It isn’t every day that workers at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort get applause for their work. But then, a new Aerial Tram at isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence.
In late October, spectators gathered at the resort and clapped as crews placed the first of two bright-red Tram cars from Switzerland onto their track cables. Seeing the cars put into place was like watching the curtain lift at the theater, although in this case the performance is to start December 20, when the Aerial Tram will begin carrying skiers and snowboarders up Rendezvous Mountain. For the legions of people who are passionate about this particular ski hill, it will be as though Christmas arrived five days early.
Anyone who has skied at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort any time from the 1960s to more recent years will find the sight of the little red boxes moving along their cable to be a familiar sight. The Tram cars are red, like their iconic predecessor, which shuttled skiers up the mountain for 40 years before being retired. But the new tram will be bigger and faster, whisking 100 passengers at a time to their starting point for their adventures in about nine minutes.
Change is afoot at Teton Village as a whole. The Village has kept hold of its classic attractions, like the Mangy Moose Saloon, while adding new ones like Hotel Terra, a boutique property that’s sleek, upscale and eco-friendly. Some changes at the Village are subtle, like the acoustical upgrades at Walk Festival Hall, home to the Grand Teton Music Festival. Other changes are more dramatic, a case in point being the new Shooting Star™ golf course.
Teton Village has become famous for its resort offerings. But it has become viewed more and more in recent years a great place to live, whether year round or on a part-time basis. The new hotels, for example, offer condo ownership opportunities in addition to options for out-of-towners to stay in style and comfort when they come to Jackson Hole. With the opening of the Four Seasons Resort, Teton Village acquired a “grande dame” hotel as well as a new group of slopeside luxury residences. In addition to Hotel Terra, there’s also Teton Mountain Lodge and others are coming, including the second phase of Hotel Terra.
Another new arrival in Teton Village is the newly completed Timbers, a group of three- and four-bedroom homes in Granite Ridge. Designed by John Carney, they average 3,300 square feet, with vaulted ceilings, gourmet kitchens, stone fireplaces and private Jacuzzi decks. Elsewhere in the village, the condos along McCollister Drive and Rachel Way, though not exactly new, are newly interesting to the real estate market. With upgrades and improvements the units, which like the Timbers, are zoned for short-term rentals, creating an attractive opportunity for investors who would like to generate some revenue from their properties.
As for Shooting Star™, it’s easy at this time of year for Nordic skiers to look out at the snow covered rolling terrain of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course and fantasize about streaking along a freshly groomed track. The golf course will, in fact, be a Nordic ski center, but its big unveiling will be next summer, when the golfers who have been watching the new facility take shape can finally walk out onto those greens and play a few rounds.
Construction is well underway on the Shooting Star™ club house, which will feature spa and fitness facilities, as well as a restaurant. The residential portion of Shooting Star™ includes cabins by architect Paul Bertelli of JLF Associates, featuring reclaimed materials and old world craftsmanship, plus spectacular views of the Tetons and the golf course.
Not everything planned for Teton Village is on such a grand scale, but little things make a difference. The pond behind Crystal Springs Lodge will eventually be replaced by a group of smaller water features and landscaping better suited for functions or for just relaxing. An 812-space, paved parking lot was just approved by the Teton County Board of Commissioners to be built between Granite Loop Road and Highway 390. It’s possible that someday there will be an automated “lift” that will whisk skiers and snowboarders from the lot to the clock tower so they can begin their day on the slopes. There’s no doubt that the opening of the new Arial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the biggest story for winter 2008-09 at Teton Village. But as is always the case with news, some of the other stories are pretty interesting, too. For first timers and veterans, Teton Village is worth exploring this winter.
For more information on Teton Village or Jackson Hole please feel free to email or call the Jackson Hole Experts – Christy and Garth Gillespie.