Jackson Hole was AMAZING!!
I was so nervous before leaving because this trip has so many potential things that could have gone wrong and completely screwed us up. Had our flight been delayed for any amount of time, we would have missed all our appointments on Friday. If we had to reschedule for Saturday, we wouldn’t be able to get any skiing in. And if we couldn’t ski on Saturday, then Sunday was going to be a really miserable day because we didn't have enough time and Ryan would be so disappointed. So we were praying for great weather and no delays.
Our flight to Jackson Hole was packed with excited skiers. We had a group of hard-core ski bums surrounding us who didn’t stop talking about all the different runs and difficulty of the mountain. I was excited, but growing more and more nervous about this adventure. I’ve only skied twice in my life…and both times were two weeks ago when Ryan and I went to Hidden Valley, the make-shift “ski resort” on a golf course about 20 minutes from our house. I had taken a private lesson both days and felt comfortable enough at Hidden Valley to brave the “big hill” and make it down alive, but I was by no means comfortable on my skis. I’m definitely not a “natural,” but I have strong legs from running and balance from gymnastics, so I was picking it up (it took me longer to figure out how to get off the chair lift safely than to actually ski). But I knew that Rendezvous Mountain was incredibly vertical and one of the most difficult mountains in the country for beginners, so my confidence was next to nothing.
We landed in Jackson Hole (right on time) to mild weather and cloudy skies. I was disappointed that the clouds were blocking our views of the Tetons and really hoping that this would clear up soon. We got our bags and rental car (a huge Chevy Suburban) and headed for the Lazy Moose. Seeing the Lazy Moose was the entire reason for the trip, so I was anxious to get there and make sure we had made a good decision on the wedding location. We met our wedding planner, Kathi Michel in Wilson and made our way up the road. As we pulled into the driveway of the Lazy Moose, we could tell that it was going to be spectacular. It was a gorgeous log home, sitting up on a hill, overlooking the valley and the mountains. We crossed over Fish Creek on a little bridge and made our way past a greenhouse and gardens. Of course, everything was covered by 8 feet of snow, so we were imagining what the place would look like.
Upon walking inside the Lazy Moose, I knew immediately that we had made the right decision. The place was GORGEOUS! It had such a warm and cozy feeling. It had all the Western charm we were looking for, but was still elegant and sophisticated. The owners, Robin and Cherrie, were absolutely fantastic and made us feel right at home. I’m more excited than ever about the wedding! Here are some pictures.
After visiting the Lazy Moose, Kathi, Ryan and I headed into town to do our tasting with the caterer and cake company. We sampled 7 hors d’oeuvres and picked our 5 favorites. Then we tried a couple of the entrée options. Everything was absolutely fantastic! And then the best part – CAKE! Monica from Jackson Cake Company brought us the most fantastic cupcakes. They were moist, delicious and had the lightest, most perfect icing I’ve ever tasted. Yum.
Next stop was Teton Village for ski rentals. The entire village was covered in snow and twinkle lights and looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale. The village is modeled after a Swiss chalet ski village and was picture perfect. We managed to rent boots, skis and poles with little difficulty and then headed to Jackson Hole Resort Lodging to pick up the key to our townhouse. Jackson Hole Resort Lodging was so fantastic – they gave us a complimentary 3-bedroom townhouse for our visit, in the luxurious Moose Creek section of town. Our place was unbelievable, with a private hot tub, garage, full kitchen, balconies, fireplace and gorgeous furnishings. And the best part, in the morning, we put on our ski boots and the lift was right outside our front door!
Saturday morning was spent on the slopes. It was a crystal clear and sunny day. We caught the Moose Creek lift and had a couple small easy runs down to the Village to pick up our lift passes. Unfortunately, my boots were so unbelievably uncomfortable that I could barely make it down the mountain. On the verge of tears, we switched out my boots for a different pair and all was well again. Ryan spent the morning with me on the green slopes. It took a few runs for me to feel comfortable again, but by that time, it was time to meet Kathi and Shawn at the bottom of the gondola for our scouting trip up the mountain.
It was my brilliant idea to see if we could have our rehearsal dinner on the top of the mountain. Shawn, from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been working with us to make this possible. She’s been great about everything – being flexible with the menu, coming up with creative ideas, and working with us to make sure everything is perfect! We all boarded the gondola and took it to the base of the Headwall at 9,095 feet. Up there, they have a gourmet restaurant and a deli. Of course, the gourmet restaurant would be fantastic, but was WAY out of our price range. So Shawn suggested an outdoor Mountain-top BBQ outside the deli on the patio, overlooking the entire valley. Perfect!! We’ll have our guests ride the gondola up to the summit, then treat them to a BBQ buffet, with a bar and s’mores, followed by toasting and roasting. It’ll be such a great relaxing evening with our friends and family before the wedding.
Us at the top of the mountain.
Ryan skied down the mountain from the summit, and I took the gondola back down with Kathi and Shawn. We met at the bottom for our next run: my very first blue slope! At first I was doing really well. Not completely great, but confident enough that I wouldn’t die going down the mountain. That is, until Ryan accidentally took me down a black diamond slope. Yep, I was done. After a number of bad falls, backward somersaults, losing both skis, nearly breaking my arm and fighting back the tears I finally made it back to the blue slope. Needless to say that Ryan was in trouble. I sent him on his way to do the hard stuff himself, while I went back to the bunny slope to nurse my wounded pride and confidence. And although the bunny slopes helped, there’s nothing like being out-skied by a bunch of 4 year-olds to make you feel like such a loser. However, overall, it was a really fun ski adventure. That’s a hard mountain! I just hope that next time we do this, I’m a little better and can enjoy and appreciate it more.
The rest of our weekend was relaxing and enjoyable. We were absolutley exhausted, so we didn't do all that much. We had a wonderful dinner at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on Saturday night. We spent Sunday shopping in Jackson (Ryan had to hit the fly fishing shop) and driving around Teton National Park looking at the mountains and for wildlife. We ended up seeing a couple coyotes, a ton of elk, a deer and two moose. It was such a great trip; we were not ready to leave. Fortunately, we’ll be back soon! And who knows, maybe we’ll just pack our bags and move to the mountains one day!
Me with two moose in the background
Adios Jackson Hole!