Considering taking the family to Jackson Hole for a winter getaway and ski vacation? This post will help! For more on our Jackson Hole family ski trip, see my highlights post. Otherwise, let’s jump into the nitty gritty you need to know.
Getting to Jackson Hole
We are a family that has always chosen direct flights when possible for the simple reason that it’s easier with kids. Jackson has a smaller airport so it has less direct flights coming in. However, they do offer direct flights from many of the areas of the country. See which direct flight is closest to you here.
Since our kids are now 11 and 8, a connecting flight wasn’t as intimidating. We took a quick flight from Charlotte to Atlanta, then straight into Jackson. It was smooth and easy.
Once at the Jackson airport, you’ll need transportation to your lodging. The airport is only a 15 minute ride to Jackson or a 30 minute ride to Teton Village. However, you are going to want to set up your ground transportation before you arrive. Waiting on an Uber or taxi can be time consuming and/or expensive.
Skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
If your trip is focused on skiing, I recommend staying in Teton Village. While Jackson is not far by distance, and a bus to and from the mountain is only $3.00 each way, the traffic between the two can get congested during the busy morning and early evening migration, taking up to 45-60 minutes.
If you are renting equipment, I recommend JH Sports at the base of the mountain. The fitting there was friendly and efficient, plus they offer storage right there on site, making it quick to get your equipment in the morning and take off on the mountains, as well a convenient stop at the end of the day. Just ski right to the door, pop off your skis, and hand them over for overnight storage.
Let’s talk about the mountain terrain. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is definitely known for their incredible expert terrain, including Corbet’s Couloir. While we saw many skiers giddy to tackle the more challenging runs, the amount of beginner and intermediate terrain is nothing to scoff at.
At the time of our trip, our kids were 11 and 8. They have both been skiing once a year for the past 5 years, so they have some experience but I’d still consider them both beginners. The base of the mountain offers some incredible, wide greens with multiple paths through the woods. Just above those there are some great blues that offer a step up, but are still perfect for the beginners looking for slightly more slope. See the mountain map here. There was plenty of options to keep us all happily engaged and enjoying skiing at our beginner-intermediate levels for three full days of skiing. And we would have done more if we would have had more time.
Ski School and lessons for kids and beginners are essential, not only for safety reasons, but to maximize the enjoyment of the experience. Reserve this ahead of your trip, as classes and lessons might sell out and there are no waitlists.
We set our two kids up in half day semi-private (just the two of them) lessons and it was the perfect fit. Three hours of focused learning, a warm up/refuel break, then time to explore the mountain as a family. See details for ski school and private lessons here.
Considering the Temperatures
I watched the weather like a hawk before our trip, gawking at the -1 and 4 degree temperatures. We brought a ton of hot hands and hoped for the best. We were all pleasantly surprised that with the correct layers (base layer, midweight on top, good snow pants and coat, balacavas, wool socks, and a neck gator), we were all quite comfortable.
Is it a dry cold that makes it not feel so bad? I’m honestly not sure, but all but one of our days were under 18 degrees and we felt great.
Other Things to Note
Make dining reservations ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be months in advanced, but you don’t want to wait until the night of to secure a spot at one of the restaurants in Teton Village. You’d probably be OK at The Mangy Moose, but for The Spur, Village Osteria, Corsa, Calico, and others, you’ll be better off with a reservation.
The village is cozy and cute! There is an ice skating rink set up right in the center, adjacent to the coolest (pun intended) ice castles that act as a playground for kids. Our kids loved this area and we spent a lot of post-skiing time hanging here by the outdoor fire place watching them play.
There is more than just skiing. We would have been perfectly satisfied with just the skiing, but consider other winter activities as well, from dog sled to hot springs, to snowmobiling, to cross country skiing, and more. You’re adjacent to Teton National Park and seeing the Tetons in their winter glory is breathtaking.
