What to do when you just can’t build another snowman, and you don’t want to stand in mile-long lines for the ski lifts:
Jackson, WY is the ultimate seasonal destination. In the summer the masses flock in to ogle at the natural landscape of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. In droves they hunt for wildlife sightings and the true Wild West experience, stopping for a drink on a western saddle at the iconic Cowboy Bar. Once fall arrives, usually sometime in August, Jackson becomes a ghost town left to the quiet of the locals. Come December the ground is sufficiently covered in snow and ski season begins. Jackson fills with all manner of seasonal working youth desperate to spend every spare minute off work on the slopes while millions of visitors from across the planet sporting amazingly lurid après-ski outfits pack into every hotel room in town.
In a town where winter lasts close to six months and snowfalls are measured in feet rather than inches, the locals have become creative with their wintertime activities. Skiing and snowboarding are the first tier of snow-sports, but for those willing to look beyond their ski-passes, some truly quirky and wild activities can be found.
Ever wanted to do ski jumping and slalom propelled by horses but not know what it was called or where to do it?
Skijoring is truly a unique activity that combines high-speeds, big-air, and a 900 lb. animal. Common in arctic countries, horses, dogs, and snowmobiles are all used for propulsion. This Year: Feb 21-22.
Are you a horse-chariot fanatic?
Try the Cutter Races—two-horse chariot racing across a ¼ mile track of snow. While we normally think of Ben-Hur racing his chariot in the desert, these wonderfully unsafe war machines move just fine across packed snow!
In days of yore, the Cutter Races took place in the center of town by the old Wort Hotel, but after too many run-away chariot fiascos, the event was moved to an open field on a ranch south of town. And if you’re not chomping at the bit to enter the race yourself, the Calcutta offers a legal gambling option to up the stakes for all its spectators. This year: February 14-15.
Dreaming of the Iditarod but think Alaska is just too far away?
Teams of sled dogs race their way across Wyoming stopping every night at a different town across the way in theInternational Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race. In addition to being an exciting ultra-competitive event with competitors from around the world, the race brings food and support to local shelters along the route. This Year: Jan 30- Feb 8.
Can’t decide what sport you want to do? Animals not your thing?
Pole-Pedal-Paddle, an alpine ski-cross-country ski-bike-kayak event, is winter’s last hurrah before the coming of spring. But if the crazy sports combo isn’t enough, the costumes will definitely lure you in! This Year: March 28.
So, as the winter months drag on and you feel like you just couldn’t possibly build another snowman and you’re less than enthused by waiting in line to get a few minutes on the mountain, look to Jackson Hole, with its weird and wonderful secondary opportunities. But, of course, for those of you who couldn’t possibly imagine going to a snowy-wonderland and NOT skiing, Jackson Hole is the home of the best ski-resort in the country.