Celebrating Christmas in Jackson Hole
The holidays in Wyoming are fun just because it’s Christmas, but Jackson Hole in particular is special: it’s right on the edge of Yellowstone. So when you’re celebrating Christmas in Jackson Hole, you’ve got in-town events, the ski hill and an entire national park at your fingertips. In the week between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, make sure you soak up the local culture in the bars and out on snowmobiles in nature. Here’s our list of fun things to do in Jackson this holiday season.
Before it’s Christmas, it’s the night before Christmas. Gather at Teton Mountain Lodge at 4:30PM with Lea Thompson, former NBC correspondent, where she will lend her melodic voice to reading Clement C. Moore’s classic noel poem. This isn’t a kids only event. Grandma needs to hear the story just as much as Mom, Dad and that couple on their honeymoon. It’s just not Christmas eve without it.
Keep an eye out for Santa Claus on the hill Christmas Day. He’s already made one loop down from the North Pole to swing by the Jackson Hole kiddos and he’ll be back cruising on Teewinot Christmas Day. He’ll be at the bottom of the lift at 1PM. Naturally, he needs to sleep in after his busy night of staying awake for hours in the cold. If you can, get to have your picture snapped and see if you can draw your mouth up like a bow. Otherwise, catch him during normal lift operation times and try to race him for a run or two.
Kiddies, this day is all about you. The Winter Scavenger Hunt is for little ones five and up – hopefully, we can keep the competition to a minimum once the tweens get involved. After the scavenger hunt, the fiesta turns into a sledding party in the commons area. Meet up at the Hotel Terra in the Albright Room. Scavenging and sledding is from 11AM-2:30PM.
Starlight, starbright. The Wyoming night sky is a sight to behold, so don’t let daytime be your only shot at seeing the vista – attend the Teton Valley Stargazing event. Join naturalist and astronomer Kurt Johnson in navigating the constellations, planets and other stellar features. Hopefully there will be some time to hear the stories about Orion in addition to pointing out the scientific gases behind each satellite. Gazing starts around 6ish, weather depending. Meet up in the Snake River Lodge lobby.
Winter Hootenanny is an all-star Jackson Hole live music phenomenon. For $10, you’ll get to see the rock stars of Teton County acoustic folk play for a special winter concert. Like the regular show each week, this rendition will also play sing in the traditions of folk, country and Appalachian bluegrass. Hootenanny is at the Center Theater, 7PM. Don’t miss it.
Imagine taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride among an elk herd numbering in the thousands. That’s what Yellowstone says, to get you into the sleighs and out among the herd. And you know what? It’s not just marketing copy, because the sleigh ride on the refuge is pretty freakin’ amazing. Rides go out daily except Christmas from 10AM-4PM. Grab tickets at the Jackson Hole and Yellowstone Visitor Center in town for reservations. Make sure to dress in layers! We don’t want no tenderfoots getting chilled out in the valley.
The best day to do adventurous exploration is clearly before New Years Eve. That’s why you should hope on a Scenic Safari and explore Yellowstone on snowmobiles. The backcountry is a pristine landscape. It might take you back to the days of the Great American West – or those daydreams you may have had, thanks to a few John Wayne movies. There are several snowmobile operators in Jackson Hole, so definitely make sure you find the tour you want, if Scenic doesn’t do it for you. Then hop on with a guide or by yourself. Check out this vast great country. Helmets provided.
There’s going to be plenty of New Years Eve parties in SKI magazine’s #1 ski resort, but we’re gonna say that the Gondi-Gala is the way to go for 2014. The party is at the top of gondola (duh) at the Couloir Restaurant. Yum. A complimentary champagne toast with chocolates will ring in the New Year, the rest of the evening, local band Mandatory Air will be playing the tunes. Tickets are $75 each, although note that the party goes from 9PM-12:30AM. It may be shorter than some bar venues, but the view at the top of the gondi seems to be worth it. Why not celebrate a new year with the most beautiful sight you can see?
What are you thinking?