Another ski season is underway in the Tetons. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened on Friday with an estimated snowfall of 82 inches so far this year and five of 13 lifts spinning.
With some of the best early season powder in recent memory, skiers and snowboarders said they had a lot to be grateful for.
¨I´m so excited to get back on the snow,” said Jackson native Rachel Ablondi. “It looks like a beautiful day today and that there’s some good snow and pretty good conditions for opening day.¨
Richard Mogan, also from Jackson, estimated that it was his 38th season on the mountain and said it was great to be back.
¨It’s actually a pretty good day for the first day,” Mogan said.
And Maddie Jarrard, another local, said she was also able to get in some good turns.
¨The snow was pretty decent,” Jarrard said. “I’m excited for some of the other runs to really fill in because, right now, you can still see the stumps and twigs poking out.¨
But even as excitement filled the air, the cost and availability of this year´s passes was on mountain-goers’ minds. This year, JHMR’s full season passes sold out in August — the earliest they’ve ever become unavailable.
That includes the Rendezvous Peak Pass, which gives users unlimited access to the resort and 50 ski areas around the world. At nearly $2,500, it’s a steep price tag that was out of reach for many.
Jarrard said she ended up going for the 10-day pass because, at about $1,200, it made the most financial sense. Ablondi said she also opted out of the full season pass and went for a weekday-only pass due to costs.
¨I always hope that the mountain caters more towards the locals and it feels like they’re catering more towards visitors, which I think [the resort] can do both,” Ablondi said. “The locals run this community and the ski resort itself, and I think that they should be the ones getting passes and [the resort] should work hard to do that, and I´m sad [it] didn’t this year.¨
The resort’s director of brand communications and content, Eric Seymour, declined to comment, directing KHOL to an August article in the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
In that article, JHMR president Mary Kate Buckley explained that the mountain began limiting the number of people on the lifts because of COVID-19. This also comes as more people visit the mountain with multi-resort ski passes.
Mogan, who’s spent nearly 40 years at the resort, opted for the Grand Bypass, a season pass with blackout days. For him, neither cost nor availability were the issue: It’s the mid-season crowds that bother him.
He was excited to ski at the start of the season this last weekend, when the crowds were thin and the sun was shining.
¨It’s just fun to be out on the snow again,” Mogan said.