Wyoming Ski Season Off To Slow, Steady Start

It’s been a slower start so far to the winter season in Wyoming than last winter, but that doesn’t mean there won't be great skiing this Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.

Leo Wolfson

November 20, 20233 min read

The first lift of skiers is welcomed at the top of the run at Grand Targhee last weekend.
The first lift of skiers is welcomed at the top of the run at Grand Targhee last weekend. (Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily)

It’s been a tale of two ski seasons so far this winter in Wyoming.

The winter season in Wyoming has started off with more of a whimper than a bang after a historic snow season in 2022-2023. But it’s still very early and conditions are forecasted to turn more wintry this week.

What better way to work off those Thanksgiving carbs than with a little skiing?

Grand Targhee Resort became the first Wyoming ski area to open when it started turning its lifts on Friday.

The mountain has two lifts and three trails open with a 23-inch base, reporting 62 inches of snow so far this season. On Monday, the ski area reported another 4 more inches of snow overnight.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has received a similar amount of snow this season and will open Friday.

On Dec. 9, Jackson will host a Ski in Jeans Day, where the mountain will attempt to break the world record for the most people skiing and riding in jeans. A New Zealand ski resort holds the current record of 102 skiers on the slopes wearing denim.

Jackson Hole was offering $25 lift tickets to help draw in denim-clad participants, but those substantially reduced rates are already sold out.

The mountain is coming off a 595-inch season that broke its all-time snowfall record for one season.

It’s worth noting that many record-breaking and above-average seasons have started out slowly in the past. Also, contrary to popular belief, historic snow seasons don’t typically occur repeatedly.

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Smaller WYO Ski Areas

Many of Wyoming’s ski areas are smaller, mom-and-pop-type ventures. What these hills may lack in sheer vertical feet or large acreage they easily make up for with friendly customer service, lower prices and fewer crowds.

Snowy Range Ski Area outside Laramie will open Dec. 1. The mountain boasts 250 inches of snow a year on average and has already received a substantial amount of early snowfall. On Sunday and Monday, the Snowy Range Mountains outside the ski area got about a foot of snow.

Sleeping Giant Ski Area outside Cody is the sixth oldest in the nation, founded in 1936. The mountain boasts stunning views of the Absaroka Mountains and the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park. The mountain hasn’t shied away from modernizing in recent years, adding night skiing and snowmaking.

Sleeping Giant will open Dec. 2 with a number of opening day festivities, including $25 lift tickets and free night skiing. Also, the mayors of Cody and Powell will take each other on in a night ski race, with the winner getting to hand out free lift tickets to their community.

Antelope Butte Ski Area outside Greybull and Sheridan is one of the highest ski areas in Wyoming at 9,935 feet just at the base. The nonprofit ski mountain will open Dec. 15.

Hogadon Ski Area outside Casper, White Pine Ski Area outside Pinedale, Pine Creek Ski Resort outside of Cokeville and Meadowlark Ski Lodge outside Ten Sleep are all planning to open soon.

In Colorado, all of the major ski areas are open, including Breckenridge, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain.

Backcountry Already Kicking

For those who don’t mind working a little for their turns, there are already backcountry ski opportunities available in the Snowy Range and certain parts of the Teton Mountains outside Jackson.

Down in northern Colorado, sections of Cameron Pass outside Fort Collins also are skiable.

Anyone traveling in the backcountry should not do so alone and should always carry a beacon, probe and shovel at all times.

View from the top of a pristine base of snow for backcountry skiing in the Snowy Range Mountains near Laramie this past weekend.
View from the top of a pristine base of snow for backcountry skiing in the Snowy Range Mountains near Laramie this past weekend. (Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily)

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter