a complimentary bus pass for the winter season, discounted food and drinks, as well as lower rates on equipment rental and purchases. The pass also comes with a free adult group lesson, as well as complementary tram access during the summer and a discounted pass to the resort’s mountain bike park in the summer as well.

I know that it is difficult to think about hitting the slopes in July, particularly when the mercury climbs into the triple digits, but for frequent skiers, these passes offer significant savings at one of the premiere destinations in the western United States. And for those who don’t have time to ski the mountain as often as they’d like, there are several other discounted package options as well. For more information on the Grand Pass and the other options click here.

[Photo courtesy Jackson Hole Mountain Resort]

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort slashes cost of ski pass

While most of us continue to suffer through the hottest summer on record, it is difficult to envision ourselves shredding down a mountain on a fresh base of white powder. Fortunately, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is already looking to the winter ahead, and they’ve received plenty of attention in recent days for actually cutting the prices of their annual ski passes by an unprecedented 25% over last year.

In 2009, a full season pass cost skiers $1970, making it one of the most expensive in the entire country. But during the month of August, JHMR is selling the same pass for the 2010-2011 season for just $1255, a relative bargain in the world of major ski resorts. The price does come with a caveat however, as this early bird discount is good only until August 31st, after that the cost jumps up to $1570, which is still a substantial savings over last year.

Why the reduction in price? Simple economics it seems. The resort took a look at the most common buyers of their annual passes and found that they were most likely to be local skiers who hit the slopes on a very regular basis. Those locals may be a bit strapped for cash considering the current economic climate, so JHMR management wanted to give back to the community and offer up the discounted price. Fortunately, it isn’t just available for the locals.

Located just outside of Jackson, Wyoming, and not far from the Grand Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts 116 different ski runs, the majority of which are dedicated to the intermediate and expert level skier. With over 2500 acres of inbounds skiable area and a another 3000 acres of backcountry, the resort is amongst the most popular in the western United States.

So far, none of their big name competitors to the south have followed suit with a price reduction this season.