Jackson Hole gets holiday boost
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
December 20, 2012
Christmas is bringing better business for Jackson Hole.
Recent numbers show that snow levels and the tourism season for December promise to be well above Jackson Hole’s average by the end of the holiday season.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is completely open after opening Corbet’s Couloir Wednesday morning, according to a resort press release. The mountain has had 18 consecutive days of snowfall and is reporting it has received more than eight feet of snow so far in December. That’s more than half of the 14 feet the mountain has seen during the season to date.
“This is really a phenomenal start to our season,” said Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Valleywide, the snowpack is at 129 percent of average as of Wednesday, according to the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Advance booking numbers have also continued to increase, according to lodging barometer data released by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.
For the coming weekend, the valley’s hotels will be at 41 percent occupancy, up from both last year and last week.
Most individual areas will be around half-full Saturday. Outlying areas of Jack-son are at about 28 percent, but that number is more than double last year’s total, which was 18 percent for the same weekend.
Projections for next weekend are even higher. Bookings start to pick up valleywide the day after Christmas.
By Dec. 29, every single area will have reached above-average lodging numbers, and Teton Village will hit more than 90 percent capacity, according to the chamber’s numbers. With more than a week left for people to book lodging, total occupancy in Jackson Hole is projected to be about 69 percent next weekend.
It’s not just hotels and lodges that are reporting improving numbers. Flights at Jackson Hole Airport are seeing a spike in demand for the rest of the holiday season.
Flights are “pretty much totally booked up” this holiday season, and it’s advised that travelers arrive two hours before their flight time, Airport Director Ray Bishop said last week.
With Jackson Hole leading the Rocky Mountain region in snowfall this year, travelers should be prepared for people traveling with skis and bags. That will mean increased congestion going through security, Bishop said.
He also urged travelers to avoid wrapping any Christmas presents they carry while traveling because packages might need to be unwrapped as a security measure.