New York Magazine: Skip the Slopes in Jackson Hole

Posted on July 12 2016

Escape into the wilderness at Turpin Meadow Ranch (from $265, breakfast included), a lodge and Nordic ski center about 45 miles north of downtown. It’s worth the hike to this former dude ranch, which reopened in January 2014 after a two-year revamp by two former Olympic skiers. You won’t find televisions and cell service is spotty, but there’s access to miles of groomed trails for Nordic skiing and fat biking. One- and two-bedroom log cabins have been gut-renovated and kitted out with gas-lit stoves and Pendleton blankets, and the lodge restaurant serves rib-sticking fare like sourdough-huckleberry pancakes and a lamb-wich with fingerling-potato confit ($14).

Sleep in style at the Hotel Jackson (from $225, October–December and March–May; from $325, end of winter; from $425, peak winter), a 57-room property scheduled to open in downtown Jackson in March. The modern Western look is chic and understated—locally quarried stone walls, recycled barn wood in the bar, and nary a deer bust in sight. All rooms are done up in toned-down hues, with gas fireplaces and L’Occitane toiletries, and premier guest rooms have soaking tubs (some even have terraces). A restaurant and bar on property are planned, plus an outdoor bistro out back. 

Straddle the town-wilderness divide at Snow King Resort Hotel (from $180), located at the base of the eponymous mountain on the edge of town. In 2013, the property completed a $16 million renovation, which means crisp bedding and stellar views in the warm, chocolate-toned rooms. The pool-deck fire pits are a great place to watch night skiers whiz by. The restaurant,Hayden’s Post, is an airy, light-filled space serving elevated campfire-style fare, like bison chili ($7) and molasses-brined chicken ($25); at breakfast, don’t miss the killer cinnamon bun ($5).

 Start your day with French pastries and Intelligentsia coffee at Persephone Bakery, a cheery downtown café and larder. Savory breakfast options like a rabbit-sausage scramble ($11) and Brussels-sprout-and-sweet-potato hash ($5) offer a hearty start to the day; and at lunchtime, there are sandwiches on crusty baguettes (try the Schnitzelwich, $10) and fortifying salads, like quinoa and kale with sweet-potatoes, feta, and pumpkin seeds ($10). Stock up on snacks while you’re here: the larder offers stylish noshes like Mast Brothers chocolate, Noble maple syrup, and housemade granola, plus enamel mugs and color-blocked cutting boards. 

Dig into the best steak in town at the Local. Don’t be put off by the sports-bar-esque ambiance: The meat here’s top-notch, all grass-fed, butchered in-house, and local (much of it comes from Lockhart Cattle Company, a few miles down the road). Try handcrafted charcuterie like duck prosciutto, pheasant and spicy elk sausages, and smoked trout (three for $10), then watch the game while sampling refined mountain cuisine like coffee-rubbed elk medallions with huckleberry demi-glace ($36) or Idaho trout with white-cheddar grits ($26).

Step back in time at the Indian, which draws its design inspiration from the British Colonial era—dark reclaimed-wood paneling, worn tomes by Brit essayists, and artifacts and curiosities from far-flung locales. The year-old sister restaurant to popular Teton Thai specializes in Indian-inspired curries like Utah lamb vindaloo ($22), or murg makhani ($18), “butter chicken” with honey, ginger, and cashews. The tangy, rich stews go well with a Tiger’s Milk cocktail ($10), blending almond milk, green cardamom, cane sugar, and whisky.

Trek into the local wildnerness on a wildlife safari (from $235 per person for a half-day tour; $99 for kids; five-person maximum) through Grand Teton National Park. The Four Seasons offers a tour including top-of-the-line Swarovski binoculars and a cooler stocked with breakfast burritos, pastries, fruit, and juice. But the real draw is wildlife biologist Tenley Thompson, hands-down the most knowledgeable guide in the area. Expect to spot wolves, moose, bighorn sheep, elk, and bald eagles. For a less opulent but still invigorating wildlife experience, take a sleigh ride through theNational Elk Refuge ($20 for adults, $15 for kids), a nearly 25,000-acre sanctuary on the edge of town that’s home to migratory elk during the winter months.

Book well in advance to mush with eight-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley and his team of Alaskan racing dogs at Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours. All trips include a short orientation with an introduction to the doggies (part Eskimo work dogs, part Northern huskies, all related to Iditarod teams), basic commands, and a practice run, plus hot soups and beverages. You can run the dogs yourself or let the experts lead the way while you take in the Tetons. The full-day tour ($340 per person) out to Granite Creek Canyon includes a midday dip in the nearby hot springs.

Try out the lastest winter-sport craze and rent a fat bike ($25 for half day; $40 for full day) fromHoback Sports in downtown Jackson. Basically mountain bikes with oversize tires designed to accommodate snow, fat bikes can handle nearly any terrain. Get into the swing of things by cruising around town, then take your wheels off-road. The Cache Creek Trail System, which has trailheads in town, offers several beginner trails; opt for the Putt-Putt-Hagen loop, which leaves from the Nelson Drive Trailhead (on the east side of town), follows the Cache Creek, and has a few climbs and some thrilling downhills.

You might not think of Jackson Hole as a great place for music, but local talent is blossoming lately, and some bigger artists are starting to pop up. Bluegrass folk-rock band One Ton Pig, high-altitude funk outfit Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons, and visiting performers like rapper Talib Kweli take the stage at venues like the Silver Dollar Bar, the Rose, and Pink Garter Theatre in downtown Jackson and the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. During March Radness, the village will host a full month of live music under the tram—with headliners like the Wallflowers slated for Rendezvous Fest.

You’ve explored Jackson’s great outdoors; now spend the day downtown indulging in some aesthetic and retail therapy. Grab a nourishing nut milk with sprouted almonds, Himalayan salt, and organic dates ($12) at Healthy Being Juicery. Then head to New West Knifeworks to peruse gorgeous hand-finished, high-carbon blades (from $99); owner Corey Milligan will likely talk you into trying your hand at throwing a tomahawk (from $109, available next door at Mountain Man Toy Shop). A couple blocks away, score locally made jewelry ($38), glass belt buckles ($42), and letterpress cards ($4.50) at MADE; then head across the street to sister shop Mountain Dandy, which has wool blankets ($165), antler bottle-openers ($60), and trail-map flasks ($22.50). Refuel with grilled cheese with bacon and avocado and tomato soup ($16) at Café Genevieve, then switch gears and explore the gallery scene. Exhibitions at the Diehl Gallery include single-artist collections (Canadian artist David Pirrie, L.A.-based sculptor Gwynn Murrill) as well as multiple perspectives on a single subject. For contemporary Western art, check out Altamira Art, and don’t miss Amy Ringholz’s large-scale, vibrant-hued wildlife paintings at her eponymous gallery. Pair craft brews like Melvin Brewing’s 2x4 DIPA ($6) with pad Thai ($15), kung-fu flicks, and hip-hop tunes at restaurant-brewery Thai Me Up. Finish out the evening at the Stagecoach Bar, a 73-year-old institution just outside town in Wilson. Locals wear their best cowboy boots for live country-Western music by the Stagecoach band; kick up your heels and you’ll fit right in.

Dishing, the mountain town’s foodie publication, has the scoop on the best spots to eat in and out of town.

Check the Chamber of Commerce website for events like Winterfest, a two-week festival with cutter, ice climbing, and snowmobile races, plus moose chases and ice skating in the town square.

The “Stepping Out” section of Jackson Hole Daily has intel on the latest art exhibits, live music shows, and various winter activities.

See original article @ NY Mag. 

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