Significant Dates in the History of Jackson Hole
1806 -- John Colter was released from the Lewis & Clark expedition to trap furs on the Yellowstone and Upper Missouri rivers where he became the first known person of European decent to enter Jackson Hole. On his return, he joined the Manuel Lisa fur trading party of St. Louis. They sent him into Jackson Hole to negotiate trades with the local Indians. There are 2 runs at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort named after John called North and South Colter ridge.
1806 -- John Hoback, also with Lewis & Clark, toured the area alone in the winter of 1806.
1811 – Wilson Price Hunt named the Hoback River after his guide, John Hoback, who led him down this tributary to the Snake River into Jackson Hole. There is also a popular section of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort named after John Hoback.
1820s – French-Canadian fur trappers entered the region around 1920 and named the soaring mountain peaks “Let Trois Tetons” (The Three Breasts). Today, these peaks are called Grand Teton (13,770 feet), Middle Teton, and South Teton. For three decades between 1810 and 1840, this area was a crossroads for the six main trapper trails that converged in Jackson Hole.
1829 -- Jackson Hole, originally called Jackson's Hole, was named after David E. Jackson, a beaver trapper, by his partner Bill Sublette. Jackson Hole was Jackson's favorite trapping ground.
1832 -- Milton Sublette, Bill Sublette’s brother, led a party of trappers out of the Pierre's Hole, located on the western side of the Tetons. On July 18, they were attacked by the Gros Ventre Indians leading to many casualties on both sides and forcing Sublette’s party to retreat. There is a quad chair at JHMR named after Bill and Milton Sublette.
1840 – The fur trade era ended with the last trade rendezvous held on the Green River. The beaver supply was exhausted by the two major fur companies, The American Fur Company and The Rocky Mountain Fur Company and beaver felt top hats were replaced by silk hats.
1860 -- Jim Bridger, a well known explorer, guided Captain William F. Raynolds, of the Army's Topographical Engineers, into Jackson Hole. Raynolds' expedition crossed the Wind River Range via Union Pass (named by Raynolds) and followed the Gros Ventre River into Jackson Hole. The national forest that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located on is named after Jim Bridger, as well as the JHMR gondola and base lodge near the gondola.
1869 -- Wyoming's government became the first in world history to allow women to vote (51 years before the U.S. Constitutional amendment).
1871 - 1878 -- Ferdinand Vandiver Hayden led numerous U.S. Geological Survey expeditions into the Rocky Mountain West, known as the famous Hayden Expeditions.
1872 -- Hayden and his geologist, Frank H. Bradley, were guided into Jackson Hole from Yellowstone by hunter and trapper, Beaver Dick Leigh. Two members of this group claimed that they reached the summit of the Grand Teton but left no evidence there. The 1872 expedition recorded many names of Jackson Hole's land features. Two glacial lakes were named for Bradley and his assistant, Rush Taggart, Leigh Lake for the guide, and Jenny Lake for his Shoshoni wife. Coulter Creek was named after the expedition's botanist, Mount Leidy after the paleontologist, and Mount Moran for the artist, whose landscape paintings - along with William Henry Jackson's photographs - were influential in making Yellowstone the world's first national park. Bradley tried to name The Grand after Dr. Hayden, but he would not accept this honor and insisted that it be called the Grand Teton. There are also a few sections of JHMR named after the artist - a run named Moran, Moran Face, and Moran Woods.
1872 -- Yellowstone was declared a National Park by president Ulysses Grant, 18 years before Wyoming became a state.
1879 -- A forest fire turned Snow King into a prime skiing spot for locals.
1880s -- Settlers started to arrive and settle in Jackson, Kelly, Wilson, Moran and other towns surrounding Jackson Hole.
1880s -- International Federation of Skiing (FIS) started in Sweden.
1883 -- William “Buffalo Bill” Cody organized “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”, a circus-like show that toured annually, celebrating the western lifestyle. He later became famous for putting these shows on all over the country as well as in Europe for the next 30 years. Cody was influential in helping settle Wyoming. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Cody Bowl and Cody Peak are named after William Cody. There is also a building named in his honor, the Cody House.
1890 -- Wyoming became a state and was dubbed "The Cowboy State."
