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After hibernating (on skis or snowboards) all winter, Jackson Hole forages for fun in the summer. From outdoor concerts to plein air painting and art fairs, summer finds the valley awash in cultural activities.

For music lovers, sonic options abound. In Teton Village, the Concerts on the Commons series fills summer Sundays with free shows open to all. While the 2014 lineup remains under wraps, summers past have hosted Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Ben Taylor and Desert Noises. The series begins in July and runs through August. Free outdoor concerts also ring out from the foot of Snow King mountain in downtown Jackson, thanks to JacksonHoleLive, an all-ages affair that has brought banner bands like Old Crow Medicine Show and Steve Earle to Jackson. The summer lineup has yet to be announced, but good times are guaranteed.

For an elevated music experience, turn to the Grand Teton Music Festival, which stages six weekends of orchestral performances in Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village (July 3 through August 16). Weeknights find creative programming like Chamber Music on Thursdays (starting July 10) and Wednesdays bring an eclectic mix like the Harlem Quartet (July 9).

Meanwhile, in downtown Jackson, a steady flow of touring acts fills a variety of venues. The Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary arts center, theater and residence on Cache Street, hosts a wide spectrum of shows from outdoor Shakespeare performances (July 12-18) to big-name bands like Pat Metheny Unity Group and Bruce Hornsby (July 24). Art openings and improv comedy round out the summer roster at the Center. On any given night, there are multiple bands playing within steps of the Town Square at spots like the Town Square Tavern, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Silver Dollar Bar in the Wort Hotel. The Pink Garter Theatre, a former playhouse transformed into an indie music hub, jam-packs summer with People Under the Stairs (June 27), ZOSO – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience (July 10) and Israel Vibrations (August 22). Much more will be announced as the summer progresses.

For the art-inclined, the Tetons are teeming with art presented by galleries, museums and nonprofits. The National Museum of Wildlife Art, perched north of town overlooking the National Elk Refuge, curates world-class exhibitions including this summer: “Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell,” “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt,” “Wonder Cabinet: A Collection of Curiosities” and “From Stone to Glass: Wildlife Sculpture in Multiple Media.” The Art Association’s Art Fair, established in 1965, posts up in Miller Park twice each summer (July 11-13 and August 8-10) with booths by some 135 international, national and local artists. And every third Thursday of the month, the Jackson Hole Gallery Association hosts an Art Walk, which finds downtown galleries open late serving refreshments.

In July, 45 artists will spend two weeks painting in Grand Teton National Park as part of the 2014 Plein Air for the Park program, an art awareness initiative and fundraiser for the park. The plein air sessions begin on July 7 and a selection of paintings will be exhibited starting July 16 at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor’s Center in Moose.

 

For truly one-of-a-kind Western entertainment, check out the Jackson Hole Rodeo, held every Wednesday and Saturday, and the Town Square Shootout, a daily occurrence at 6 p.m. on Town Square.

While winter sees spectacular snow, summer brings spectacular culture.

 

Links:

http://www.gtmf.org/

http://jacksonholelivemusic.com/

http://www.pinkgartertheatre.com/

http://www.jhcenterforthearts.org/

http://www.wildlifeart.org

http://www.jacksonholegalleries.com/

http://www.grandtetonpark.org/our-work-for-the-park/plein-air-for-the-park/

 

 

 

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At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, all of March is a swan song to the winter season. Quite literally: music rings out every Saturday après-ski starting at 3pm, and a 3-day extravaganza caps the month in free concerts.

The Music Under the Tram series spotlights talent from the Tetons, all atop a slopeside stage set beneath the Tram dock.  On March 22nd, Jackson’s beloved bluegrass band, One Ton Pig, take to the Tram stage. Specializing in “outlaw country,” One Ton draws inspiration from Willie Nelson, John Cash and Del McCoury to create a raucous show all their own. On March 29th, Bootleg Flyer alights on stage with its blend of country, folk and rock. The 5-piece band is fronted by the Miller Sisters, sibling songstresses who wow with their finely-tuned harmonies. Add bass, drums, acoustic and lead guitar to the mix and you get a party band worth watching (check out their new original album, “Saving Grace,” on iTunes). All Tram concerts are free to enjoy.

The Tram shows set the stage for the showstoppers playing March 27th-29th as part of the Jackson Hole Rendezvous, a 3-day lifestyle and music festival taking place in Teton Village and the Town of Jackson. The free festivities begin March 27th when the iconic Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe performs at the Snow King Center in Jackson. With a career spanning nearly three decades, Denson has played with the likes of Lenny Kravitz and as part of the seminal Greyboy Allstars. All the while, Tiny University has made the rounds of festivals and clubs, entertaining audiences around the world with his soul-funk mastery. The concert is free and begins at 7:30 p.m.

