Friday, March 28, 2008

March in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Day 1: My friend and I land in Jackson from NYC after an easy connecting flight in Atlanta. We quickly changed into snow worthy gear for some snowshoeing action at the Grand Teton National Park, 15 minutes from the airport and home of the Teton Range that includes peaks over 12,000 feet high. We strapped on rented snowshoes and did a quick hike up the easy trail for some novice level action. The landscape was amazingly pristine, with snow covered pine trees and mountains all around us as far as the eye could see. An hour later the altitude got to us so we hiked back and looked for some apr├Ęs snowshoe happy hours. Cadillac Grille in the town of Jackson was the perfect place and we took full advantage of their drink specials, opting for 2 for 1 local beers. Now sufficiently happy, we checked into the Snake River Lodge, a posh but rustic resort at the foot of the Teton Village ski slopes 20 minutes outside of town. After a quick shower, the evening ended with dinner at the Rendezvous Bistro, where we enjoyed some wine and venison and then hit the sack.

Day 2: The next morning, Heart Six tour company picked us up at 7AM to head to their ranch for a day of snowmobiling fun. We headed to the Continental Divide which is known for some as the best snowmobile “playgrounds” in the world!  After a hearty breakfast, our guide Keith took us out to tear it up and down slopes of powdery snow at its best. 

We rode on all sorts of terrain: groomed trails, up and down bunker-like hillsides, speeding on wide flat plains of deep snow. It didn’t take long before we started doing jumps and showed off a few scrapes and crashes along the way. Lunch of mostly fried food did its best to reenergize us in the afternoon but the nearly 6 hours of riding was a workout. Exhausted and thirsty, we headed for the Silver Dollar Bar and Grill which is connected to the Wort Hotel, a landmark lodge in town. A couple of Jameson shots later, we taxied back to our hotel on the early side. You’d think riding on snow in a motored sled requires no energy at all, but we were beat.

Day 3: Talk of morning skiing quickly changed to sleeping in, as I woke up feeling sore in every inch of my body. We took our time getting out of bed, instead enjoying the hotel room amenities: fireplace, room service, cable TV. At around noon, we got up and walked around the Teton Village resort area where there were 3 ski lifts up to a wide array of ski slopes. My head said try skiing but my stomach and muscles said grab food and rest. So we did the latter and headed to Planet Palate, a great vegetarian/health food cafe to balance out the red meat and fried foods from the previous days. The coconut water and “goddess” salad were just what I needed and we felt rejuvenated enough to head to town for some shopping. The thing to buy in Jackson: T-shirts and sweatshirts featuring decals of rodeo cowboys or moose. I bought a few for my friends back home and then stopped at Snow King Mountain to watch the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb, where riders from all over the world race up 1,500 vertical feet on the steepest slope face. 

All the extreme sports-spectating got us hungry and thirsty again so we headed to the Snake River Brewery for a sampling of local award winning beers (try the Zonker Stout). After a couple of beers we partied all around town for a few hours before dragging ourselves home.

Day 4: Before heading back to NYC, I booked a massage at the Snake River Lodge spa which had amazing service and facilities. There were lots of activities we didn’t get to do like dog sledding, wild life tours, and oh right skiing. But as we headed to the airport for our flight, I am already scheming my return trip.

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