The backcountry gates are currently closed at JHMR. Photo: Courtesy of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

TETON VILLAGE, Wyo. — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) announced today, Dec. 17  that it has temporarily closed the backcountry gates at the Resort.

The decision is based on the shallow snowpack below 8,000 feet, and was made in collaboration with Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF), Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR), Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), and Sheriff Matt Carr.

“Current conditions at lower elevations make rescue difficult. It is unsafe or not possible to use rescue toboggans, and helicopter landing zones are limited due to exposed rock,” said JHMR in a press release.

While closing the backcountry gates is infrequent, the move is not unprecedented. Sheriff Carr, TCSAR, BTNF, GTNP, and JHMR agree that low snow below 8,000 feet may force a skier to walk back into the ski area once they drop into the backcountry, potentially trapping skiers with no reasonable access back to the ski area. This safety mitigation falls within JHMR’s special use permit and a Forest Supervisor special order.

“Safety is our number one priority, and to reduce exposure to the public and rescue personnel in the backcountry, the gates will be closed until conditions improve to where search and rescue response is reasonably feasible,” said JHMR Vice President of Operations Tim Mason.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.