Jackson Hole Mountain Resort celebrates its 50th anniversary this ski season, and they’re looking back on five decades of wild, untamed adventure in the Tetons with a five-part video series. Scroll down to see the videos that have premiered so far this season and read a brief history of Jackson Hole.
Episode Four: Jackson Hole’s 5oth–Born to be Wild
Episode Three: Jackson Hole’s 5oth–Born to be Wild
Episode Two: Jackson Hole’s 50th—Born to be Wild
Episode One: Jackson Hole’s 50th—Born to be Wild
A brief history of Jackson Hole
Celebrated as the proving ground for extreme skiers since its opening in the 1960s, Jackson Hole is still the “last true bastion for all who dare to let it ride.” While it has a softer side these days (a trait that helped it earn the title of SKI Magazine’s No. 1 resort last year), Rendezvous Mountain is still a breathtaking and boundless place, in setting and in character.
Jackson Hole was first visited by trappers, ranchers and prospectors, but in the 1960s Paul McCollister and Alex Morley saw rugged Rendezvous Mountain as the perfect place for a ski resort. Pioneers in their own right, they sought to match European ski resorts by building a 2.5-mile aerial tram to ferry skiers from the valley floor to the peaks of the Tetons. It was no easy task, but they did it, and what was born was a break from the cookie-cutter, ski resort experience and a wild and untamed place where adventurous skiers could test their mettle in the big mountains.
By the 1980s, Jackson Hole had secured its reputation as a stomping ground for the gnarliest skiers in the sport, but that small group wasn’t enough to keep the lights on. They needed more people to visit the resort while preserving the founders’ elevated ideals.
Along came the Kemmerers, a mining family with history in Wyoming, who purchased the resort in 1992. The Kemmerers went to work modernizing the lifts, adding a gondola and rebuilding the tram. The result turned modern Jackson Hole into the revered ski resort it is today, one where the best skiers still cut their teeth on the cliffs and couloirs and families introduce their next generation to the sport.