Healthy Travel Guide: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
If you're a hardcore ski bum or boarder, Jackson Hole is likely on your to-do list. Boasting some of the best mountains and, often times, the highest snowfall averages in the country, "the last of the Old West" is a powder-lovers paradise. But even if you don't hit the slopes, Jackson Hole is a dream-come-true getaway for the body and the soul.
Surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges, including the majestic Grand Tetons, JH's scenery alone will make you want to break a sweat in the great outdoors-every day, no matter the season. With healthy eating options available for your aprés ski and daily meals, this destination is a no-brainer. History buffs, outdoor adventurists, weekend warriors, and extreme-sports enthusiasts alike will all find something to love out in "the Hole." Here's the health-conscious scoop.
What to Pack
Your mountain getaway wouldn't be complete without log cabin-inspired lodging. Nestled on the side of the mountains, Spring Creek Ranch (pictured above, left) offers a wide variety of rustic options, from inn rooms to townhouses and mountain villas. Each inn room features a wood-burning fireplace and a balcony with stunning views of the snow-capped peaks. Wake up to the smell of Cowboy coffee in the morning or watch the sun set over the Tetons from your back-porch balcony at dusk. The Ranch feels like a campus with restaurants, a spa, a fitness center, and outdoor hot tubs all within walking distance of each other and just a short drive from many ski mountains and resorts. For an additional cost, opt for the Teton Wellness retreat. A must-do for anyone looking to recharge and rejuvenate, you'll enjoy three days of skiing, treatments in the Wilderness Adventure Spa, private fitness or meditation classes and wellness meals. Like chicken soup for the soul, you'll feel mentally and physically refreshed when you head back to your everyday life.
If you prefer something a little more upscale, Amangani (pictured above, right) is the first luxury Aman resort in North America and boasts luxury accommodations and amenities. The resort's spa and fitness center feature treatment rooms, exercise studios, separate steam rooms, and individualized yoga programs so you'll never miss a workout. Dinner sleigh rides are a winter highlight at this resort, especially on moonlit nights. Sleighs take guests up the ridge to reveal panoramic views of the valley while you stay warm under cozy blankets. A delicious dinner with nutritious options will follow at The Granary restaurant.
Stay in shape
Jackson Hole is an outdoorsy dream. Winter stretches past April so you can indulge in activities like skiing (obviously), from alpine to backcountry, cross-country, and heli, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, tubing, tracking winter wildlife, and even dog-sledding. Our pick: head to Jackson Hole Resort (pictured above) for a day on the slopes and spring for a guide for the day. It's incredibly helpful to have someone lead your through the runs to match your skill level. Request Martha Anderson, alpine instructor, for a personal or group lesson to hone your skill. Her patience, sweet positivity, and expert instruction will have you feeling like Lindsay Vonn in no time! You can easily rent a set of boots and skis, but we'd suggest demo-ing a pair of DPS skis. You won't be disappointed with the carving and control of their sets of sticks.
Skiing is definitely challenging, and you're working hard, so you end up getting really hungry really fast. Here's a pro tip: for energy that lasts all day, stash some snacks in your jacket pockets. Our faves on the go: the incredibly low-fat, high protein Jack Links Jerky will fill you up without weighing you down. Plus, they pair well as a snack with an aprés ski beer (go ahead, you totally earned it!). If you'd rather an electrolyte drink to keep you hydrated, try adding Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix to your water. It's like your favorite sports drink minus all the junk and artificial additives. This all-natural option is flavored with real fruit, contains no artificial colors or preservatives, and won't upset your stomach or leave an icky taste in your mouth. We love the Lemons + Limes flavor, or try adding Apples + Cinnamon to hot water for a warming post-ski treat that's healthier than hot cocoa.
Fuel your trip
Craving someone delicious but portion controlled? Check out Bin 22 (pictured above, left) in downtown Jackson Hole. This cozy yet sophisticated spot serves up tapas treats that will tickle your taste buds yet won't push you over the edge. And, if you're spending the day at the Jackson Hole Resort slopes, you can hit up on of the resort's ten-plus restaurants, including Couloir and The Deck (pictured above, center and right).
For a fun history lesson on the area, inquire about a guided tour of the downtown area from the Jackson Hole Historical Society. It may sound a little ho-hum, but you'll be amazed at the history that lives inside "the Hole" and leave feeling more educated on the area. (Fun fact: it's called Jackson Hole because, since the valley is surrounded on all sides by mountains, it looks like a hole from high above.) You'll meet in the town square marked on each corner by grand arches made of real elk antlers. Nearby is the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Be sure to stop by one night to belly up to the bar on real horse saddles, then work up a sweat on the dance floor two-stepping to live country music. It's the kind of western fun that can't be missed!
Few visitor's leave Jackson Hole without taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride or wagon into the National Elk Refuge. Under Navajo-patterned blankets, you'll embark on a journey to witness over 8,000 elk in their natural habitat. Learn about their migration from the cowboy guides and see them playfully spar in the valley's meadow overlooked by the Grand Tetons. Feeling adventurous? Travel just a bit further north to visit Yellowstone National Park, where you'll likely see bison, elk, wolves, moose, and bears. With plenty to see and do and miles of backcountry trails, Yellowstone is a breathtaking sight better seen than described.