Jackson Hole Family Ski Trip Q&A
How much have your kids skied prior to this trip? They’ve been skiing for 5 years, so 5 times total. 2018 Snowshoe WV, 2019 Deer Valley UT, 2020 Solitude UT, 2021 Deer Valley UT, 2022 Deer Valley UT, and 2023 Jackson Hole WY.
Is it worth it if you aren’t a family of skiers? Yes! The scenery is gorgeous and there is so much to do from exploring the town to seeing the elk refuge to dog sledding or snowmobiling. If you aren’t there for just skiing, you may want to consider staying in Jackson as opposed to Teton Village.
Recommended items to pack. See all my recommendations on this Tips for Taking Kids Skiing post.
Where did you stay? We stayed in a one bedroom suite at Teton Mountain Lodge in the village. Read my full review here.
Ski lessons for kids- half day? Full day? Depends a lot on their experience, your budget, and your ski experience level, too. Can you teach them yourself? Do you want time to explore the mountain on your own? For kids younger than 6, I recommend full day ski school for at least the first day. This time, with our kids having some experience behind them, the semi-private half day was ideal. It let them receive some focused instruction and get in more skiing than they might have gotten in a class.
What did you pack that you didn’t use/wish you would have packed? I way overpacked sweaters. I could have gotten away with a single sweater. True, I’m no fashionista, but ski gear takes up so much space that it makes sense to go lighter on the other items, especially because ski towns are casual. You can get in almost anywhere in nice jeans and a sweater, but you’ll spend most of your time in your ski gear, a bathing suit, or the hotel robe.
I can’t think of anything I wish I would have had. Maybe a better pair of snow boots that were more waterproof for tromping through deeper snow.
How early do you have to book things before you arrive (lessons, food, etc)? As soon as you decide to visit, book lodging, lift tickets, and ski school. Book other excursions at this time, too, like snowmobiling. When you book flights, book your ground transportation. For food, I’d recommend the week before arrival
I’ve heard the slopes aren’t good for beginners; is that true? Not in my experience. Our beginners had an absolute blast. I think it makes a great destination for families with varying experience. There is plenty of terrain to keep the more advanced skiers busy while offering options for beginners and those that enjoy more relaxing slopes and gentle paths through the trees.
Did anyone experience altitude sickness? Thankfully, no. I know there are a lot of myths around altitude sickness and how to precent it. It is something we’ve experienced before, and we’ve found works for us is focusing on hydration and getting enough sleep. A few days before we leave, we start focusing on hydration. We all increase our water intake and have electrolytes at least once a day. We keep this up throughout the entirety of the trip. It’s also helpful if you can ascend elevation gradually, but we didn’t have that option as we flew right in.
How to price out a trip like this? Ski trips are expensive. There’s no denying that, but there are ways to tailor them to your specific needs and budget. The driving factors for cost include: how you will get there (fly or drive?), lodging, lift tickets, and ski school or lessons. Adjusting any of these can be a big cost saver.
New to skiing? Consider a drivable spot (we drove to Showshoe). Need to fly, but want to save money? Consider a condo rental that requires a shuttle to get to the mountain (they are often very reliable and efficient). Purchase lift tickets ahead of time and you can not only secure your spot, but save money as well. Consider less popular times if you can swing it, and look for packages and special offers. We’ve done Deer Valley on a “kids ski free” promotion, where we got one free child’s lift ticket per each adult lift ticket purchased. Consider borrowing gear and equipment instead of purchasing or renting can help, too.
To get a rough idea of what it will cost your family, first pick your dates, then look around at a few different options of locations. Are there any deals/packages to consider? Decide what kind of lodging you want and price that out. Research flights and see if one location differs drastically in price. Then look up the lift ticket and ski school prices (available online) and help that guide your choice as to how many days you want to ski/put the kids in lessons.
With all these variables, I’d ballpark that for a family of four, a 5 day ski vacation varies between $5,000-$15,000. Adjusting the major factors of transportation, lodging, lift tickets, lessons, and length of stay can help tailor it to your budget.
If there was anything I missed, please let me know! Happy to help in anyway I can.