Then, on March 28th, the legendary roots reggae band Steel Pulse will take to the Tram stage, warmed up by DJ Logic. Based in Great Britain, Steel Pulse was the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, back in 1986. A favorite of Bob Marley, the band has stayed true to its roots over its acclaimed career, spanning four decades.

Jackson Hole Rendezvous reaches a crescendo on March 29th with Michael Franti and Spearhead (and opener, Baja, CA-based family funk band Groovetrotters), both of whom will play on a grandstand in the front parking lot. Franti is a pioneer in every sense of the word – as a musician blending hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz and folk rock on his more than a dozen albums, and as a humanitarian advocating for peace in the Middle East. Franti encourages his fans to think while they party, a mission he will certainly achieve in Teton Village.  To Jackson Hole, Franti brings his brand new single, “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like),” which will be included in his upcoming album slated for summer release. “Music is sunshine,” Franti once said. “Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.” Amen.

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This Valentine’s Day, think outside the proverbial heart-shaped box by planning a romantic adventure outdoors.

-          Picnic in the Park: Begin your adventure at Dornan’s Trading Post in Moose, where you can rent skis and stock up on picnic supplies (tuck into the Wine Shoppe next door for a bottle from the valley’s best wine selection). Park at the Bradley-Taggart Lakes Trailhead and glide into the park along groomed tracks. For the ambitious, ski the six miles to Jenny Lake and perch your picnic lakeside. Or, feel free to unfold your feast anywhere along the way – scenic spots abound. Cap the adventure with a glass of wine or beer at Dornan’s Spur Bar, savoring the day and the matchless views of the Tetons.

-          Cozy Up Slopeside: Trade lavish trappings for a truly unforgettable alpine experience by spending the night at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s rustic Rock Springs Yurt. Sited slopeside in the backcountry of Bridger Teton National Forest, the yurt is fully-outfitted for a cozy night for two (or more; up to 8 people can stay overnight). With the yurtmeister as guide, the overnight package includes hot drinks upon arrival, dinner and dessert, and a light breakfast the following morning. A wood-burning stove, lofty sleeping bags and an ample stock of games make for a fun, off-the-grid getaway. The yurt is accessible from the Rock Springs backcountry gates, or by a short snowshoe trek/ski tour from the base of the resort. Not into an overnight? You can also visit the yurt for lunch or après-ski drinks and appetizers.

-          Steamy Excursion: Whether traveling by snowmobile or dogsled, the winter trek to Granite Hot Springs pairs burly adventure with spa-like relaxation. Visiting the hot springs is a full day affair: the trailhead sits about 30 miles south of Jackson, and traveling by sled – dog or mechanized – requires hooking up with an outfitter (there are many). Follow the winding road for 10 miles through a winter wonderland. With cold-kissed cheeks, swop your snowsuit for your swimsuit in the changing room – four walls help ease the temperature shock – and sink into the reinforced pool, which naturally heats to a steamy 112 degrees. Don’t forget a change of warm clothes for the way back. The excursion will likely stoke your appetite, so en route back to Jackson, stop at The Bird – a local’s favorite in South Park. Toast your adventure with a draught beer and a knockout burger.

From traipsing through snow to soaking in natural springs, play creative Cupid and scheme an amour-venture outdoors.

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Jackson Hole is no stranger to Olympic Fever: many hometown heroes have competed in past games, and Sochi may bring even more medals. Teton darling and slalom star Resi Stiegler, daughter of Olympian Pepi Stiegler of the eponymous ski shop and niece of Peter Stiegler of beloved Steigler’s Restaurant, will make her second trip to the Olympics. Since Torino, the alpine ski racer has suffered multiple injuries only to valiantly rehab and return. Two years ago, she placed second in the World Cup slalom. Track her turns when women’s alpine begins on Feb. 10.

 

Jackson Hole takes pride in its Olympic pedigree, defined by world-class athletes like Tommy Moe, who is one of only two U.S. men to win an Olympic downhill competition, and one of three Americans to ever claim two alpine medals at one Olympics (the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer). Born in Montana, Moe moved to Wilson, WY more than a decade ago, and now serves as a Ski Guide and Special Ambassador for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

 

While it’s no wonder that the Tetons train top downhill racers, the Winter Olympics have welcomed a wide range of Wyoming athletes. Jackson native Erich Wilbrecht immersed himself in the outdoors, only to become a world-class Nordic skier (not to mention fly-fisherman and hunter). At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, Wilbrecht competed on the Olympic Biathlon team, an event that pairs cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship. After an illustrious Nordic career, Wilbrecht returned home to Jackson Hole and now works as a real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty.

