One of my favorite Jackson Hole spring sports is “skinning the king”. Using back-country ski gear you can climb up Snow King Mountain and earn your turns to ski down. This year, thanks to a partnership between Snow King, Exum Mountain Guides and Arc’teryx combined with local donations, Snow King will continue to be groomed once a week throughout April even though the lifts have stopped running. This will help keep the snow ski-able until it is time to break out the hiking books and mountain bikes in May.
Skinning the King is a great way to be introduced to back country skiing gear and techniques in a safe, semi controlled environment, while getting an unbelievable workout. Since Snow King is controlled for avalanches during the ski season, any avalanche danger is minimal in the spring allowing you to enjoy the scenery and focus on the best view of the town and Tetons from the summit. Since the lifts are closed, you have the added bonus of being able to bring your dog(s) along.
Although spring is the time of year I most often skin the king, Snow King Mountain allows for year round uphill travel. This past year Snow King partnered with Stio to launch an Uphill Challenge for their 80th Anniversary winter season. Uphill pass and season pass holders were able to scan their passes at the base of the Summit Lift or Rafferty Lift and then scan them at the top point they reach on the mountain. Their times and vertical feet climbed were logged on each journey. Awards were given monthly to the top male and female winners for either the fastest time or the most vertical feet climbed each month. In addition, random drawings were held for those who have participated each month.
Yet another way to get outside and enjoy the Jackson Hole Lifestyle.