By on March 25, 2015



Best Dressed: Blake Morley

My faith in Jackson Hole is restored. Voters got it so right with their choice for Blake Morley as Best Dressed.

On every given day Morley looks like he stepped right out of a GQ cover into a Blue Spruce delivery van. It’s fitting that the dapper 30-year-old works at a dry cleaner. He always looks like he’s wearing half the inventory, freshly starched and pressed. It is, however, a waste of high fashion that Morley spends his mornings hosting a radio show on iMix 92.3 (for which he won silver this year as Best DJ). Most listeners are denied the pleasure of seeing his snappy style while enjoying his snippy wit.

It’s not easy pulling off haute couture as a Jackson Hole man. Actually, it’s easier now than it ever has been with the popularity of the hipster beard and lumbersexual look – but Morley rocks a timeless elegance with effortless panache. Whether it’s a turned up collar, white tie and belt, or a smart sweater, the gold medal winner looks better than us. Always. – Jake Nichols


Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers


Best Dancer: Sarah Konrad

If she’s not floating on stage, you can find Konrad teaching at Dancers’ Workshop, where she learned her first dance steps 18 years ago. She loves the free flowing and imaginative nature of modern dance and the structure of pilates for strength training. The Jackson Hole native and University of Utah dance major has performed all over the world and worked with renowned choreographers such as David Dorfman, Jennifer Nugent and Deborah Hay. If there is a dance performance in Jackson Hole, chances are Konrad has performed in it.

Thirty-year-old Konrad mused: “I feel free and in the moment when I find myself improving with modern dance techniques.” – Julie Kling

Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers


Best Barber Shop: Whiskey Barbers

They’re cheating, really. It’s like bribing a kid with candy, but instead they’re bribing adults (loose interpretation of the word) with whiskey. But once inside, it’s clear that this barber shop is much more than its name implies. Sure, they have whiskey and they cut a mean dome, but the shop has taken on a much more important role in this town than simply doling out booze and manscaping.

Owners Dave Johnson (left) and W.D. Barry (right), have nurtured the heart and soul of a true barber shop and hip community crossroads. It’s a social hub in town, more so than any bar. The shop is, first and foremost, about storytelling, jokes and laughs. Many times, people pop in to chat for a bit without getting their hair cut. And with this colorful group of barbers, the conversation  runs the gamut, most examples of which are inappropriate for even this edgy, alternative publication.

It’s a scientifically proven fact that men who get their hair cut at The Whiskey Barber have a higher success rate with women, too. – Park Dunn-Morrison

Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers


Best Athlete Under 17: Daniel Tisi

Daniel Tisi’s road to becoming a professional skier truly exemplifies the word “athlete.” His hard work and dedication are uncharacteristic of a kid his age. That combined with his natural abilities on skis makes him the ultimate ski athlete.

One of Tisi’s former coaches, Noah Novotny, is humbled by the 16-year-old’s will and strength.

“He and I were in the same ski fit class at Wright Training last fall and he crushed it,” Novotny said. “He lifted more weight than I did and did more reps every single time.” Novotny also cited Tisi’s focused nature as catalyst for his already successful career.

Tisi’s family has supported him through his career, especially his brother Jackson, whose interest in filmmaking has helped Tisi release videos capturing his insane skiing. In Jackson’s most resent edit, Balance, Tisi talks about cutting his teeth as a skier in Grand Teton National Park. That foundation helped sculpt him into a great big mountain ripper — he uses the tricks and style he garnered in the park and takes it to cliffs and other terrain features on a bigger canvas.

Remember his name. This kid is going places. – Park Dunn-Morrison

Photo credit: Jackson Tisi

Photo: Jackson Tisi


Best Teacher: Kelly Kaiser

“What a fun honor to receive your award,” Kelly Kaiser said when we tipped her off to the news ahead of the Best of Jackson Hole party on Friday. “The Best of JH is a blast to read.”

The seventh-grade language arts instructor was quick to deflect any accolades, saying there are many teachers at the district who are equally deserving.

“I appreciate the award,” Kaiser said. “I am lucky enough to be a part of an accomplished and amazing school at Jackson Hole Middle School. I always tell my students that I want their brains to sweat. I want them to wrestle with real, complex topics that not only push them to become better readers and writers, but also to help them find ways to make meaningful contributions to society.”

Kaiser’s district homepage quote is one from Lemony Snicket’s Horseradish. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
Or a newspaper. – Jake Nichols

Photo credit: Kelly Kaiser

Photo: Kelly Kaiser


Best Liftee: Nelson Nolan at Jackson hole Mountain Resort

Most people don’t plan their day on the mountain based on where they’ll encounter the best liftee, but we recommend an extra lap on Sublette just to high-five Nelson Nolan.

A respectable bronze-place finisher for The Planet last year, the native Louisianan has officially taken the Readers’ Choice gold this year, illustrating his strong local appeal.

No matter who you are, this lanky guy with a mop of curly hair and a smile that takes up his whole face is the man you want to meet on the mountain. Even in poor snow conditions and this absurdly early spring, Nolan will be the friendliest face you see all day.