 

Local legends Hans and Nancy Johnstone are both Olympians. Hans competed in Nordic Combined at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Canada, and biathlete Nancy represented the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. Since their Olympic glory days, the Johnstones have made their home in Jackson Hole as the innkeepers of The Alpine House. Hans also works as a guide for Exum Mountain Guides, and has claimed many first ascents and ski descents in the Tetons.

 

Summer Olympics have also seen their fair share of Wyoming athletes. Growing up in Casper, Barb Lindquist was one of the state’s best swimmers before being recruited to swim at Stanford University in California. As a professional athlete, she added the triathlon to her repertoire, and in 2004, she placed 9th in the Triathlon at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

 

Teton Village TVs will surely be tuned to Sochi throughout the Olympics (February 6-23), but sports spectators can practice with the Super Bowl this Sunday. The Q Roadhouse and Brewing Co. is hosting a Super Bowl Party with an 8-foot screen in the main dining room, six big screens in the bar, a special Super Bowl menu and shot specials. Festivities begin when the Roadhouse’s doors open at 10 a.m. on Sunday. In town, Eleanor’s Bar is staging Super Bowl Superswag with giveaways like a Fireball Guitar and a Jack Daniels Adirondack chair, all starting at 4 p.m.  Meanwhile, at the Wort Hotel, the Silver Dollar Bar’s Super Bowl XLVIII Party will feature food and drink specials as well as raffle prizes. Silver Dollar spectators have a chance to win a Fireball snowboard among other prizes.

This month is certainly bringing on the big guns, sports-wise.

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In Jackson Hole, people take après ski as seriously as they do skiing, and there are nearly as many stools to sit on as slopes to explore. Locals love the Village Café – aka the VC – for pizza and PBR (now served in new, roomier digs at the Inn at Jackson Hole), or the freshly renovated Spur in Teton Mountain Lodge for spicy margaritas and mountainous nachos. Do not miss the Many Moose Saloon, dubbed one of the 10 hottest après-ski bars in the world by Forbes Traveler. Having hosted a historic roster of big-name bands, the Moose is serious about its live music, and most afternoons find local groups rocking out beneath the stuffed moose dangling from the rafters. If the sun is shining – and the forecast seems to suggest it will for most of this month – then head to the outdoor eateries Teton Fresh and Tin Can Cantina, both of which plate fresh mex fare in sunny splendor. Teton Fresh boasts Adirondack chairs beneath the Teton Club, while Tin Can Cantina offers benches beside the Gondola. On bluebird days, the deck is always packed at Nick Wilson’s, where classic bar food and beer is served beneath the Tram. Deck dining can also be found at Michael Mina’s The Handle Bar, where fried pickles, housemade moustache-shaped pretzels and a wide whiskey list make for pub-filled fun.

Nearby, the Four Seasons’ Lobby Lounge serves sushi amid a serene setting accented by acoustic musicians. For an elevated experience, ride the Gondola to Couloir, where the delectable roasted ginger or butter sage nuts rival the sweeping views of the valley. On the Moose-Wilson Road, the Q Roadhouse pours its own microbrews alongside hush puppies, barbecue and lively bands.

Once you’ve satiated your après-appetite, spend a night on the town in downtown Jackson. For live music, head to the Pink Garter Theatre – a freshly renovated playhouse replete with velvet curtains and seats – where indie bands stop while touring the Rocky Mountain West. In the coming weeks, the Pink Garter is hosting a pair of San Diego reggae bands, Tribal Seeds and Through the Roots, on January 22, and then Moon Taxi lands with their new record, Cabaret, on January 25.

Across the street, the Silver Dollar Bar hosts a rotating roster of local and visiting bands every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; the free music and dancing begins at 7:30pm and runs until 11pm. Cowboy crooners take to the stage at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, the quintessential Jackson Hole watering hole where saddles stand in for bar stools and real wranglers play pool into the wee hours. For arts and culture, check out the calendar at the Center for the Arts (www.JHCenterfortheArts.org). From exhibit openings to musicals, the Center is always abuzz with creativity. And because this is Jackson, you’ll find the dress code is snow-pants casual at all of these places.

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Ring in 2014 in style at any one of the many special events staged around Jackson Hole.

