When Jackson Hole Resort was founded 50 years ago, it was a Wild West outpost for the country's best skiers, who dropped onto the 50-degree steeps with abandon. "All that powder and craggy terrain is a world of vertical treasure," says Todd Jones, co-founder of the Jackson Hole–based ski-film company Teton Gravity Research. There was just one problem: access. It took so long to get there, you may as well have traveled by mule train. That's no longer an issue: There are now direct flights from 13 major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago. And since the airport is only 25 minutes from the resort, it's now one of the easiest mountains to reach in the U.S. That's not all that's changed. "Jackson Hole has become increasingly inclusive," says Gavin Fine, a local restaurateur. "They've added intermediate terrain, nationally acclaimed restaurants, and new hotels." This year, the resort is debuting a new Teton lift, part of its 50th anniversary upgrades. "It accesses the most consistent and steep fall-lines on the mountain," says Tommy Moe, the former Olympic gold medalist and a Jackson Hole local.
Where to Stay: Drop your bags at the Hotel Terra, a western-chic lodge (with a spa) that's in the heart of the action. In the morning, head to Nora's Fish Creek Inn for a breakfast burrito.
Inside Tip: Pay the extra to book a guide from the resort. "You get to be on the early tram, so you can ski the mountain before anybody else," says Moe. "It allows you to cut the lines, and the guides can take you outside the gates into the side country, which doubles the size of the ski area."