great mountain, sad what they've done at the base

by: rojo - Jan 9, 2010

  • Overall Rating 3
  • Family Friendly 2
  • All-Mtn. Terrain 5
  • Terrain Park 1
  • Nightlife 4

    Pros: the greatest mountain in america

    Cons: TOO many people

    Recommended For: Empty Nesters

    Date Visited: Dec 1, 2010


Full review

after my winter of '72 at jackson, i admit to being spoiled by no tram lines and endless days of powder and steeps. on jan 6-09 i tried again. the hotels in jackson are still cheap because the winter traffic is less than the summer, and they all need your business, so it's 1/3 the cost of aspen, for instance. unfortunately, in my opinion, they have made a mess of the base area, with buildings blocking runs so if you make a wrong turn you have to climb back up to the lifts. you pay $12 for parking close enough to walk, or $5 for shuttle distance parking. what was once the ample parking lot is all divided into corrals and gas stations, and wasted space not being used at all. the $91 lift ticket includes the tram if you don't mind waiting a long time.

there was 10" of new, which generated a HUGE crowd at the base before 9 a.m. then an avalanche caught a patroller doing control work, swept him over a cliff (his status is still critical and i hope he makes it). they didn't open the gondola for hours, and the huge crowd was stuck on apres vous, an intermediate hill to the right of the mountain. they never opened the real mountain, no tram, no thunder, finally the gondola opened and the powder was GONE within one run. there were 2 groomed runs to the bottom where there was not enough snow to get off, so it was a freeway full of sliders.

my advice, don't go to jackson with less than about 70" base. jackson is a ROCKY and steep mountain and needs a lot of snow. all of the outer bowls, hobacks, and faces below thunder were closed, so we were basically confined with the crowd onto two lifts and 1/4 the mountain. the other advice is to avoid christmas and spring breaks because the housing capacity exceeds that of the mountain now and you don't want to be there when all those condos are full and everyone comes out at opening bell.

one upside....my 23 y.o. superboarder daughter was impressed by the guy/gal ratio. go, but with eyes wide open and a good base, from mid jan to mid feb. bring warm stuff.

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