Skiing isn’t gonna be enjoyable if you have to visit the same place every year. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, we’ve got just the places for you to check out – Jackson Hole and Big Sky!
Both offer stunning mountain views, unique terrain, and skiing experiences that will have you coming back year after year. But which one is better?
Let’s take a closer look at Big Sky vs Jackson Hole in this quick post.
Jackson Hole Vs Big Sky
The main difference between Jackson Hole and Big Sky is that Jackson Hole has better terrain, gets more snow, is cheaper, and is THE place for experts. Big Sky is much larger, has a lot more runs and a better lift system than JH and it’s great for beginners.
Also read our list of the best Wyoming ski resorts
When it comes to amenities, Big Sky has the advantage. It boasts a village area with plenty of food and lodging options, as well as a selection of shops. Jackson Hole may not have the same amenities, but it does offer plenty of lodging and restaurant choices near the resort.
Let’s take a look at some of these in more details:
Size and Skiable Area
Being the second largest ski resort in the United States, Big Sky surely wins when it comes to size. It has over 5,800 acres (23 km2) of skiable terrain, while Jackson Hole offers just 2,500 acres (10.1 km2). That’s a pretty big difference!
However, Jackson Hole also offers backcountry skiing, essentially doubling the size of the resort.
Even though Jackson Hole is smaller in area than Big Sky, it still packs a punch with its steep terrain and long runs.
Terrain Variety and Ski Slopes
Although Big Sky has a large variety of terrain, it is not as steep or challenging as Jackson Hole.
Big Sky has the most groomed trails in the US, with a total of 6 terrain parks and one natural half-pipe. It has double the amount of runs with a variety of terrain and skill levels, making it more accessible to all levels of skiers.
Jackson Hole, on the other hand, is renowned for its steep slopes and deep powder with some of the most extreme terrain in North America. The mountain offers two terrain parks, cliffs, and one half-pipe.
Although Jackson Hole offers a limited variety of terrain parks, the runs are much more challenging than Big Sky. It has a double black diamond terrain and several glades, chutes, and bowls that are not found at Big Sky.
Snow Quality and Snowfall
When it comes to snow conditions, Big Sky’s out of luck. The area only receives an average snowfall of 400 inches per year compared to Jackson Hole’s 459 inches.
Also read our comparison of Jackson Hole vs Grand Targhee.
The majority of Big Sky’s runs are groomed, so they are great for beginners and intermediate skiers. However, the lack of powder in Big Sky can make it difficult to find those powdery, off-piste runs for the more experienced skier.
In short, Big Sky may not be the premier destination considering the snow quality and snowfall, but it’s still worth exploring if you’re in the area.
Big Sky has an impressive lift system, due to its size, with 36 lifts, including eight high-speed lifts with one high-speed ram, 17 fixed grip lifts, and 12 surface lifts.
Jackson Hole, on the other hand, only has 13 lifts, with only 3 of them being high-speed. Not exactly a fair contest here, either!
Best for Beginners
If you are a beginner skier, we recommend Big Sky as a great place to learn the ropes. With 15% of easy runs, it’s the perfect spot for those just starting out on the slopes.
Plus, the long lift lines are much easier to handle when you don’t have to worry about tackling difficult terrain!
Jackson Hole only has 10% of green runs, but the runs are much more difficult compared to Big Sky. So, if you’re just starting out, we suggest taking it easy at Big Sky!
Best for Intermediates
For intermediate skiers, Jackson Hole is the best bet as 40% of its 131 trails are marked as intermediate, compared to Big Sky’s 25% of 317 runs.
But Big sky still has more intermediate runs due to its larger size. However, these runs are a lot more challenging than most of those in Big Sky. So, if you’re looking for a challenge, Jackson Hole gives that extra edge.
Best for Advanced And Expert Skiers
Jackson Hole is popular amongst advanced and expert skiers due to its famously steep black diamonds, the legendary Corbet’s Couloir, and its challenging terrain park.
Big Sky, on the other hand, is mostly for those skiers looking for a more leisurely and relaxed ride. So, if you’re feeling particularly daring and your skills are up to the task, then Jackson Hole is the place for you!
That’s not to say that Big Sky isn’t fun – it’s just that you won’t find anything too extreme here! But still, a whooping 60% of its terrain is marked as advanced or expert level.
Villages, Dining Options, and Accommodation
With its status as the second-largest ski resort in the United States, Big Sky boasts an array of bustling villages and eating establishments to keep your entire family amused.
There are several convenient on-site restaurants, bars, and stores that offer delicious cuisine and the latest in ski fashion.
In addition to spectacular skiing, Big Sky Resort also provides superior meeting spaces for events such as conferences, weddings, and corporate retreats.
Jackson Hole, on the other hand, is known for its mountain rustic charm and lack of nightlife. Sure, you can find a few cafes and bars scattered throughout the area, but they pale in comparison to the vibrant scene of Big Sky Resort.
However, Jackson Hole offers various options for those who prefer luxury accommodations, including 5-star hotels, spas, and superb restaurants.
Plus, with its breathtaking views of the Teton Mountain Range, Jackson Hole is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Also read our list of the best Montana ski resorts for families.
The daily pass of Jackson Hole is cheaper than Big Sky; however, the season pass is far more expensive. Considering the transport costs, the cost of a season pass to Jackson Hole can be quite steep.
However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive vacation spot with plenty of natural beauty and outdoor activities, then you’ll find that Jackson Hole is the perfect destination.
If you want to go on a vacation and save money, Jackson Hole is a good option if you have your own car. But if you don’t own a car, Big City is the place for you because this resort offers public transportation to its customers.
Big Sky and Jackson Hole both have a lot to offer. Big Sky has no shortage of ski slopes and other recreational activities, while Jackson Hole is perfect for travelers looking for stunning natural scenery and challenging outdoor activities.
Both are great value for money, but if you don’t own a vehicle, then Big City is the better option.
Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and what kind of skiing experience you’re looking for!