Things sure have changed. Scarcely 160 years ago, Jackson Hole was home in summer and fall only to small bands of Native Americans and a few fur trappers. Later, the trappers and Indians were replaced by homesteaders who managed to endure winters here while raising beef cattle. But Jackson Hole’s future (“hole” was trapper slang for a mountain valley) was determined when those homesteaders realized that dudes (rancher slang for summer tourists) were easier to keep than cattle.

Today, Jackson Hole is a year-round vacation destination. In summer and fall, the town of Jackson is a gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, to national forests and wilderness areas. Visitors hike, bike, ride horseback, fish, climb mountains, marvel at the geysers of Yellowstone, and gape at the stunning Teton mountains.

Attend symphony orchestra concerts and browse through art galleries and museums by the dozen. The months from May to October are packed with special events. And the valley scarcely misses a beat as winter rolls in. Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks lure winter visitors for snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and camping. Alpine skiers chose from three areas. The Jackson Hole Ski Resort is a world-class destination, Grand Targhee boasts some of the finest powder skiing to be found; even Snow King, the “town hill” to locals, surpasses all but a handful of the nation’s ski areas.