A local dispute between Jackson Hole Airport and the Teton County Sheriff's Office threatened to close the airport that services Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee, and Snow King. The closure would have stranded skiers and snowboarders with tickets in their hands unable to reach the slopes.
Sheriff Bob Zimmer threatened to pull badges from the airport's law-enforcement officers, a move that would have closed down the airport at the beginning of December. The Transportation Security Administration requires a law-enforcement officer to be present during security screening operations and, without that officer, the airport would be forced to close.
"Even though [the airport's law-enforcement officers] were not my employees, they had the power to act in the capacity of a sheriff's deputy," Sheriff Zimmer explained in a letter. "I am not comfortable with my accountability for deputies over whom I have little or no control."
Negotiations between the Town of Jackson, the airport, and the sheriff's office reached a temporary solution by early October, one to put those holding airlines reservations at ease. But the plan will only keep the airport open through this winter's ski season. A permanent solution may require the Wyoming legislature to expand the policing authority of the airport.
Meanwhile, skiers and snowboarders planning to fly via Delta, United, or American Airlines are in luck. All three carriers are permitting ski and snowboard baggage to be treated as regular baggage without extra fees for size. Two of the airlines - Delta and United - will even count a ski boot bag plus a ski bag as one piece of luggage, provided the combined weight comes in under 50 pounds.