1897 -- The town-site of Jackson was laid out in a location central to many of the ranches in the valley. Some of the buildings surrounding the Town Square were the first stores here, and the streets to the south contain houses that have been here since the early days.
1898 -- William O. Owen was credited with the first ascent of the Grand Teton.
1899 -- First standard topographical map of the Tetons was published.
1920 -- An all-woman council was elected in Jackson, including a female mayor, giving Wyoming its nickname, the "Equality State."
1925 -- Mike O'Neil was among the first skier in the valley to use two poles and make turns. At the time, people were only using one and placing it between their legs to slow down.
1927 -- Mount Owen was named after the surveyor/mountain climber that was credited as the first to ascend the Grand Teton.
1929 -- Grand Teton National Park was established.
Early Skiing in Jackson Hole
1930s -- Banty Bowlsby and the Hicks brothers - Sam, Ed, and Joe - were known as the "Hoback Boys". They were superb racers and fearless jumpers and put together a ski "circus" which included jumping through rings of fire and other amazing feats. At the time, they had homemade skis with no ankle support and single poles eight feet long! Banty went on to replace the base of skis with melted down phonograph records, the only material of the sort available to him.
1930s -- Teton Ski Club built lifts and cleared runs in Moose Creek, north of Victor, Idaho. Later, rope tows were installed on Signal Mountain, Leek's Canyon, Two Ocean Mountain, Angle Mountain, a hill near Catholic Bay on Jackson Lake, and Huckelburry Ridge on the Moose-Wilson Road.
1931 or 1932 -- Fred Brown (16) and the chief park ranger, Allen Hanks, were the first to ski into Grand Teton National Park.
1932 -- John Wayne's first speaking part was in "The Big Trail," filmed in Jackson Hole. It also is presumed to be the first time he rode a horse! Over 15 feature films have been made on location in Jackson Hole including: "Shane", "Spencer's Mountain", "Any Which Way You Can", and "Rocky IV".
1935 -- Paul Petzoldt, his brother Curly, and Fred Brown enjoyed the first known decent of Rendezvous Mountain which would later become Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
1936 -- Betty Woolsy, Olympic ski team member, came to Jackson Hole to train.
1937 -- Fritz Brown wrote a weekly column in the Jackson Hole Courier which addressed skiing technique and equipment.
1937 -- Fred Brown, president of the Ski Club, helped form Jackson Hole Ski Association.
1937 -- The first race was held on Snow King where skiers raced down a hiking trail that was cut by the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
1937 -- The Dartmouth Ski Team stopped at Fred Brown's ranch on their way to a race at Sun Valley. They demonstrated the latest ski techniques, the use of two poles, and fixed heel binding to more than 200 spectators on Telemark Bowl near Teton Pass.
1939 -- Snow King opened as a ski area with a rope tow, called the Old Man Flat Rope Tow.
1939 -- Jackson Hole Ski Club hosted the first Tri-State ski meet including skiers from Alta, Utah and Sun Valley, Idaho.
1942 -- Paul McCollister, a 27 year-old radio advertising salesman, set out on a fortuitous elk hunting trip to Jackson Hole.
1945 -- The Jackson Hole Winter Sports Association was formed in response to post WWII ski popularity explosion due to the 10th Mountain Division.
1946 -- The first chair lift in Wyoming was installed on Snow King by Neil Rafferty. The wheels of an Army pick up truck drove the ropes. Paul Petzoldt wanted to create a rival ski area on his cherished Rendezvous Mountain, but was unable to purchase the Crystal Springs Ranch at the base of the mountain.
1947 -- McCollister could not stay away from Jackson Hole, returning to fish on the Snake River and in Yellowstone National Park.
1950 – John D. Rockefeller purchased and then donated a great deal of land to expand Grand Teton National Park.
1952 -- McCollister purchased 21 acres above Antelope Flats and began spending his summers in the valley.
1952 -- McCollister started skiing at a little ski resort in the foothills of the Sierras, which boasted a 500 foot vertical rise. He became hooked on skiing.
1953 -- The Ski Club built the "ski cabin," which is still standing northeast of Jackson Peak. The cabin was designed to support extended journeys into the backcountry.
1955 -- The world's longest running theatrical "Shoot-Out" began. It is held six nights a week from May-September on the Jackson Town Square.
Jackson Hole Ski Corporation
1956 -- After attending the Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy and spending nearly a month skiing Europe's famous resorts, Paul McCollister decided to sell his ties in California and retire to Jackson Hole.
1957 -- The McCollisters bought a 390 acre cattle ranch at the base of Shadow Mountain, where Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis is now located. This is where he later retired at age 41.
1959 -- Paul McCollister, the president of the Jackson Hole Ski Club, became chairman of the Jackson Hole Corporation, a local group that was researching ski area development.
1960 -- Barry Corbet accompanied Paul McCollister on his first decent from the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. On their way up, Berry looking into what is now known as the infamous Corbet’s Couloir and stated, “someday, someone will ski that -- it will be a run.” While Barry was not the first person to ski the couloir, he is credited with its name. Ski Patrolman Lonnie Ball is accredited with the first plunge into Corbet's Couloir after he was left dangling when a cornice broke off at the top. Barry did ski his namesake, from the top, a year or two later. Premier American racer Buddy Werner accompanied Paul in mapping new runs. The long and wide run on Apres Vous Mountain is named after Buddy Werner, who McCollister considered for head of the new ski school until an avalanche claimed Buddy's life.
1961 -- McCollister began to purchase land at the bottom of Rendezvous Mountain. He paid roughly $1,355 an acre.
1962 -- McCollister hired Colorado ski area consultant Willy Schaeffler to asses the potential avalanche dangers of Rendezvous Mountain.
1963 -- McCollister formed the Jackson Hole Ski Corporation after a detailed study confirms Rendezvous Mountain as a prime location for a ski area. His partners included Alex Morley, a successful general contractor from Cheyenne, and Gordon Graham, a former business associate from California.
1964 -- Construction of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort commenced in the spring, including the original aerial tram.
1965 -- Jackson Hole Ski Corporation opened Apres Vous Mountain to the public.
1965 -- Lienz, Austria is dedicated as Jackson Hole's sister city.
1966 -- The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram started taking people to the top of Rendezvous Mountain for skiing. The original Tram held 52 people and took 10.5 minutes to reach the summit at 10,450 feet.
1966 -- McCollister wanted a world-class skier to head the ski school and signed Pepi Stiegler, 1964 slalom gold medal winner, as ski school director of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Pepi carved out his own run on the edge of Cheyenne Bowl, called Pepi's Run.
1966 -- Patrolman Dick Porter survived a 55-minute burial from and avalanche in the steep gully that would later be named Dick's Ditch.
1967 -- Jackson Hole hosted the final international race of the season, dubbed the Wild West Classic. The series of races ended the inaugural World Cup season by crowning Jean-Claude Killy of France and Nancy Greene of Canada as that year's world champions. Sports Illustrated magazine quoted Jean-Claude saying, "If there is a better ski mountain in United States, I haven't skied it." Jackson Hole continued to host international events in '69 and '75. It also hosted many national championships.
1968 -- Jackson Hole Ski Corp. hosted its first downhill race.
1969 -- Grand Targhee, on the western side of the Teton Range in Alta, Wyoming, opened to the public.
1970 -- The first national Powder 8 Championship was held at Jackson Hole.
1971 -- Bill Briggs is the first to ski down the Grand Teton - a landmark event in big mountain skiing in the United States.
1973 -- Blackfoot Lift was added to Grand Targhee.
1977 -- The U.S. Voyager II spacecraft, launched in 1977 to explore unknown reaches of the solar system, containing an Ansel Adams photograph of the Tetons and Snake River as part of its cargo.
1978 -- Melissa Malm moved to Jackson from New York to become the first woman on the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Ski Patrol.
1989 -- The New York Philharmonic held the first summer residency in its 147-year history in Jackson Hole during the first two weeks of July. America's oldest orchestra performed four concerts as a benefit for Jackson Hole's 39-year-old Grand Teton Music Festival.
1989 – New tram car cabins installed in December 1989. In June, President George H.W. Bush chose to deliver his first major speech on the importance of the environment and clean air in an open meadow in front of the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park.
1989 -- In September, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze held an historic meeting on the shores of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Baker chose Jackson Hole to showcase the spectacular scenery and preserved heritage of America's west.
1992 -- Paul McCollister sold Jackson Hole Ski Corp. to the Kemmerers, a family with over 100 year ties to Wyoming. John Resor was appointed president of Jackson Hole Ski Corp. The Kemmerers upgraded the Thunder Chair from double to quad.
1994 -- Tommy Moe, Olympic gold and silver medal winner in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, was signed as the Ambassador of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
1995 -- John Resor resigned as president. Jerry Blann, formerly of Aspen, Bear Mountain, and Lake Catamount ski resorts, replaced him as president of the resort.
1996 -– The Mountain Master Plan was approved by the US Forest Service, leading to dramatic mountain improvements. This plan was a vast downsizing from the 1981 Development Plan, which represented the existing operating conditions at that time. Previously approved for a capacity of 11,500 skiers per day, the new approved MMP called for 7,690 skiers per day, a much more comfortable capacity for the resort.
1997 -- The Teewinot High Speed Quad was opened, dramatically improving the mountain experience for beginners and intermediates.
Winter 1996-1997 -- JHMR took the lead in submitting the Teton Village Master Plan, which unlocked the development of Teton Village. This was the culmination of 4 years hard work by Teton Village commercial owners and JHMR.
Winter 1997-1998 -- The Bridger Center and the Bridger Gondola opened. The Bridger Gondola is 8,730 feet long and rises 2,700 vertical feet in 7 1/2 minutes. The Bridger Center complex is a 37K sq ft multi-purpose facility which set the standard for new village architecture.
1998 -– Teton County approved Teton Village Master Plan.
Winter 1999-2000 -– The backcountry gate system was employed, effectively opening up thousands of acres of backcountry to all.
2000 -– The Moose Creek and Union Pass chairlifts were installed. The Mountain Dew Climbing Wall was erected for summer visitors. The First Spa facility in Teton Village was opened in Snake River Lodge and Spa.
2002 -- Teton Mountain Lodge, a condo-hotel property, opened in Teton Village.
2003 -- The Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole opened. This property is the first Four Seasons Resort ski destination.
2004 -- The "Crags," a permanently closed inbounds area, is opened to the public providing, an additional 200 acres of expert terrain to the resort. The Jackson Hole Airport completed a significant expansion to meet the needs of growing jet airline services into the airport. The expansion includes a larger security hold room and check point, a second baggage claim area, new check-in areas, a more spacious restaurant and additional parking.
2005 -- The Sweetwater Lift was installed directly linking beginner terrain to low intermediate terrain at mid-mountain. Cafe 6,311 opened in the Bridger Center at the Base of the Bridger Gondola.
2006 -- After 40 years of service, the famed Aerial Tram was shut down to the public in order to build a newer, bigger and faster version. JHMR achieves ISO 14001 recognition for environmental management, making it one of the smallest companies and only the second ski area in the country to meet this standard. New $10 million on-mountain facility opens at the top of the gondola complete with Headwall Deli and Rendezvous Restaurant.
2007 – The terminal design for the new tram is revealed sporting a new version of lower terminal clock tower to remain as a landmark in Teton Village. JHMR commits to purchasing renewable energy credits to offset 100% of its energy usage. Couloir Restaurant opens at the top of the gondola by award winning chef, Wes Hamilton, as a fine dining option for resort guests.
Winter 2007-2008 -- The 2007/08 Season is Jackson Hole’s most successful season ever with 480,000+ skier visits and over 600 inches of snowfall.
2008 -- During Summer 2008, the towers for the new tram are erected, and the cables are tracked, hauled into place and spliced. Garaventa delivers the new tram cars in November. The New Aerial Tram opens on December 20 after 2 years of construction. This $32 million dollar investment by resort ownership carries 100 passengers 4,139 vertical feet in 9 minutes, boasting the longest continual vertical rise of any lift in the U.S.
John Simms of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Ski Patrol invented Life-Link's avalanche probe. He also invented other avalanche forecasting equipment that he sold to Life-Link. John and fellow patroller, Charlie Sands, who started Sands Wild Water River Trips, were the first people to drop in to the couloir adjacent to Corbet's Couloir. Thus its name, S&S Couloir.