In Teton Village, pick your poison from a plethora of options. There’s the Whiskey Mornin’ Big Band – a rocking local group that has bolstered itself into a 9-piece powerhouse – at the Mangy Moose Saloon ($15 cover). The Four Seasons’ Handle Bar will celebrate with a DJ from 8pm to 1am, drink specials and a raffle. The $75 cover includes food and a champagne toast. Party mid-mountain at the Gondi Gala, a blowout featuring Jackson’s own Mandatory Air at the Couloir. Though dinner reservations at Couloir are already sold out, tickets remain to dance party ($75 per person). Gondola rides begin at 9pm, and a champagne and chocolate toast marks midnight.

The town of Jackson is teeming with festivities too. The Town Square Tavern is hosting ZOSO, a critically-acclaimed Led Zeppelin tribute band based in California ($20). The Pink Garter Theatre – the primo downtown venue for live music – will parade into 2014 with the March Fourth Marching Band – a funky electric bass mixed with guitar- and vocal-driven group boasting 20 members include a 5-piece percussion corps and a 7-part brass section. Doors open at 9pm and tickets cost $30 in advance, $40 day of. Across the street, the Wort Hotel’s Silver Dollar Bar is hosting free festivities with Jackson’s own bluegrass phenom One Ton Pig playing from 9pm to midnight.

For a more mellow celebration, Nicole Madison is singing jazz, standards and pop tunes with Keith Phillips accompanying on the grand piano at Spring Creek Resort’s Granary (free). At Teton Pines, the Papa Chan Quartet will play old-time swinging jazz – think Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Rogers and Hart – amid an ambiance of casual cocktails and fine dining.

Kiddos can join in the fun as well. During the day, the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum is hosting special holiday sessions which include reindeer games and holiday crafts, plus zip line excitement. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, young skiers under 14 years old are invited to join the Glow Worm Kids’ Ski Parade, a beloved Teton Village New Year’s tradition. Kids inch down the mountain carrying glowsticks. To participate in the free event, meet at the JHMR Kids Ranch (at the Cody House) at 4:50pm, dressed and ready to go (no poles please). Parents can watch the parade at 5:30pm. At 6pm, a torchlight parade – put on by JHMR staffers – and fireworks show from Rendezvous Mountain follows as soon as the kids finish their fun!

Whether dancing till dawn or parade down slopes, there are plenty of ways to play in the Tetons on New Year’s Eve.

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hero_wildlife-park-toursDashing through the Snow

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Jackson Hole. Everywhere you go, snow carpets slopes, holly decorates doorways and lights twinkle from trees, making Jackson Hole the quintessential holiday destination.

Beyond holiday decorations, fun-for-all activities amplify the festive spirit. Set off on a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge on the daily excursions that leave from the Visitors’ Center (be sure to bundle up). Or experience wildlife in a warmer setting inside the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Speed demons can ride inner tubes down a mountain at Snow King’s King Tubes, and nature lovers can explore Grand Teton National Park on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

‘Tis the season for Santa and shopping. In downtown Jackson, Santa visits Town Square every evening from 5 to 7 p.m. December 15 through Christmas Eve. For crafty types, the historic Wort Hotel hosts 12 Days of Christmas, a series of festive workshops ranging from cookie decorating to cocktail making. To celebrate kids’ creativity, Dancers’ Workshop presents “The Princess and the Pea: A Fragmented Fairytale” from December 20 to 22, an enchanting production starring hundreds of darling dance students. Retail festivities abound downtown as well: collecting stamps from local businesses in a Holiday Passport enters you into a drawing for great prizes, while the Great Until Late campaign, organized by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, encourages stores to stay open until 8 o’clock on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Holiday fun fills Teton Village too. On December 21, Santa arrives aboard the Aerial Tram and greets kids on the Teton Club deck from 4:45 to 5:30pm. Two hotels host Santa on December 23, with a letter writing workshop from 4 to 5pm at Hotel Terra and a fireside visit with jolly St. Nick from 5 to 6pm at Teton Mountain Lodge. For last-minute gifts, visit the trunk show featuring handcrafted items from Kyrgyzstan, held December 21 and 22 at the Snake River Lodge and Spa. On Christmas Eve, former NBC correspondent Lea Thompson will read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas from 4:30 to 5pm at Teton Mountain Lodge, Meanwhile, at the Four Seasons Resort, holiday carols will be sung from 4:30 to 5pm, followed by a Catholic Mass at 5pm. An interdenominational service will begin at 5:30pm in Hotel Terra. And then, on Christmas Day, Santa will hit the slopes, starting at 1pm from Teewinot.

Holiday festivities with mountain flare make December a delightful time to be in Jackson Hole.