Viewing by month: December 2009
This season is special for the Snow King Ski Area. Snow King celebrated its 70th opening day in style with a cake cutting ceremony attended by many of the long time locals. Bill Briggs even managed to stop by for some early morning music and yodeling. Mayor Mark Barron was on hand to recite a proclamation highlighting the importance of Snow King Mountain to Jackson Hole, youth athletics and the ski community in general. Jim Sullivan, long time Snow King Ski Area Manager, gave a quick speech on the history of Snow King and how not only home grown athletes, but those who come to train at Snow King have a history of Olympic competition success. But, history wasn't the only good thing going on this morning.
Although Mother Nature has been stingy with the real stuff this early season, cold temperatures and high tech snow making equipment made it possible for Snow King to open with great skiing. The "Town Hill" had solid coverage on the open runs this morning and those who came out to enjoy the steepest continuous vertical drop of any ski area in North America were treated to excellent conditions. This is especially exciting news for the Jackson Hole Ski Club which is hosting the Western FIS Race next week at the Snow King Ski Area. With more terrain scheduled to open this week, it should be a great event.
Usually, in October and November I find myself catching up on work from a busy summer, squeaking in the last of the mountain biking season or just relaxing while surfing the web for early season ski gear deals. This year my plans were a little bit different taking me out of Jackson Holefor most of the fall season. Whenever I return to Jacksonafter being gone for an extended period of time it never ceases to amaze me what a beautiful Valley Jackson Hole really is. Even though I have lived here for almost twelve years the view is new every time I catch that first glimpse of Jackson Hole from the airplane window or through the windshield as I descend the Teton Pass into the valley. This year was no exception.
I started my fall travel season by getting away to Moab, Utah for some fall mountain biking and a little warm weather. It makes a great road trip from Jackson as Moab is only about eight hours away by car and there are several good riding opportunities along the way. A quick stop in Salt Lake City is a great place to break up the trip especially when you are craving some good food after a week of camp fire meals. If you are planning a road trip out west next year, make sure to add both Jackson and Moab to your road map.
The next stage of my travels took me to Los Angeles , California to represent Jackson Hole and the Snow King Resort at this year's Los Angeles Ski Dazzle Expo - a consumer ski show located in downtown Los Angeles . The Staples Center is adjacent to the show and the Kings, Lakers and Clippers all played right next door during the show. It was well attended with dedicated Southern California skiers and riders filling up the show for four days. This year was especially well attended as the west was getting early season snow and several ski resorts in the area were already open. The event was well organized with a big half pipe set up in the middle of the show and there were fantastic ski and board deals in every direction. Anyone living in the Los Angeles area and looking for a good deal on a ski trip should definitely plan on attending next year's show.
The third leg of my off season journey took me just a little further away to Seoul , South Korea. This was not a business trip, but a much delayed and anticipated honeymoon. Seoul is truly an amazing city with eye popping - cityscapes in every direction. An ultra modern city with historical cultural opportunities sprinkled throughout. The people are extremely friendly even to a dazed and confused tourist such as me. I was surprised at how easy it was to get around in a city of 13 million people with the knowledge of only a handful of Korean words. It brings to mind how difficult getting around a small town like Jackson would be for any foreign tourist who does not speak English. At Snow King we offer translated web pages from our Resort portal page. I wonder what the Korean word for hospitality is?
Upon arriving back in the States I headed directly to my next stop the 2009 NTA convention in Reno, Nevada. The NTA convention brings Tour Operators from all over the world together with North American destination suppliers and community representatives. Jackson Hole and the State of Wyoming were well represented. This type of show revolves mainly around summer bus tours and as Jackson Hole is just a short drive from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks NTA is an important part of Snow King's business travel schedule. It helps that Reno is a great city for a convention as there is plenty to do at night. Plus, it is always nice to see how other properties run a convention as we at Snow King are always trying to refine the experience our convention guests have while on property.
The best part about a busy travel schedule is being able to come home to Jackson Hole , Wyoming . When I left the weather was crisp, but warm and the mountains were just hitting their fall colors. My return found the town of Jackson getting ready for winter. The surrounding peaks are all white and the snow guns are blazing! Jackson Hole and Snow King are looking forward to a busy ski season just the other side of Thanksgiving.