5 Ways to Save on a Jackson Hole ski tripby david daly on 02/22/12
I first experienced Jackson Hole on a cross country road trip with 4 friends after college. We arrived after a 6 hour drive from Salt Lake City in a red minivan complete with a rooftop cargo holder and it was love at first site. The town motto The Last of the Old West describes it perfectly and there is no shortage of cowboy hats, horse ranches, and mind-blowing scenery. After a 10 year hiatus from this magical town at the doorstep of Yellowstone, I was delighted to return for a ski vacation and experience the winter side of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. As a popular destination for the private jet-set and celebrities like Harrison Ford and Sandra Bullock, it can be easy to blow your budget in this mountain town. However, with some careful planning you can visit Jackson Hole for less than the cost of a ski weekend in Vermont:
Use Airline Miles Flights to Jackson Hole from the east coast typically cost between $400-$700 and always require a layover, but award seats start at just 25,000 miles round trip! This is an excellent route for cashing in those miles and getting the most bang for your buck. We booked our trip back in July using 25,000 AAdvantage miles each for a Thursday-Tuesday visit in January. At the time of booking, the same flight would have cost $575 each!
Stay in Town Jackson has a myriad of economical lodging options of the motel variety that range from $70-$125 per night. Staying in town is an excellent choice because you can walk to popular bars and restaurants like the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Snake River Brewing Company.
Ski at Grand Targhee The favorite ski area among the locals lies over the Teton Pass about a 90 minute drive northwest of Jackson Hole. Known as having more snow than its more well-known competitor near town, Grand Targhee also offers a $69 lift ticket which is significantly less expensive than the $95 lift ticket at Jackson Hole. Along with this $26 savings comes nonexistent lift lines, spectacular views of the Tetons, and a quick taste of Idaho along the drive!
Use reward points If you are looking to splurge on lodging there is no better choice than the Four Seasons located a few paces from the Bridger gondola at Jackson Hole. Heated robes at the outdoor heated pool, in-room fireplaces, and ski valets who actually insist on helping you put on your ski boots all come as part of the experience. But at $500 per night, the Four Seasons comes with a price tag that is easier to digest if one can redeem Amex or Hotels.com reward points. I was able to score a free room by cashing in a free night reward I received after booking 10 nights at hotels.com.
Eat Thai As odd as it may sound, Jackson Hole seems to be known for their Thai food. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Beil were spotted canoodling at Thai Me Up during their engagement trip in December. Other noteworthy Thai spots include Bon Appe Thai in town and Teton Thai in Teton Village, all offering delicious and hearty entrees for under $12. If you do feel compelled to splurge on a meal however, the best choice would be Couloir at the top of the gondola. Their $22 Kobe beef burger is the best of the west and comes with an epic view of the valley that is worth every penny. We even had a celeb appearance at Couloir- Val Kilmer having lunch and martinis with his ski buddies at the table next to us!