Antelope Flats skier. Written on card “David Coasting 1915.” JHHSM Collection 2011.0013.036. 

JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole boasts a long ski history experienced by many. American Indians, explorers, fur trappers and homesteaders all used some form of a ski to traverse deep winter snows – often for both necessity and fun. Our skiing heritage and traditions continue today.

Explore Nordic skiing in Jackson Hole — the past, present and future — with Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum at an online Beers & Banter event this Thursday, January 27 from 7-8 p.m. Panelists for the virtual conversation include Pete Karns, Martin Hagen, Phil Leeds, Nancy Leon, and Ali Sehnert. Register for free at

In the late 1800s, to prove that mail could be delivered to the valley year-round, volunteer mail carriers braved Teton Pass on skis to carry the post between Teton Valley and Jackson. Their success in doing so for a full year earned the valley its first post office in 1892.

Since local roads were not regularly plowed until the mid-1930s, Tom Turiano writes in Teton Skiing that “most people mainly trusted dog sleds, gandy wagons, and skis to accomplish their winter business.”

Skiing for recreation and using one pole for balance near Jackson Lake Dam, c. 1910. JHHSM Collection 1958.1433.001.

Photos of homesteaders recreating on skis were snapped in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, locals began hiking up the “town hill” now called Snow King to ski down it for fun. At the time, single ski poles were still the norm and used for balance, to negotiate turns and control skiers speed.

The valley has changed a lot since then. According to Jackson Hole Nordic more than 100 trails now support local Nordic skiing. Local Nordic skiers have medaled in the Olympics with new racers joining the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club Nordic team every year.

Beers & Banter guests will talk about their personal Nordic skiing experiences ranging from competing and winning medals as Nordic skiers to enjoying and actively supporting the sport in the valley.

Online Beers and Banter will be moderated by JHHSM Executive Director Morgan Jaouen, following an informal, conversational format. At the end, an audience Q&A will complete the evening.

Register for a free link and reminder for the online event at The Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum is open for Winter Hours from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. from Wednesday – Saturday through April 9, 2022.

Skate skiing in Grand Teton National Park on the road from the Taggart parking lot to Signal Mountain. Photo by David Swift, JHHSM David Swift Photography Collection, 2020.001.126.