A Jackson Hole Roadie


It came late this year; just like the snow. My annual dash to Jackson Hole, Wyo.. It’s only a 4.5 hour drive from Park City. Utah, but it’s miles away. I once did Jackson in one day- complete with the après party at the Mangy Moose with some cute drunken skibums before crawling back into the car and arriving home by 11 p.m. Roundtrip totaled 17 hours. Not to say I wouldn’t do something wild like that again but there better be a lot of snow and open terrain.

Jackson’s marketing machine was sending out regular mountain reports throughout the holidays to tease us snow-starved ski junkies, but with a base depth not much more than ours in Utah I had to believe that most of the word was propaganda. Locals’ reports confirmed that the skiing wasn’t all that, so I waited. Where I would have had 40 days under my belt by now, I sat at 20- maybe. There is, however, one thing that gets me motivated even when I’ve been such a slacker of late. Jackson’s steeps camp. I missed the one in early January. Pass. Now, smack over Valentine’s Day, the mountain was showing a little love in the form of a surprise squall that dropped 8 inches.

I booked a condo at my favorite Jackson hideout- the Spring Creek Ranch; halfway between Teton Village and the town of Jackson. The Resort is hosting me for the second year in a row but I wouldn’t go back if it wasn’t a killer spot to crash.

You get a lot for your money if you time it right (i.e. midweek, non holiday)- about $200/nt including discounted lift tickets, and free breakfast and dinner in the quiet rustic elegance of the Granary Restaurant.  There’s also a small spa, indoor and outdoor hottubs and free wireless internet.

But it’s the location that rocks. The homesite community sits on a hilltop for nearly 360 degrees of spectacular views and serenity. The drive in either direction takes about 20 easy minutes.

Time to hit the road. We packed up the car with the essentials.

My first roadtrip of the winter season and already my Escort radar detector has saved my butt twice. There is no surer way to harsh a vacation than to get a speeding ticket. No matter how much fun you have post police, you have that sizeable fine and points on your record hanging over your head. Plus, it’s not like you’re going to go back to fight it. You will feel defeated in addition to pissed. The best defense is a good offense. My Escort mounts on my windshield with two small suction cups and if anyone asks, the mount looks just like one for a GPS receiver. In fact it does work with GPS technology to eliminate false alarms. The “AutoLearn” feature will mute out zones that regularly give off a false signal so you aren’t bothered. The detector sounds when a radar or laser is in range and flashes your current speed on the display. You have plenty of time to slow down. It also comes pre-loaded with red light and photo speed camera locations- yes, they use them in Utah. And you can go online and download updates.

When you consider that one speeding ticket averages $200, the $499 investment is worth every penny. Remember all of that construction on I-80 near downtown Salt Lake City? I’ve been using my radar since 2009 when I was busted for doing 75 in a 55 construction zone near 1300 east. I wasn’t going that fast but try to fight that one in Salt Lake County and win. Not going to happen. I did community service and used the ‘fine’ money to purchase my new road buddy.

We checked in safe and sound. More roadtrip gear and a Jackson review tomorrow.


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