Keegan Rice Gallerie

Still Building in Jackson

Jackson, WY, is a wild place. Not only in the vast-tracts-of-untouched-wilderness sense that travel and tourism boards push, but also with regard to socioeconomics. Teton County boasts the highest concentration of wealth in the country and there’s a housing crisis in the shadows of one of the most dramatic mountain ranges in the lower 48. The skid houses in town, where you used to be able to get a place with 10 of your friends for $300 each per month, have mostly been demolished and replaced with luxury short-term rentals and modular second homes. At peak season, you’d be lucky to get one for $300 per night. But if you peel back the cowboy-rich facade, you’ll find a handful of dedicated riders making it work, still building on the deep snowboarding history these mountains hold.

At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, snowmakers often work long hours for roughly two months during early winter in exchange for their season pass, a guaranteed layoff and unlimited time to ride the rest of the season. Restaurant work is easy to come by, pays well in tips and most shifts don’t start until 4 p.m. Teton Thai, located at the base of the resort, has long been a haven for snowboarders looking to make a buck. General programming usually entails slinging food and drinks at night to leave days free to ride. Cam FitzPatrick got his start there by answering phones when he was 15 years old, back when the restaurant was still in town. He retired in 2020, at the ripe old age of 30. The ski area’s terrain park crew, Park and Pow, is mostly made up of snowboarders who build the kinds of features they want to hit. It shows… 

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