A midwinter trip to Jackson Hole is more than a snowboard vacation-it’s a life-changing cultural experience. Jackson butts up against the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Elk and Moose roam freely, eagles fly overhead, and cowboys amble through town. As much as the West has been marketed and packaged, the real thing doesn’t disappoint.

Come out to Jackson this winter for the Western experience and for some of the best damn freeriding in the U.S. of A. Unfortunately, this is the supposed last year that Jackson Hole Resort will have the tram. There are probably worse moves that Jackson Hole could make other than getting rid of the cherished tram … we just can’t think of what those could possibly be.—Annie Fast

Freeriding: Hit up the tram and do laps down the series of bowls: Rendezvous, Cheyenne, and Laramie. If the tram line’s too long, jump on the Gondola and head over to the Thunder Quad and the Sublette Quad. Explore misty areas like the Alta and Expert Chutes and haul ass down the steeps.

Park And Pipe: Take the Apres Vous to the park. The advanced AV terrain park has rails and tabletops, which have fortunately been moved to sunnier locales than in the past. Beginners can check out the Eagle’s Rest mini-terrain park. There’s also a rope-tow-serviced Superpipe. A natural alternative to the park would be “The Track,” basically a run off the gondola that is packed full of hips, gaps, road hits, and ends up in Dick’s Ditch-a fun leg burner, follow the locals!

Deals: Jackson Hole is home to Teton Gravity Research, a film company started by Jeremy Jones’ brothers. The package is for four nights’ lodging in a two-bedroom condo in the Jackson Hole Racquet Club and three-day lift tickets for 299 dollars per person based on quad occupancy. The package includes the TGR DVD Tangerine Dream and is available after the holidays, January 2-April 2.

Do This: Jackson Hole has open boundaries-shred the backcountry. If you’re an experienced rider who knows how to use a beacon, shovel, and probe, and you’ve got a partner, then head out one of the four access gates to powder nirvana. One suggestion is to take the tram and traverse over to Cody Bowl and start exploring Rock Springs, Four Pines … look up, look down, look over, it’s all rideable, and it’s the goods.

The town of Jackson has its own local shred hill called Snow King—it’s steep, super fun, and night riding is only fifteen bucks. Bundle up!

Shreducation: Steep & Deep Camp, February 2-5, $820. Taught by the JHMR snowboard school including AASI instructor Mikey Franco (who might be one of the nicest guys out there, and one of the best coaches). Everyone can learn something about shredding the steeps, here’s your chance. 1-800-450-0477.

Apres: Your legs will be noodles after riding Jackson, so unstrap and get comfortable at the VC (Village Cafe) under the tram building with a delicious slice of pizza and a beer. This is a definite locals spot-act like you know. The Mangy Moose, also slopeside, is another sound decision. Don’t be surprised if you look down at your watch hours later and see that it’s 10:00 p.m. and you’re still in your shred gear.

Food: Hit up Bubba’s Bar-B-Que for a huge breakfast or Pearl Street Bagels for a quickie. For dinner, The Calico restaurant on the road down from the resort is cozy and has awesome Italian food. Rendezvous Bistro and The Snake River Brewing Company are both popular with the locals. Chinatown is a good spot for big groups. Carnivores shouldn’t miss out on the burgers at the Cadillac Grill and veggies should try out the Harvest Natural Foods Cafà‡. Sushi in Jackson? You bet, hit up Mizo Sushi and say “hey” to the local pro snowboarder crowd.

Lodging: Hostel X is the cheapest place to stay, and it’s slopeside (hostelx.com)! Check the Super 8 in Jackson Hole, deals can be found for under 60 bucks (super8.com). Package deals including lift tickets are also available for groups at jhrl.com.

Getting Here: Jackson Hole is a five-hour drive from Salt Lake City, Utah. The resort is 40 minutes from the Jackson airport, which has nonstop service from Delta, United, Northwest, and American.

Getting Around: Jackson Hole Resort and the Teton Village base area are twelve miles out of the town of Jackson. The START Bus (Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit) is a cheap way of traveling between the two. A one-way trip from town resort is two bucks per person, in town service is free!

Summit Elevation: 10,450 feet

Vertical Drop: 4,139 feet

Rideable Acres: 2,500 (In-bounds)

Snowfall: 459 inches

Snowmaking: 10%

Terrain Breakdown (Beg/Int/Adv): 10%/40%/50%

Opening/Closing Dates: December 3-April 2

Number Of Lifts: 12

2005/06 Ticket Prices: (Adult/Youth/Child): $70/$56/$35

Parks: 2

Superpipes: 1

Phone: 1-888-DEEP-SNO

Web Site: jacksonhole.com

Hub: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Snowboard Shop: Boardroom (307) 733-8327, Hole In The Wall (307) 739-2689