Like most other winter hot spots, what Jackson Hole and its environs have to offer is an exercise in pronouncing your s's - skiing, snowmobiling and sledding (as in dogs). But the area has a distinct advantage over other winter sports havens. Only in Jackson Hole can you glide along on cross-country skis or bounce around on a snowmobile with the Tetons as your backdrop. Winter is the slow season here and you have the snow-covered vistas and muffled meadows pretty much to yourself.
Here in a nutshell is what the area has to offer:THE SKI RESORT OF Jackson Hole sprawls across the south end of the Teton Range. An aerial tram and eight chairlifts including a high-speed quad give you access to a wide variety of terrain. The area's reputation for difficulty is pegged on a rugged 10,450-foot peak known as Rendezvous Mountain, which often has its head in the clouds, and a spacious bowl of the same name. Some of the runs are as difficult and as long as you'd want to get.
Jackson Hole's intermediate runs are less well-known, which is a shame. They are wide, well-groomed and give you an easy glide down the mountain with few flat spots to hamper your progress. Their variety and length mean you'll never get bored.
A day pass good on all chairlifts costs $28. The tram costs $2 per ride extra. Accommodations are available at various lodges in Teton Village at the base of the resort or in and around the town of Jackson, 15-minutes away.
Animal lovers take note: Jackson Hole is one resort where you might cross paths with a moose.
THREE CROSS-COUNTRY ski centers in Jackson Hole offer groomed trails and guided tours: Spring Creek Ranch has six miles of groomed trails, PSIA instruction and guided tours to Grand Teton National Park; call (307) 733-8833. Togwotee Mountain Lodge tucked away in the Wind River Mountains 48 miles northeast of the town of Jackson has 12 miles of groomed trails for beginners to experts, instruction and guided tours; call (307) 543-2847. Jackson Hole Rossignol Cross-Country Ski Center in Teton Village has 25 kilometers of groomed trails that connect with backcountry touring in Grand Teton National Park, guided tours and instruction. Call (307) 733-2292.
FRANK TEASLEY OWNS AND operates Rocky Mountain Mushers. The Idaho native arrived in Jackson Hole 71/2 years ago, bringing 32 dogs with him. He began his commercial dog-sledding endeavor two years later, allowing him to earn a living while strengthening his dogs for the annual 1,149-mile Iditarod from Anchorage to Nome in which he participates. He now has 72 dogs under his care. Visitors to Jackson Hole can get a taste of what dog-sledding is all about. Teasley and his associates offer hourly, half-day, full-day, dinner and moonlight rides. Call (307) 733-7388.
THE NEWEST ARTY KID ON THE BLOCK in the town of Jackson is the Wildlife of the American West art museum located kitty-corner to Jackson's town square. (The one with the elk antler arches.)
It is the permanent home of the JKM Collection of 325 pieces created by 55 artists including George Catlin, W.R. Leigh, C.M. Russell, Phimister Proctor, Edward Kemeys, Bob Kuhn and Ken Bunn. At the heart of the collection are oils, sculptures, dry points and water colors by Carl Rungius, America's master portrayer of big game animals. Rungius is to wildlife what Russell and Remington are to the American cowboy.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibits. "Buckaroo Photograph Exhibit" will run from May 2 - June 25. The "Schwiering Exhibit" opens June 30 and runs through Sept. 15.
Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family.
THE NATIONAL ELK REFUGE outside of town was established in 1912 to feed animals that would otherwise starve during difficult winters. The town of Jackson and ranches throughout the valley had displaced the herd from its traditional feeding grounds.
An average of 8,000 elk gather here during the winter. For $5 a head (adults) and $2.50 for children you can board a horse-drawn sleigh that takes you into the center of the herd for an up close and personal look at elk. Follow the signs from Refuge headquarters on East Broadway Street.
For information about Jackson Hole, write the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Box E, Jackson, Wyo.,83001.
For information about Pinedale, write the Pinedale Chamber of Commerce, Box 176, Pinedale, Wyo., 82041.