Five Magical Winter Traditions in Jackson Hole

Though Jackson Hole brims with mountain-town charm in every season, in winter it is transformed into an enchanting wonderland. Snowflakes swirl in mid-air as the landscape glistens in a pristine frosting of white, and tree branches sparkle with ice crystals setting the scene aglow in winter magic. With three major ski resorts in the region, skiing tops everyone’s list as the go-to snow sport, but there is an array of seasonal activities in Jackson that are sure to become part of your family’s wintertime traditions. From strolling through Jackson’s historic Town Square on a dusky evening under an illuminated canopy of twinkling lights to wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and adventuring in a horse-drawn sleigh through the National Elk Refuge, the wonder of winter in Jackson is idyllic. Here are some of the very best, annual activities and experiences that will ensure this special time of year is full of joy.

Santa on the Square

As an added bonus, while strolling through Jackson’s picturesque Town Square, be sure to stop in with your children and pay a visit to the season’s favorite man himself — the one-and-only, white-bearded fellow full of jolly. The Stage Stop Building on Broadway becomes Santa’s home for one special week right before Christmas when he takes time out from toy making from 5 to 7 nightly to listen to the whispers and wishes of the little ones under the twinkle of JH Winter Wonderland’s holiday lights.


JH Winter Wonderland on the Town Square

Imagine ice skaters gliding gracefully across a frozen pond in the shadow of the town ski hill, swirling in circles to festive music as smiling friends watch nearby with a cup of hot cocoa or spiced cider in hand. This might seem like a scene from a fairytale, but in downtown Jackson, the Town Square is transformed into a wonderland every winter, replete with an outdoor skating pond. Open daily, the winter-long ice rink near the famous elk antler arches provides an enchanting welcome for skaters of all ages.

Ice skating

Glow Nights in Teton Village

Winter nights are long in Jackson, as we are nearly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. The early darkness draws us to the warm light of luminarias, hearths, and holiday light displays after a day spent on the ski slopes. It is our way of embracing the long winter nights. One beautiful celebration of light is a dazzling exhibit at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the Teton Village Commons. Produced by Jackson Hole Public Art, and showcasing Pneuhaus this 2324 season, the spectacular scene is slated to be unveiled on December 22nd, the day after the winter solstice, and will run through February 4th. This inflatable and illuminated installation will envelop the snow castle in the commons creating a spectacular, giant snow-globe effect.

fireworks over jackson wyoming

New Year’s Eve Light Parades and Fireworks

One of the oldest and most enduring rituals is gathering outdoors, après ski on the last day of the year with local friends and visitors. As the sky turns to a dark, inky blue shortly after sunset at the bases of Teton Village and Snow King Mountain, the air is filled with anticipation. Little by little, crowds gather to watch the serpentine spectacle created by skiers carrying torchlights and glow sticks down the slopes. Following the luminescent parades the fun keeps on going as onlookers are treated to impressive firework displays to celebrate the start of a new year.

Dog Sled Race

Annual Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race

The ceremonial start of the Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, a stage-format race that stops in a different town each night, takes place right in downtown Jackson. The main street is transformed into a race course for the dog teams, and at the starting line, the huskies’ enthusiasm is palpable. Howling and jumping, they signal they are ready to go! The crowd counts down, and then, one team at a time, they’re off — pulling their sleds right down Broadway! It is as close to Anchorage and the Iditarod’s ceremonial start as we can get here in the lower 48 and provides for a once-in-a-lifetime, close-up encounter with champion dog teams and renowned mushers. The ceremonial start is a family-friendly festival where everyone gathers to cheer on the teams. This year’s opening ceremonies begin at 5:00 p.m. on January 26th, 2024 and include booths, giveaways, hot cocoa, and a laser light show ahead of the race start. This sled dog race is a special way to share the winter with the snow dogs that are born to run.

Let Us Plan Your 
Perfect Trip

There is so much to do in Jackson Hole. Rush downriver in a kayak. Ride horseback through a sea of golden grass. Cast a line into water clear as the sky, while the fish flash by like stars. There’s hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and of course, skiing. The Clear Creek Group affiliates with the best service providers in the area, people as passionate as we are about providing great experiences. We can arrange anything imaginable, from backcountry pack trips and heli-skiing to the selection of a personal chef.

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