Simms was not the only inventive patroller at JHMR. Bobbie Fuller invented a strap to keep his sunglasses on that led to his early retirement. The straps are knows as Croakies and are found all over the world.
Why is it called _____?
We already mentioned how the famous Corbet's Couloir, Pepi's Run, and Dick's Ditch got their names, but how about the other runs? Most of the runs were named after the geographic features of the valley. The ridges are named for the early mountain men that explored the area, and the bowls are named for cities and towns in Wyoming. Throughout time, almost every mountain feature has picked up a nickname, mostly for navigational purposes and for ski patrol to locate lost or injured skiers.
Cook's Knob -- Former mountain manager Ray Cook wanted to put a lift on the crest at the bottom of the headwall, even after patrols warned him many time about the severe avalanche danger in that area. A week after completion of the mighty might surface lift, and avalanche took out the lift and left remains on the knob now labeled as Cook's Knob.
Bean's Beanery -- Halfway down Grand rests an 8-foot rock called Bean's Beanery. Former trail crew member Pat Bean accidentally ski off this unmarked rock and immediately reported it to ski patrol. In the process of skiing down to show the patrol where the rock was, Bean flew off the rock again.
Veto's Tree -- Near the fourth tram tower stands a lone tree that stopped a Chicago skier from tumbling over the edge of the cliffs during an avalanche.
Femur Ridge -- Named after a teenage skier who jumped a ridge on the Lower Sublette Ridge and broke his femur.
Crabtree Rock -- The huge rock near tower nine on the Apres Vous chair lift. Jeff Crabtree, co-owner of Skinny-Skis, a local ski shop, tucked the section of Werner above the jump and hit it with too much speed. He broke both his legs just above the ankles on the flat landing.
Horn's Hole -- At the bottom of the Cirque there is a hot spring that melts the snow, causing a four-foot depression. Patroller Rick Horn skied into the hole and broke both skis, yet still managed to ski the rest of the way down the mountain.
Indicator Rocks -- The rocks on the far side of Rendezvous Bowl are used as a tool to predict avalanche danger. If the rocks are showing, there is little danger of an avalanche in the bowl.
Dope Cave and Mushroom Chute -- No Explanation needed!
Credibility Gap -- Now known as Gannett, the run was named during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.
Goldmine Chute -- This permanently closed area on the north side of Laramie Bowl was said to be the area of heavy gold prospecting by former manager, George Flemming's uncle.
Flip Point -- This is the section of the Gros Ventre Traverse at the rim of Laramie Bowl where people used to practice flips in the old days. The area is now generally hard-packed but used to host a plethora of deep powder landings.
Radiation Woods -- This area surrounded a National Forest Service study plot located above the Avalanche run. In order to keep skiers out of the study location, the Forest Service posted signs reading, "Danger! Radiation." The study has since ceased, but the name stuck.
Harry' Slide -- Named after Harry Fisherman
Jeff's Slide -- Named after Jeff Roberts
Kirby's Slide -- Named after ski partoller Kirby Williams.
Silky's Slide -- Named after patrol former director Bob "Silky" Sealander.
Manns, William. Flood, Elizabeth Clair. Cowboys: The Trapping of the Old West. Zon International Publishing Company, 1997.
Nielsen, Cynthia, ed. Origins: A Guide to the Names of Grand Teton National Park and the Surrounding Area. The Grand Teton Natural History Association. Moose, Wyoming, 1988.
Sellett, Michael. "The Founder." Jackson Hole Magizine: The Magazine of the Tetons. Sun Litho. Salt Lake City, Winter 1991-92. Pgs. 12-17, & 46.
Simmons, Drew. "The Name Game." Jackson Hole Magizine: The Magazine of the Tetons. Sun Litho. Salt Lake City, Winter 1991-92. Pgs. 42-45.
Thuermer, Angus M. Jr. "The Bomb Squad." Jackson Hole Magizine: The Magazine of the Tetons. Sun Litho. Salt Lake City, Winter 1991-92. Pgs. 22-27, & 47.
Turiano, Thomas. Teton Skiing: A History & Guide to the Teton Range. Moose, WY: Homestead Publishing,1995.
Viola, Bob, and Thomas Turiano. The Jackson Hole Ski Guide. Conifer, Colorado: Chockstone Press, Inc., 1998.