Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It was a trip worth the wait! Melia and Kiele are now teenagers and this was their first trip to see and experience snow! (It’s never too late). And it was all our first time to visit Wyoming. We flew about 6-hours with United on a red-eye from Honolulu to Colorado. We had a quick 1-hour layover, then flew United Express to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which took about an hour to get there. We walked out onto the runway in freezing -4 degrees Fahrenheit weather! NOTE: be prepared to have winter clothes ready for arriving into Wyoming or at least a jacket, scarf + gloves – I was not prepared!
I was in awe of the beauty of all the snow and trees – such a dichotomy to Hawaii’s landscape. And was thankful to see the girls’ happy reactions to snow and the magical feeling it evoked for their first time.
CAR RENTAL + ACCOMMODATION
We rented a car and drove to the Rustic Inn where we stayed. Average room cost there was $300-$400 per night. Not bad. Plus each morning, there was a delicious buffet breakfast served with cold and warm cereal options, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, waffles and other hot breakfast items. The rooms looked like log cabins on the outside, though completely felt like a hotel inside. Room service was great where you could text a 24hour room attendant for needed requests.
PLACES TO EAT
We tried various restaurants. Two we enjoyed in Jackson Hole Town Square were the Pizzeria Caldera, which was a hole in the wall pizza restaurant. Since Bison and Elk meats were popular in WY, we wanted to try their “Elk Piccante” with mozzarella, house-made elk sausage, fresh mozzarella, onion, Mama Lil’s mildly spicy Goat Horn peppers + fresh basil. I would only eat this once or rarely. While I’m not vegan nor vegetarian the fact that there was an Elk Refuge in Wyoming had me convinced I wouldn’t want to eat elk regularly. Overall, their pizzas all looked tasty and worth trying.
Then we tried, SUDA Izakaya. Jason and the girls had ramen bowls, while we also shared ‘Swan Valley Bison’ kushiyaki skewers and assorted veggie tempura. We noticed names from Hawaii on the menu such as the “Ohana” house specialty roll and later found out the owner grew up on Kauai!
Our first couple of days we spent exploring the slopes at the “local” ski resoty – “Snow King Mountain.” This is a great Mountain for those who want to avoid the crowds or get in some beginner / warm-up time on the 3 ‘Magic Carpet’ runs designed for beginners particularly.
Jason and I brought our snowboard and boots over from Hawaii. While we rented the girls’ snowboards and boots since they were beginners. Of course, if you plan to travel to winter destinations often, purchasing your own equipment will save you money in the long run.
During our last days, we went snowboarding in Jackson Hole, located in Teton Village. This was what I like to compare to Hawaii’s Waikiki – so many people and no magic carpets for beginners, though longer runs and easy slopes for those still starting out. For ski lift passes if you are staying in JH for a long time, a season pass would be your best bet at $1800 on average for the ski season. Otherwise, you’re looking at on average $150-$180 depending on age group. Snow King was cheaper at $80 for a full day. And always best to purchase your tickets in person or when you are in Wyoming you can purchasetickets online for pickup at the resort.
Avoid purchasing ski passes from wherever you are in the world as you may get caught into spending more, which is what happened with us. We spent $50+ more for ski passes than if we purchased them in person or when we arrived.
WINTER WARDROBE ESSENTIALS + TRAVELING SUSTAINABLY
Living in Hawaii, there aren’t many winter retailers aside from Patagonia along WardAve and North Face in Ala Moana Center, which I like to think as more of a mid to high-end retailer for Snow. So we purchased many of our items at least a month before our trip on Amazon. I say 1 month, to allow for returns if anything doesn’t fit.
I do advise purchasing Winter Boots or boots that will be warm enough through the snow or cold temps. We went to the UGG store in Waikele. We bought boots that were good to wear in the snow and these kept our toes nice and cozy. I do think I want to buy more hardy boots with fleece inside and a sturdy canvas or rubber exterior for next time. Uggs are comfy, but aren’t really ideal for wearing in the snow, because overall they are soft.
Clothing? We purchased thermals on Amazon. And any additional layers like turtlenecks or sweaters we didn’t have, we bought second hand (supporting sustainability). Don’t forget to wash on hot/warm and dry before wearing.
Wool socks are a must! We bought ours on Amazon too.
So for layers of clothing I would say 3 layers if you’re walking around your hotel or going out to eat and 4 layers when you’re skiing or snowboarding or going on a cold outdoor activity like we did for an hour on a sleigh ride. For other sustainable brands I looked at from clothing to even travel shampoo + conditioner bars, check out my personal instagram: @marylea_ablen_conrad
We absolutely loved Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s such a naturally rich environment and something completely different to Hawaii, but with the same goals in mind to protect our planet’s natural beauty.