For Sale: Jackson Hole ski resort

Snow King, an iconic and popular Jackson Hole, Wyoming ski resort is up for sale, and the current owner hopes to have it sold before the snow begins to fly this winter. The move isn’t a popular one with the locals however, who worry that their favorite hill could be shut down altogether.

The resort, which is just six blocks from the Jackson Hole town square, features 400 skiable acres, three ski lifts, snow making equipment, and well lit runs for both day and night skiing. It also has a lodge with 200+ rooms for visitors, condominiums for extended stays, and even a conference center.

Current owner Mauel Lopez hasn’t said how much he is asking for the resort, but he is reportedly in negotiations with more than one interested party. He also notes that he is selling Snow King for personal reasons and not financial ones, and that he would prefer to sell it as a single unit, and not break it up into separate pieces.

Snow King first opened back in 1939, which means it has actually been around longer than Jackson Hole itself. The resort is a popular one with local skiers and snowboarders however, many of whom have learned to ski on its slopes. Because of this sentimental attachment, many in town are worried that a buyer won’t be found and Lopez will simply shutdown operations before the season begins.

If reports are to be believed, La Nina is cranking up for another year, which could mean lots of snow in Jackson Hole again this season. Loads of powder could also translate into a busy season on the slopes, which means Snow King just might be a good investment for someone looking to break into the resort business.

Anyone up for a Gadling ski resort?

Jackson Lake Lodge: Culinary Surprise in the Grand Tetons

I dashed off to Jackson Hole for a few days not too long ago. Driven by the need to unwind for a bit and a decade-long desire to visit the setting of some of my favorite novels (by Tim Sandlin), I set my sights on the Grand Tetons and didn’t look back. What I found upon my arrival at the Jackson Lake Lodge, one of the three hotels in the area run by the Grand Teton Lodge Company, was an unexpected culinary experience that capture me from the moment I saw the menu.

The mid-tier offering of the Grand Teton Lodge Company – with Jenny Lake Lodge at the upper end and Colter Bay Village the bargain offer – the Jackson Lake Lodge has spacious and comfortable rooms, though they are of course consistent with the price point. This is what made the property’s high-end restaurant, Mural Room, particularly exciting: it was an inspired and local menu at an affordable hotel.

Normally, mid-range hotels deliver solid, reliable, basic fare, with a decent steak constituting the top end of the menu and the rest of it being rather pedestrian. Mural Room stands that thinking on its head, with an exciting menu that blends creativity, local favorites and ol’ reliable dishes that you’d expect to be on hand for those who aren’t terribly adventurous. Of course, the local touches on the Mural Room menu are not surprising. When bread is served, it comes in the shape of a carefully sculpted moose – not my scene, but I do understand the appeal in general. Instead, I was drawn to the menu items that took advantage of the area’s local fare, such as hazelnut and ginger buffalo carpaccio and southwest and molasses spiced elk loin. Whether you go for the unique local stuff or stick to the standby dishes (like the prime rib), you’ll walk away satisfied, as the chef clearly has his act together.

What really blew my mind wasn’t the local ingredients or even the entrees. Rather, it was the lobster and brie bisque. Served with chunks of lobster and a creamy soup around it, the dish was an unexpected seafood delight far away from the place these crustaceans call home.

The price points were a bit high for the Jackson Lake Lodge: the restaurant offered entrees at close to $30 or more (in most cases) in the company’s mid-level property. That said, there’s always room to splurge while on vacation, and a bargain vacation often has room for a fantastic meal that defines the trip’s culinary experience. Mural Room delivers this experience – to the point where you’ll probably want to make reservations a week before you arrive.

My trip to Jackson Hole was long anticipated, which of course led to unnecessarily high standards. Mural Room delivered, becoming the defining moment of my trip. Some properties have a culinary surprise buried deep in the website – this is one of them.

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.

Golfing dads should keep Keystone Resort in mind this summer

Father’s Day is coming, and if you’re old man’s a golfer, you might want to ship him off to Keystone Resort for a weekend. The “Stay and Play” package includes two free rounds of golf at the Ranch Course, and kids 17 and under can join dad (after 5 PM) for no charge, as well. For fathers with kids who are looking for some bonding time, this can be a great way to get together free of distraction (except that pesky white ball) for a few hours).

For the big weekend, rates start at only $144 a night, and they are as low as $125 for the rest of the summer. The “Stay and Play” package is also available at the RockResorts in Vail, Beaver Creek and Jackson Hole.

Three exciting winter deals from the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts wants to host you for ski season and is offering some great deals this season. So, instead of just hitting your old standby or scrambling at the last minute, go upscale this time. The Four Seasons is delivering bargains from Jackson Hole to Whistler, BC. Chances are, there’s a great one waiting for you.

Skiing in Jackson Hole – This resort is hosting the first annual How-to-Heli Camp. You’ll be able to get to the virgin trails of the Teton mountains, delivering for skiers a real expedition through fresh snow … with no lines! The camp comes with two days of on-mountain instruction, lift tickets, a day of heli-skiing and four nights in the Four Seasons. The camp runs from February 3 – 7, 2009 and starts at USD 2,975.00 per person based on double occupancy.

Ice climbing in Whistler – Demonstrate your physical prowess with waterfall ice climbing (don’t worry, you’ll have a guide) … all it takes is a heft dose of courage and the $466 (USD) for a personal climb. Skiing’s a blast, but this will kick your adrenaline into overdrive.

Bungee jump into Cheakamus Canyon – drop into the canyon and trigger an unparalleled thrill. Plunge 160 feet toward the Cheakamus River; it probably won’t occur to you that it’s glacier-fed, but that will be interesting later. Book it through the Whistler concierge, at $115 a pop.