How Well Do You Know Jackson Hole?
Unlike my colleagues, I am not a “native” Wyomingite. I moved to Jackson Hole in 2019 and the locals have been indoctrinating me into the culture of the valley, Teton County and the “Equality State” since arriving. I will share with you some of the “inside baseball”, but please don’t tell any locals!
Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, drives our summer traffic. Jackson Hole and its surrounding areas have an amazing combination of physical beauty, outdoor activities and myriad wildlife species. JAC, the only commercial airport located entirely inside a National Park, is your port of entry. The surrounding area will seem sparse; 97% of the land in Teton County is public or federally-owned. Your first sight as you get off the plane will be the Grand Teton, an infamous 13,776 feet jagged, snow-capped summit.
So what is Jackson “Hole”? It’s an area, not a town. The main town is Jackson; Jackson Hole is made up of 7 towns: Jackson, Wilson, Teton Village, Moran Junction, Hoback, Moose and Kelly. Davy Jackson trapped beavers in the area and was one of the first European Americans to live in the valley year-round - the town was later named after him in 1893. Mountain men during the early 1800’s used the term “hole” to describe large mountain valleys like the valley here in between the Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range. It’s pronounced ‘grow-vaunt’. Dead ringer that you’re not from here if you say ‘gross – ven – tray’.
Women should feel quite comfortable here, we are the “Equality State”. In 1869, 51 years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Wyoming became the first government in the world to allow women to vote. The first all-female city council was elected here in Jackson in 1920; Nellie Tayloe Ross continued to pave the way and became the first female governor in America in 1924. Despite all these progressive accomplishments, there remains an archaic law on the books that makes it illegal for women to stand within five feet of a bar while drinking! (don’t worry, it’s not enforced)
I think it will take years until I’m not gobsmacked of all the wildlife, there are over 60 species of mammals and 100 species of birds in the Jackson Hole area. Elk, moose, bison, deer, antelope, mountain lions, grizzly and black bears and coyotes are a common, and amazing, sight. These pictures were literally taken a few days apart in the same spot near our home. It’s simply amazing.
Speaking of wildlife - are Jackalopes real? No! The Wyoming-native mythical mixture of a jackrabbit with antelope horns was created by Douglas Herrick and his brother in the 1930’s. They used their hunting and taxidermy skills to graft the antlers on to a jackrabbit and sold their tourist-fooling invention to a local hotel in Douglas, WY.
Corbet’s Couloir (pronounced ‘cool – are’) is the infamous drop-in at the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, referred to locally as “the Mountain”. It’s not for the faint of heart; the Mountain has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski resort in the United States, 4,139 feet of elevation from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. The King and Queens of Corbet’s started in 2018 and has quickly become a massively popular event – check it out - https://www.jacksonhole.com/kings-queens-corbets.html.
No stop in Jackson Hole would be complete without a visit to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, a local institution since 1937. If your goal is to dance with a cowboy stopping by for a beer after the rodeo (yes, this does happen!), you’ll probably need some help with the local language. “Greenies” are people from Colorado, “buckle bunnies” are ladies that like the cowboys, a “gully washer” is heavy rain and a “biscuit” is the horn handle on a saddle. So if a cowboy asks you, “are you just a buckle bunny greenie looking to grab on to my biscuit and go for a ride, gully washer or shine?”, you’ll now know how to answer!
It’s been an exciting 12 months here in Jackson Hole. My family has fully acclimated and is enjoying everything the valley has to offer. We hope that you make it to town and visit the Two Ocean Trust team amongst the beautiful backdrop of Jackson Hole.
Two Ocean Trust is a Wyoming chartered trust company based in Jackson Hole. We provide investment and trust services to high net worth individuals, family offices, and investment advisors who seek the benefits of Wyoming's favorable trust laws, digital asset laws, privacy, and low tax rates.