By Annie Fenn | January 4th, 2018
It’s no secret we locals find it hard to leave the base of the mountain after all the lifts have shut down. When the sun sets and the Tetons light up with alpenglow, there’s no better place to après than Jackson Hole.
Après ski — the social time spent eating and drinking after a day of skiing — is a beloved part of Jackson Hole’s winter culture. It’s all about prolonging those feel-good, powder day vibes with comforting food, a drink or two and tales of a day spent in the clouds. Seriously, what could be better?
How about a mountain festival devoted to the art of the après ski? This winter, Jackson Hole Food & Wine promises an après experience just as memorable as our terrain: Winter Fest, Jackson Hole’s first annual après ski festival. And it’s all for a great cause. A portion of proceeds from Winter Fest will benefit Hole Food Rescue, a non-profit organization that strives to end food waste and abolish hunger in Jackson Hole.
Winter Fest has something for everyone who loves skiing, food and drink: a panel discussion among wine and food enthusiasts about their most memorable cold weather meals, a laid-back sampling of the best après ski nibbles prepared by local chefs, a bourbon tasting with Wyoming Whiskey’s David DeFazio and a chic wine dinner at 9,000 feet featuring celebrity chef Tyler Florence.
Foodies know Florence from his Food Network shows, restaurants and nearly a dozen cookbooks. But Florence is also a big-hearted chef known for helping out great causes. Most recently, he raised money for California wine country relief efforts by heading up Grateful Table, a Thanksgiving-themed dinner set in a vineyard along the Napa and Sonoma county line.
Winter Fest brings Florence to Jackson Hole with restaurateur Drew Nieporent of Myriad Restaurant Group and a host of award-winning vintners. They will collaborate with local chefs for four very special events at the base of the mountain in Teton Village.
Big Wines, Small Plates: Winter Edition, Presented by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Winter Fest kicks off at the cozy Piste Mountain Bistro at the top of the Bridger Gondola, elevation 9,000 feet. As guests come in from the cold, wine and food enthusiasts will reminisce about their favorite cold-weather meals at the Big Wines, Small Plates panel discussion.
With spectacular views of the Teton peaks above and the valley below, Piste is a dramatic venue. Chef Florence will be one of the esteemed panelists, while his team collaborates with chef Michael Britton and the team at Piste to create small plates and wine pairings to match the panelists’ storytelling.
Photo courtesy of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
A Taste of Teton Village: Best of Après Ski, Presented by Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
Inspired by the popular Taste of Jackson Hole summer event, Taste of Teton Village will be a collaboration featuring Teton Village restaurants and chefs. Each will offer their very best après ski nibble, served with a curated selection of wine, beer and cocktails. Guests will gather slopeside at the Four Seasons Resort at Teton Village for this elegant, laid-back walk-around tasting.
Whiskey Mountain: Hosted by Old Yellowstone Garage
At Whiskey Mountain, an educational seminar and tasting, bourbon lovers will get to taste Wyoming Whiskey’s entire line, presented by local lawyer turned whiskey maker David DeFazio.
“Most people don’t have the opportunity to taste raw whiskey before it goes into the barrel,” says DeFazio. Guests will start by sipping Wyoming Whiskey’s small-batch flagship product and progress to the high-rye Outryder. Next, a rare treat: the Double Cask bourbon (finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels), considered by some to be its best whiskey yet. “This bourbon,” says DeFazio, “is a tough one to find. It flies off the shelves as soon as it’s released.”
After all that straight-up sipping, a mixologist will craft two cocktails — one hot and one cold — while showcasing the genius behind pairing bourbons with elixirs for the perfect après ski libation.
What to eat when sipping bourbon? “Nothing fancy,” says DeFazio, “and nothing too spicy. Think steak, wild game and comforting hearty bites.” Old Yellowstone Garage, just a few steps from the tram dock in the Caldera House, will be keeping the bourbon-tasters fed as they sip. Paulie O’Connor, a James Beard nominated chef, will serve bites of his signature Cowboy Italian cuisine.
Wine Dinner at 9,000 Feet: Rendezvous Lodge, presented by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a magical place at night. As the sunlight fades and the stars come out, the slopes and crags start to glow. I can’t imagine a better place for a special winter wine dinner than at the Rendezvous Lodge, elevation 9,000 feet. The views are spectacular and you can’t beat the transportation — guests ride the Bridger Gondola to and from dinner. This last event of the Winter Fest weekend is a wine pairing dinner featuring Chef Florence’s passionate cuisine paired expertly with exceptional wine from Kobrand Wine and Spirits.
Photo courtesy of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Winter Fest takes place February 28 - March 2 at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village. For tickets, visit jhfoodandwine.com.