Where to Cross Country Ski in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole is known for having one of the continent’s best downhill ski resorts. In 2013, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was rated by SKI magazine readers as the very best overall resort in North America. But Jackson Hole also has a thriving Nordic skiing scene, and there are plenty of places—both public (free) and private (fee)—to both classic and skate ski. Many of summer’s bike trails—and even some roads—are groomed by late December (depending on snow of course) by crews from the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF), Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), and Teton County Parks and Recreation (TCPR). Everyone has their own grooming schedules, and the end result is a vast variety of trails, some dog-friendly, others not, some hilly, others not so hilly. JHNordic.com lists grooming schedules and TCPR also has a website that includes grooming info, www.tetonparksandrec.org/parks-pathways/winter-trail-grooming. Here’s the other details you need to know about Jackson Hole’s best cross country skiing spots.
With the valley’s most enthusiastic director of skiing—Jack Bellorado—in charge here, Teton Pines is a great place to learn to cross county ski. It grooms—meticulously, of course, it is a country club after all—many of its trails daily and has a ski shop with a huge array of rental gear, including for kids.
Wilson Pathway/Stilson Lot
Between Jackson and Wilson, this bike pathway turned ski track winds for one mile through open meadows at the base of the southern Tetons. Last winter, on Saturdays there were free lessons—bring your own gear. To check the grooming schedule here, go to the Parks & Rec website.
Grand Teton National Park
The main road through Grand Teton National Park is closed to cars from November 1 – May 1. Between December and early March, miles of this road from the Bradley/Taggart Lake trailhead going north are groomed, making for the easiest and flattest cross country skiing in the valley. Also, of course it’s the most scenic. This road passes directly beneath the Cathedral Group.
Every dog owner in town brings their pooch to Cache Creek, a mere two miles from the Town Square. The trail here gently parallels Cache Creek, climbing 1,200 feet if you take it five miles to its end. Most people—this is a great spot for winter walking too—don’t make it past the second mile. Expect moose anywhere along this groomed trail.
Trail Creek was founded by Betty Woolsey, captain of the 1936 US Olympic Women’s Ski Team, and today its 270 rolling acres are under a conservation easement. The Jackson Hole Ski Club grooms almost 16 kilometers of skate and classic trails here, including a descent known as “Suicide Hill,” that are open to anyone who purchases a day pass.