A Brief History of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Every ski area has it’s story of how it was founded, to the evolution of how it became what it is today with many stories and characters that fill the spaces in between. The history of JHMR is no different, the resort has seen its fair share of changes over the years from owners, to lifts, hotels, restaurants and more. While covering every detail of the history of this iconic ski resort would make for a fantastic read, it would require a novel worth of text. With that being said, here is a brief history of JHMR.

The Early Years

Prior to 1961 the current location of the resort was a girl scout ranch which Paul McCollister purchased. McCollister, with the assistance of partners Alex Morley and Gordon Graham formed the Jackson Hole Ski Corporation in 1963.  The following year they began construction with Apres Vous mountain opening to the public in 1964, with two double chairlifts. Two years after that, the original Jackson Hole Tram opened in 1966 and held 52 people, taking passengers to the top of Rendezvous mountain in just over 10 minutes. That December the resort officially opened and Pepi Stiegler, reigning Olympic gold medalist of the time, was hired to be the ski school director. Several national ski races and competitions were held at Jackson Hole in the following years. With a notable moment being the final International ski race of the season in 1967, the Wild West classic in which Jean-Claude Killy of France and Nancy Green of Canada were crowned as that year’s world champions. Jean-Claude was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying “If there is a better ski mountain in the United States, I haven’t skied it.”

The 90’s-Now

After years of slow growth and a few new lifts being added, including the Thunder double chair, which took skiers from mid mountain to a few hundred feet below the summit providing easier access to the central mountain between the tram and Apres Vous lift. In 1992 McCollister sold Jackson Hole Ski Corp. to the Kemmerer siblings, Connie, Jay and Betty whose family had a long family history in Wyoming dating back more than 100 years. That same year the Thunder double chair was upgraded to a quad, by 1997 the family friendly Teewinot beginner lift was upgraded to a high-speed quad and the Bridger Gondola was also added along with new intermediate trails. Aside from the ski resort itself, Teton village was expanding as well at the turn of the century, with Snake River Lodge & Spa, The Teton Club, Teton Mountain Lodge, Four seasons and Hotel Terra all being constructed in just the years between 2000 and 2009. In 2006 the Tram was shut down, to build the larger current Tram we see today, this same year the Headwall Deli and Rendezvous Restaurant at the top of the Bridger gondola were built, now known as Piste. Since then even more lifts have been added including the Casper, Marmot and Teton lifts, and the Sweetwater Gondola.

Just this past year the resort has added yet another lift, the Eagles Rest quad which is another lift catering to beginners. The evolution continues.