Due to our limited health resources, we ask careful consideration of your trip and ask that you please abide by our Clean, Careful, Connected guidelines. For more information please click here.

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Pandemic Travel

What to Know While Planning Your Winter Trip to Jackson Hole.

By Erika Dahlby | November 9th, 2020

While the season’s change to winter signals a retreat indoors elsewhere in the world, there’s no better place to enjoy the snowy season than in Jackson Hole. The valley is transformed into a winter playground — the perfect place to escape and breathe fresh air while staying socially distant in nature. Jackson Hole is open and welcoming visitors, but things might operate a little differently than in years past. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time while traveling during a pandemic.

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Getting Here

With Jackson Hole Airport located just 10 miles from town and nonstop flights available from major U.S. cities, Jackson Hole is one of the easiest ski towns to access in the Mountain West. When booking your trip, look for flexible flights and choose an airline with policies you’re comfortable with. Most require masks to be worn in flight and take temperature checks before boarding while limiting in-flight service. Once you arrive at Jackson Hole Airport, you’ll find extra steps in place to keep everyone safe — masks are required to be worn in the building and services like baggage carts are not available. Taxi and rental car services are still available at the airport.

If you’re more comfortable driving to Jackson, you’ll be rewarded with breathtakingly scenic roads. There are only three routes in and out of the valley during the winter, and you’ll want to check on road conditions to ensure safe travel. If a big storm rolls through, roads may close and flights may be grounded, so you may need to be flexible with your plans but could be rewarded with an extra-powder day.

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Where to Stay

Whether you’re looking for a private condo, boutique hotel, or resort lodge, overnight accommodations in Jackson are open with added health and safety precautions and, in most cases, more flexible cancellation policies. Plan ahead and be flexible with your plans — know that there may be limited services or changes in operations, like grab-and-go breakfast instead of a buffet and limited lobby access. The Chamber of Commerce keeps a list of open lodging, noting any temporary or seasonal closures so you can best plan your visit; find it here.

You’ll find that the majority of lodging options are concentrated in the town of Jackson and Teton Village. If you’re hoping to spend your entire time skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, look at staying in Teton Village to minimize travel. You’ll be able to walk to the slopes instead of driving or taking public transportation. If a variety of activities are on your agenda or you want to spend more time around the heart of Jackson Hole, look into staying in the town of Jackson. You’ll be closer to the bulk of Jackson’s best restaurants, in walking distance to shops in the Town Square, and a 20-minute car ride to skiing in Teton Village. Some hotels may provide shuttle service to Teton Village or pick-up service at the Jackson Hole Airport.

Look into renting a car during your visit to limit exposure to other parties on public transportation. In the winter, a car is especially helpful for getting around the Jackson Hole valley, whether you’re driving to the ski resorts, to Grand Teton National Park looking for wildlife, or to meet a guide for a snowshoe tour. Remember to plan ahead as parking areas may be limited; if you opt to use public transportation or the START bus, bring a mask to wear and prepare for extra wait times due to social distancing. If planning a ski day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, you might plan to park at the Stilson lot and take the START bus shuttle to the resort. The shuttle is free and only takes 15 minutes. Capacity will be limited and masks, (preferably dry), are required. The START bus will be running with open windows for safety, so dress accordingly.

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Where to Eat

Jackson Hole is home to an amazing selection of local restaurants. From classic western to brew pubs, Thai food to elevated alpine cuisine, there’s no limit to our culinary community’s creativity. Most restaurants are open with limited occupancy and heightened health and safety protocols. Due to limited seating, if you’re hoping to dine in person it’s highly encouraged you make a reservation and manage your expectations — tables will be spaced out and menus may be disposable or available through a QR code. Businesses are still trying to provide the same level of experience, but safely.

If you’re not comfortable dining out, restaurants have expanded to-go options and online ordering to optimize the guest experience. Some chefs are offering prepared meals to go or meal kits where you can make your restaurant favorites in the comfort of your condo. Private chefs and catered dining options are available too. A regularly updated list of open restaurants can be found through the Chamber of Commerce.

Après is a staple in ski culture, but it may look a little different this year. Teton Village restaurants are encouraging grab-and-go post-skiing snacks and drinks to après at your house or hotel room. Outdoor tents will be set up at the base of Teton Village to allow people to bring their own food or order takeout and socially distance for lunch on the mountain.

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What to Do

While most folks are battling cabin fever come winter, Jackson Hole is the place to be to get outside, explore nature, and find some solitude. Whether you’re alpine skiing a black diamond run, snowmobiling to a remote hot spring, or watching thousands of elk from a horse-driven sleigh, many outdoor activities in Jackson are naturally socially distant.

The three ski resorts — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Ski Resort — are open this year, albeit with health and safety operations in place. Reservations are required for day ticket holders at Jackson Hole, and face coverings are mandatory as they are in all of Jackson Hole. Make sure to dress accordingly and wear layers as social distancing will be practiced in lift lines and indoor dining. Warming tent spaces may also be limited.

Guided tours and group lessons for everything from wildlife watching to snowshoeing and snowmobiling are still operating, but note there may be limitations on group sizes and availability, so plan ahead for your trip. Rental shops are open with added cleaning protocols for your DIY adventure into the wild.

Each business and activity has different precautions in place, so it’s best to check with the vendor first by calling or visiting their website. Visit our activities page for information to know before you go.

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Stay Clean, Careful, and Connected

We’re excited to welcome back visitors, but keep in mind the limited health resources in our small town. We ask that you adjust your actions and follow our clean, careful, connected guidelines for our safety and yours.

  • Clean: Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not an option, and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Careful: Wear a cloth face covering when in public settings and socially distance yourself from others when possible. The CDC does not recommend neck gators or buffs for full protection against COVID-19. Dry, double layered face coverings are recommended. Our community has put in tremendous effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and we ask that you follow suit to help reduce its spread.
  • Connected: Read our most up-to-date health orders and phased safety measures. Visit JHCovid.com, a comprehensive website about our community’s response to COVID-19, where you can find the current risk level, state and local orders, and recommendations and resources for visitors.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 once you arrive or find out that you’ve been in close contact with someone who confirmed positive, there are a few locations where you can be tested. Contact the Teton County Health Department or the St. John’s coronavirus hotline to be evaluated and directed to a testing site. Note that because of the size of our town and limited services, there are no locations that allow walk-in rapid testing. Teton County Public health and the state of Wyoming are encouraging all visitors to download the CARE 19 Alert and Diary app to assist in notification and tracing of COVID-19.

Erika Dahlby

Blog Author

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