GET OUT: King keeps it simple and light

By on January 20, 2015
Introducing skiers and snowboarders to its bright new lights, Snow King recently hosted a free night of skiing; headlamps are no longer necessary. PHOTO: ELIZABETH KOUTRELAKOS

Introducing skiers and snowboarders to its bright new lights, Snow King recently hosted a free night of skiing; headlamps are no longer necessary. PHOTO: ELIZABETH KOUTRELAKOS

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Snow King Resort had been part of this town for decades before I was even conceived. Its prime location in the town of Jackson allows visitors and residents to enjoy the various exercise opportunities this 1,500-vertical-foot hill has to offer.

On family vacations to Jackson, I remember my father dropping my sister and I off at the “The King.” Together, we were unstoppable. For my parents, it was a relief to have such a short drive, cheap lift tickets and easy disposal of kids. For us, Snow King meant freedom. We could ski all day or sneak off to the candy store and gorge ourselves on sugar-filled delicacies of our choosing.

As a 10-year-old, my memories of Snow King often entailed chest deep powder and wading through the fluff to find my  sister’s skis. It was so fun we had to be careful not to laugh too hard, as my older sister was known for a tendency to pee her pants from time to time.

The best part about the Town Hill is that it hasn’t really changed much. I still go there on days when I want to avoid the crowds and enjoy life. I can choose to buy an affordable lift ticket for a couple of hours or hike up when I am feeling the need for fresh air. The friendly staff always smiles and asks me how life is going. Between atmosphere and terrain choice, this place feels like the best option for general ease and life flow.

Snow tubing may be one of my most favorite activities at the King. To some, this may sound boring or even pointless. Please do not judge my love for this fantastic sport until you try it. I like to think of myself as an adult now, but I usually connect with my inner child after burning a few laps in the tube park.

The people that run the tube park are experts in their field. They are knowledgeable about straight pushes, spins, or other variations that may increase joy and laughter in the tubing human.  Often around closing time, the staff gives me a heads-up so I can mentally prepare to wean myself off the snow tubes.

Last Friday evening, Snow King hosted a free ski day. The town turned out to enjoy late night powder under the new lights, courtesy of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. I had such a good time talking to old friends that I barely noticed the rickety old chair lift stop numerous times on the way up the hill.

Upon my arrival at the top, my excitement was almost uncontainable. At 5:17 p.m., I strapped in and had a most glorious trackless run in the woods. There are very few resorts in the world that offer such great conditions well into the evening.

After a few more laps, darkness came and I decided to ski a groomer under the lights. For the first time in my memory, I could see well enough to not worry about running into anything. In past years I always brought my own headlamp to get a safer perspective on the snow situation, so the new lights are definitely a plus.

After an hour, I worked up quite the appetite and stopped by Kim’s Corner for some Korean delights. Unlike most ski resort food, this place offers a wide array of homemade, local and healthy options. The vegetable dumplings were out of this world.

I took a few more runs until the lifts closed, as the last skiers made their way down the slopes and the lights started going off. It was such a good night, I did not want it to end. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, at least momentarily. I basked in the comfort of knowing Snow King will be open another day (barring Mondays).

The future of Snow King is unknown. The only thing I do know is that the current state of this ski resort brings joy to my life. The old school feel will always bring me back to my childhood days when life was simple. In the age of new projects and rebuilding, I hope that Snow King’s imminent changes will still echo with the same simplicity that caused me to fall in love with the place.

Snow King Mountain is open for skiing: Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and tubing: Tuesday-Sunday, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

About Elizabeth Koutrelakos

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