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Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

London
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86 posts
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Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

My husband and I are considering coming to Jackson Hole to ski in February. We have free air tickets to Las Vegas, and are thinking about driving to Jackson Hole (10 hour drive). Is this feasible, or are mountain roads often shut during the winter season? (I know the Utah resorts are closer, but my husband really wants to ski Jackson - I also know we could fly into Jackson, but we're trying to keep costs down).

Wyoming & Sanibel
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1. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

Not sure where you came up with 10 hour drive, more like 11 1/4 hours, and that's without stops. Certainly February is the best month for great skiing, but that also makes it the most dangerous/difficult for driving. How much experience do you have driving in snow, wind, and ice?

The roads and passes certainly can shut down anytime in the winter months. Because a lot of the people who work in Jackson live in Alpine, WY or in Idaho, they work very hard to keep the roads into Jackson open in the winter months (doesn't mean they don't close, but they work hard to get them re-opened quickly). The greater risk for you is the roads are open but you are dealing with packed snow, ground blizzards, white-out conditions, ice and strong winds. I've been on many an "open" road that should have been closed, that I wish was closed - sometimes it's just that the weather changes so quickly and the distances are so far, the highway folks can't get everything done at once.

How long do you have for this trip? How much buffer time do you have built in, that if a storm blows in, would you have time to sit it out (1 to 2 extra days)? I would think this is more of a problem driving back to Vegas to catch your return flight home. I wouldn't even consider your plan, unless you have enough time on each side to wait out weather. Some years, you would be fine, in others, you could easily spend extra days, both getting to and getting from Jackson, waiting out very dangerous storms.

Wyoming & Sanibel
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2. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

I'd like to bump this to see if there is any other feedback for you. Hate to have you make a major decison just based on my reaction.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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3. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

Bumping is good.

Why spend your time in at least one incredibly long day, probably more like 2, given distance, time, weather and road conditions, much less fewer daylight hours, driving into uncertainty?

And if return Las Vegas, double that?

Why not make life (and safety) easier and just fly into SLC and ski several of the wonderful Utah areas, save Jackson for another trip by flying into Jackson? Or, simply fly into Jackson?

Save your tickets for LV and the southern Utah Grand Circle national parks in season.

Edited: 28 September 2010, 16:16
Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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4. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

BTW, for contrast to your LV/Jackson Hole plan, and as an example, in snow-free months, driving from Seattle to Yellowstone National Park - trip distance, 800 miles, driving time, 12 hours. And this with more daylight hours, good roads, no snow, etc. I spend one night on the road...

London
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5. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

Thanks for the comments guys. Hubby is an airline pilot and so has the free flights to LV (or a couple of west coast cities). We skiied in Telluride a few years back, and loved the fact that it was out of the way, and no day trippers. He's really keen to ski Jackson, so we were trying to see if it was feasible. We'll have a good think about it. Unfortunately his airline doesn't fly to Salt Lake City!

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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6. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

Does it fly into Seattle or Vancouver, BC? I'm thinking of Whistler, primarily.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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7. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

While it doesn't have the panache of Jackson or the reputation of the other Utah resorts you might look into Brian Head Resort just north of Cedar City. There are some nice places to stay and lots of great snow.

http://www.brianhead.com/

For what its worth if you are really wanting to ski Jackson I would take the free flight to LV and then spend the money for the short flight to Jackson. There is no way I would drive that up and back during February when I can't work around the weather. You may have great roads, but the chances that you would also run into a storm are huge. And then you'd be stuck either driving through treacherous conditions or stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a closed road. Not worth the chance to me.

8. Re: Driving to Jackson Hole from Las Vegas?

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