Thanks to the tantalizing early season appearance of storms associated with another La Nina, opening weekend at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort saw one of the biggest, and earliest, season kickoffs it has ever had. The mountain opened for a 135-day season on Saturday, with fresh powder, part of the upper mountain already open, and five of the eight lifts operating.
Skiers in the Tetons are gearing up for a long, and according to forecasters, snowy season. It was hard not to feel the stoke permeating the mountain, especially with the rare opening of the upper lifts in the first weekend.
Bluebird skies made for a gorgeous weekend, and despite the early season snowpack-in a mass ditching of the November rock boards, fat skis packed the lift lines. Hundreds of local and visitors arrived in the early morning, before the rest of the crowd, braving chilly temperature to line up at the gondola. The fat skis weren’t unwarranted, and smooth unskied powder was the reward for the early risers.
The resort’s new Marmot chairlift spun for the first time, taking skiers for a sunny ride from the base of Amphitheatre to the base of the Headwall.
“I love the new chair. We tried it out and I think it is going to be awesome for the flow of the mountain,” said Jess Mcmillan, a pro skier and JHMR athlete, and big mountain competitor. “And to have so much of the resort open on the first day was incredible. That hardly happens, and it still felt like no one was there, everyone was dispersed with all the lifts open. But it’s going to be another La Nina, so we have to get ready,” she added.
At 4 pm the base area was humming with margaritas, that apres staple of piles of nachos, PBR on special-and it all became official. It is winter in Jackson Hole.