Regardless of what type of skier you are, it’s worth the five-minute traverse to the top of Corbet’s Couloir. Inch your skis over the edge of the 15-foot drop at the entrance of the trail and imagine what it’d be like to be extreme enough to drop into Jackson Hole’s infamous expert run.
You won’t be alone—on a clear day you can generally find a dozen or so tourists who think for a second it’s time to test their mettle. Then they reconsider and simply take in the immense and breathtaking Teton Valley view that stretches for miles a few thousand feet below before dropping back into the much more mild Rendezvous Bowl. That’s when you realize you’re not in Summit County anymore. Or perhaps you noticed that when you zipped right through the lift line to get on the mountain.
Quick evening flights to Jackson, Wyo., make the destination resort a breeze to enjoy a weekend away from the Colorado crowds, one that can include two full days of skiing without skipping more than a few hours from work. (United Airlines offers direct flights into Jackson—the 80-minute flight leaves Denver at 6:15 p.m. nightly and the resort at 7:30 a.m. daily.)
Jackson Hole, a 2,500-acre resort with more than 4,000 feet of vertical drop, is known for its epic views in the Teton Mountains, plentiful snow (about 460 inches a year), and challenging terrain.
Wide open expert runs through Rendezvous Bowl can be legendary; or slide down the plentiful cruisers below the gondola that you can almost have to yourself on a Saturday.
By the time you head for après ski, your legs will be burning from a day of non-stop riding. When that happens, check out the classic ski bar, The Mangy Moose, which opens its big woody arms with cold pitchers of beer and nachos deserving of a mile-high moniker despite being miles away from Denver. The town of Jackson, about 15 minutes from the resort, gives a glimpse into Wyoming cowboy life, that despite being besieged by high-dollar resort tourists for years, still feels like a throwback, beer-drinking town. But don’t worry if you want to be pampered; there are plenty of spa options, tasteful shops and gourmet meals in town (Body Sage Day Spa, Mill Valley Leather and Game Fish Restaurant, respectively). But for the quick weekend trip, breweries like Snake River serve up simple and tasty dinners with a wide range of beers brewed onsite that will have you embellishing your skill on the slopes in no time.
And that will remind you why you are visiting Jackson Hole in the first place. Skiing. Skiing without the crush of the metro-area weekend warriors, lift lines and I-70 traffic.
Beyond that, the beauty of the area will leave a lasting impression, views that will be etched into your memory as you leave on the Monday morning flight, taking advantage of the orange sunrise that has the mountains behind Jackson looking more picturesque than ever.
Just try to remember that image when you get to your office at 10 a.m. to start the workweek.
Colorado’s best off-the-beaten track resorts
Aspen: Beyond the ritz, you’ll find four mountains and one heckuva ski town.
Ski Cooper: Leadville is way up their—10,200 feet to be exact—and it’s home to a tiny ski area catering to the intermediate. Book a day of cat skiing for great extreme skiing.
Ski Monarch: Lift tickets are just $52 at one of the state’s most isolated ski areas, about a three-hour drive from the North Metro area.
Telluride: Nestled in the San Juans, enjoy epic scenery, great skiing and even better restaurants.