Even if you’re a new resident to Jackson, the name Nelson Nolan will probably ring a bell. He seems to have shared a drink and/or a laugh with myriad folks in the valley.

A true ski bum through and through, when he’s not lift-guiding, catch Neslon bartending at The Bird, where he’ll put on some sweet tunes for you and whip up a heady cocktail. – Natosha Hoduski


Best Yoga Teacher: Ariel Mann

If you want to know how many pressure points are in your feet or how much they sweat, ask Ariel Mann. She will teach you how to spread your toes and use your feet to find the balance you need to “be” rather than do yoga postures that will blow your mind. Her hot, vinyasa and Maui yoga classes are always challenging and fun. Don’t be intimidated. Mann will often tell you not to take yourself too seriously and make you laugh out loud. You may not be able to bend your head back to the floor when you are on your knees like she does, but she will inspire you to try. If nothing else, try her class for the chocolates she gives out at the end or the live music at her Inversion Yoga beach parties. Last year she started offering “Sole to Soul” retreats with her mother, Soul Reader and Planet JH columnist Carol Mann. – Julie Kling


Best Physician: Dr. Bruce Hayse

Dr. Bruce Hayse is an old-school country doctor. Hopefully he doesn’t take that the wrong way.

In a world thirsting for the latest and greatest in healthcare, Hayse is most likely to rely on proven methods and real doctoring, even if that means telling you to take an aspirin and suck it up. You’re going to get it straight from this doc.

Too many physicians today, especially in the Jackson Hole medical mecca, feel pressured to offer some sort of holistic-traditional mesh of a medical practice. If you are a new ager, try some tree bark and essence of spider venom, they might say. For the older sect, it’s Rx ‘til you’re numb – unlimited refills, no questions asked.

Hayse is less likely to submerge your ailments with over-prescribed antibiotics and more inclined to fix what’s actually wrong with you without sledgehammering you with the bill.

His office is a dump. His help is gruff. His wait time can be eternally long. So why does this guy win best doctor? He’s the prince of panacea. – Jake Nichols


Best Place to Buy Drugs: Stone Drug

Stone Drug may not offer the same products as the state of Colorado, but it is the best place in town to buy drugs of the legal persuasion. These guys know what they are doing — they’ve been druggin’ for more than 20 years.

Walk in and you’ll be greeted by a happy, knowledgeable staff ready to help with any of your needs or ailments, really; this store brims with an eclectic assortment of items. From old-school model rockets to hunting or fishing licenses and even risqué items (go in and see for yourself).

Why not buy a cast iron pan while you pick up your prescription?

The best part about this place: its well-protected location ensures it will not fall victim to most conceivable natural disasters. – Elizabeth Koutrelakos



Best Golf Course: Teton Pines

Wait a minute. Planet readers voted Teton Pines best golf course? For reals?

In a land known for its downhill runs, golf takes center stage June through September. Maybe it’s an indication of this newspaper’s clientele and their general lack of green when compared to, say, Wall Street Journal readers. But Teton Pines certainly lacks no green in its 18. Or water, for that matter.

Newer courses like Shooting Star, 3 Creek Ranch and Snake River Sporting Club all boast better reviews from, but the 28-year-old grand dame of the valley delivers all the challenge and spectacle a Jackson Hole course should serve up. The Arnold Palmer designed links are relatively affordable and play bigger than the listed 7,412 yards from the championship tees.

The staff is familiar and super chill. They make coming back easy when you’ve duffed more than a few into the sand and ponds. From the absurdly long 634-yard, par-five seventh to the vista grande sixteenth, the Pines packs presence and attitude. – Jake Nichols

Photo credit: Teton Pines

Photo: Teton Pines



Best Bartender: John-Mark Roufs

Haydens Post’s John-Mark Roufs has never poured me a drink, but I have been “served” by him. He’s never offered me a thing on ice, and on the ice he’s been just as stingy.

I know JM from his work between the pipes rather than behind the bar. Roufs might very well be a high-class bartender but he sure is one heck of a goaltender. Nothing gets past him.

In the locker room and around the rink he’s always been a great conversationalist. He listens. He has opinions. He’ll make you laugh. All strong qualities of a decent barkeep.

I’ve no doubt he’s able to recognize faces and remember drink orders. He has categorized probably ever skater in the valley – their tendencies, their dekes, their wrist shots and their backhands. In the net, he knows what you want before you do and takes it away. Behind the bar, I imagine he exhibits the same acumen, only Roufs giveth more than he taketh away. – Jake Nichols

Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers



Best Happy Hour & Best Bar: Local Restaurant & Bar

There’s good reason for this eatery’s name. Serving valley-raised meats and valley-brewed beers, Local embodies the tastes of Jackson Hole, made for locals, by locals supporting local companies. So it seems fitting that readers would select this community-conscious eatery for a couple Best of JH gold awards.

Commandeer a table with your group or saddle up at the bar among friendly faces to enjoy Local’s happy hour, featuring half-price drinks and wings. (Spicy or ginger soy? Yes and yes.)

Not into wings? Order a staff favorite, the charcuterie plate, comprised of local and imported meats and cheeses. From duck prosciutto and smoked trout to drunken cheddar and triple cream Brie, this mix-and-match small bites platter gets our vote for best dish on the bar menu.

