As a U.S. extreme skiing mecca, and original home mountain to many of skiing’s legends, Jackson Hole delivers all the terrain nuggets−cliffs, tight chutes, steeps and moguls−that expert skiers crave. If you’re not familiar with the Jackson Hole expert skiing culture and history, be sure to watch, “Swift. Silent. Deep.,” a film about the Jackson Hole Air force, an elite band of brothers who changed skiing forever. They were the young rat pack to first pull off mind-blowing cliff drops and incredibly technical, never before seen lines. Their group included skiing icons like Doug Coombs, Jon Hart and TK. If you’re lucky you may even see resident captain Benny Wilson dropping into Corbett’s Couloir.
Jackson Hole is an expert skier’s slice of heaven, nearly every direction you look you’ll find challenging and epic terrain. The famed Aerial Tram−which zooms skiers and boarders 4,139 feet the summit of Rendevous Mountain−is a key ingredient in Jackson Hole’s incredible access. You can get a lot of skiing in via the Tram. From the Tram head skier’s right to slash turns on Rendevous Bowl and from there head skier’s right to Cheyenne and Bernie’s Bowl, if you continue heading straight down you can enjoy the leg-burning “Hobacks,” which will drop you off back at the Tram.
If you head skier’s left off the Tram you must at least peer over the edge into the infamous “Corbett’s Couloir.” It’s a classic Jackson Hole line, well, more of a blind leap of faith into a chute. From Courbett’s stay skier’s left and head for the Cirque or Headwall, you can also access Casper Bowl and the Crags hike-to terrain if you stay high on the mountain. Casper Bowl has seen several extreme skiing competitions over the last decade and is a great area to test your skills. There’s everything from tight chutes that funnel into mandatory−small−airs, to fun, wide-open powder fields or mogul fields− depending on the snow conditions− and several big cliffs as well. You can also access the Casper Bowl terrain via Marmot Double Chair or the Gondola for Casper Bowl access. Off of the Apres Vous Quad you can drop into Saratoga Bowl.
It should be noted that Jackson Hole has an open-boundary policy, which allows ticket and passholders to leave the resort boundaries via access gates. This policy is an uncommon one for North America, but is the norm in Europe. Unsurprisingly, the Jackson Hole Air Force was a vocal advocate for this policy change. Ski Patrol will post snow condition warnings at the gate, so be sure to thoroughly read the signage if you decide to leave the ski area boundary. Never go in out-of-bounds areas by yourself and without the proper equipment. Ski.com suggests skiing with a Jackson Hole backcountry guide.
Alpine skiers, telemarkers and snowboarders looking to experience the Jackson Hole’s gnarliest terrain, should sign up for the four-day Steep and Deep. Groups will be led and instructed by some of the world’s best extreme skiers, who will guide participants through Jackson’s most thrilling in-bounds terrain: Expert Chutes and the Hogbacks. An unofficial part of camp graduation is dropping into the infamous Courbet’s Couloir, on the final day. You’ll leave this camp feeling you can tackle the most difficult terrain with smoothness and confidence you may not have had before.