The big red box is back, proof that, despite new luxury hotels, slopeside hot tubs, and mountaintop espresso, the Hole still has plenty of soul.
The sense of dread that creeps into my stomach as I land in Jackson Hole has nothing to do with its being the toughest ski area in North America. I’ve had my share of heart-stopping moments here but, as with many Jackson skiers, those are the memories I cherish most.
In just about every ski town in the United States, Mexican immigrants cook your food, build your vacation house, and clean your hotel. But what you know about them usually ends there.
Spread out a map of Mexico, close your eyes and point to a spot in the middle. That’s where I am, in a concrete cocina on the side of a dusty highway, drinking Nescafé from a Styrofoam cup and waiting for what I hope will be eggs and bacon. Or eggs and ham. Or eggs and any other pig part that’s not directly involved in digestion. I’ve just arrived in San Simeon, Tlaxcala, a town of 4,000 located about 100 miles east—a treacherous, smog-choked four-hour drive—of Mexico City. It’s about as far from snow and Subarus as you can get.
When it opens in winter of 2010, the Intercontinental Resort in Davos, Switzerland, just might change the face of mountain architecture. Designed by architect Matteo Thun to resemble a UFO, with soft, swinging elliptical shapes, and constructed largely of local Swiss timber, it represents a concept that’s catching on at U.S. ski resorts: luxe lodgings that make it easy to be green.
Is it time to buy that dream ski home? With the real estate market in the deep freeze, there are some deals, albeit few steals. And the Russians are coming.
Ken Libby, a realtor in Stowe, Vt., recalls the boom years early this decade, when home prices rose 25 percent annually and a house sold on the day it was listed. “Everyone from Boston to Baltimore was buying property in Vermont,” he says. “I’ve been in this business 30 years, and I’d never seen that before—and probably won’t again.” Then came 2007’s mortgage crisis. Sales plummeted.