But let’s be honest, why do people really go to happy hour? No matter your mood, Local has a drink for you, from a dizzying selection of beers on tap from near and afar to speciality cocktails. We enjoy the SPPD: Teton Vodka, Prosecco, strawberry puree, and St. Germaine, and The Cassandra: a heady elixir combining passion fruit and jalapeno agave. – Natosha Hoduski

Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers


Best Italian Restaurant: II Villaggio Osteria

As a food snob of Greek-Italian descent, I’m a bit wary of Italian places anywhere. However, Osteria is one place that beckons me for all occasions.

Among the intimate eatery’s offerings are a salumi bar, a wood stone pizza oven and a carefully selected list of Italian wines. Its menu, crafted with painstaking thought by head chef Eric Greenwood, has everything a foodie could want with a diverse list of hearty dishes and light appetizers. In addition to the handmade pizzas, Osteria boasts a variety of homemade pastas, seasonal salads and specialty meats and cheeses.

I recommend some of the more adventurous dishes on the menu. Roasted cauliflower is a unique and addicting go-to appetizer. The sweet flavors of currants and Peppadew peppers along with thin slices of world-class prosciutto are great accompaniments to the crisp piles of cauliflower. My favorite meal to go along with this appetizer is the fig and prosciutto campanelle. Served in a rich white wine cream sauce with a lemon twist, this panty melting pasta is a must. – Elizabeth Koutrelakos

Photo credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers



Best Shake-A-Day: Eleanor’s

Eleanor’s has amassed a substantial following in recent years. This could be thanks to the bar/eatery’s subdued atmosphere and awesome happy hour ($1.25 beers, anyone?), its nacho platter big enough to satiate four people or its under-the-radar wings. Oh, and don’t forget about its rave-tastic shot featuring Hpnotiq, Pop Rocks and a glow stick garnish.

But in a town filled with Shake-A-Days, what exactly makes Eleanor’s Shake-A-Day the best? They all seem pretty similar: pay a dollar; win some money. But what if “money” meant a pot just shy of $13,000? Eleanor’s donates 10 percent of its hefty pots to charity. Their go-to charity is the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, which provides funding for everything from protecting wildlife and feeding the hungry to counseling and community outreach for kids.

So, why not give it a whirl? Grab a drink, roll the dice, support a charity, maybe even win big. Come on guys, think of the children. – Natosha Hoduski

Photo Credit: Josh Myers

Photo: Josh Myers


Best Classical Musician: Byron Tomingas

As the Jackson Hole Hootenanny winds down each Monday night at Dornans, regulars scoot to the edge of their seats, anxiously waiting for Byron Tomingas to take the stage while Hoot newcomers receive a lesson via Professor Tomingas.

Whether playing classical ballads or flamenco jazz, Tomingas captivates his audience with exceptional skill and obvious passion for his craft.

A Jackson Hole native and classically trained virtuoso guitarist, Tomingas has the unique ability to seamlessly float from one genre to the next without missing a beat. When he’s not composing award-winning film scores, the Teton County Library staffer teaches guitar lessons to thousands of earnest students, inspiring the next generation of aspiring musicians. – Jenelle Johnson

Best Photographer: Drew Rush

You probably appreciate wildlife if you live in Jackson Hole, and you probably have an innate fear of large-toothed wild animals if you’re a functioning human being. So how exactly do you manage these two incompatible sentiments? You look at Drew Rush’s photography of course.

With an eye for the dramatic and color compositions that make you feel almost too close to danger, this wildlife and natural history photographer has crafted some absolutely captivating works of art. Drew’s photographs can transport you anywhere, from crisp, clear mornings on mountain peaks to right beneath the snapping jaws of a mountain lion.

This being Jackson Hole, Best Photographer is an incredibly competitive category, seeing as Teton County might have, on average, the highest number of professional and amateur photographers in the world. But The Planet’s readers have spoken: Drew Rush is at the forefront of this field, capturing unique, nearly hypnotic shots that capture many of the reasons we’ve chosen to call the valley home. View some of his work on National Geographic’s website or at – Natosha Hoduski

Best Actor: Andrew Munz

Every community needs an Andrew Munz. He’s a live wire, a quick-witted tempestuous, a showboat — in a good way.

A good actor removes any barriers between his or her character and the audience. A great actor plays to the individual soul. Whether you watch Munz deliver the goods onstage with improvisational precision as a Laff Staff member or in a scripted role for Off Square Theatre, or read his treatise of “Blade of the Outlaw,” or his latest column for this paper – what you get is pure ratskeller writer.

Munz wears his life story on his sleeve. He’s always on even when he’s off. Dynamically motley and impossibly three-dimensional, Munz creates characters out of thin air because he is a character. He studies life in all its complexities while living life in every shade.

Chat with him at the library or when you see him out on the town. You’ll be richer for it. See him trod the boards and you’ll be moved to ovation. Bravo, schauspieler, bravo. – Jake Nichols

Photo credit: Andrew Munz

Photo: Andrew Munz

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