Winter Wildlife

hairy woodpecker - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
The vast majority of our breeding birds here in Jackson Hole migrate to warmer regions, but a select few are tough enough to endure our long winters.

Recently, our wildlife safaris have witnessed several of these species including a few species of waterfowl, rough-legged hawks, bald eagles, shrikes and this hairy woodpecker who visited a feeder today.

Jackson Hole Ski Vacation – Snow Blankets Jackson Hole

Sam Rendall Hits the Slopes for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Skiing in Jackson Hole
Blue skies and sunshine ruled a wonderful Valentine’s Day skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

With 9” of new snow in the last two days, the skiing just keeps getting better.

Cold overnight temperatures—combined with yesterday’s wind—left the snow soft & smooth for everyone who made skiing a part of their Valentine’s Day celebration. Today was an exceptional day to explore both the freshly groomed trails & wind-buffed powder leftover from Friday night’s storm.

Snow is in the forecast again for tonight & President’s Day Monday, so if you aren’t all ready here, pack up your ski gear and get on out to Jackson Hole. Spring Creek Ranch has a special or package for you. What are you waiting for?

Cutter Races Benefit Schriners Hospital

Cutter Races
Over the Valentine’s day weekend, Jackson Hole played host to the annual Cutter Races to benefit the Shriners Hospital. This event always draws a huge local crowd as well as spectators and teams from the surrounding states of Utah, Idaho and Montana.

The Races took place Saturday and Sunday at Melody Ranch just south of town. All proceeds from both entry fees, and calcutta betting goes to the Shriners Hospital. The Cutter races are an exciting western version of horse-drawn chariot races.

Cutter Races in Jackson Hole
Cowboys roar past the cheering crowd in chariots, pulled by a team of two thoroughbreds. Two teams go head to head down a quarter mile snow covered track. The action is fast-paced and exciting. This event demonstrates how Jackson Hole as a community can rally around a fun event to raise money to help out the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

Wildlife Safaris in Jackson Hole

An American Kestrel Spotted on A Spring Creek Wildlife Safari

An American Kestrel That Was Spotted on a Spring Creek Ranch Wildlife Safari

Looking out the window today the snow is falling and I found myself thinking of spring. One thought that stuck in my head was last April when I went with our Naturalist, Kurt Johnson on a Dawn Wildlife Safari. We went out past the National Elk Refuge, to Kelly and around the loop to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, then back to Spring Creek Ranch.

The wildlife were out in numbers and we photographed Bison, Elk, Moose, Mule Deer and Bighorn Sheep. The birds were also returning to Jackson Hole. We saw thirteen varieties of birds including: Trumpeter Swans, Red Tailed Hawks, Mallard Ducks, Bald Eagles, Canada Geese, and an American Kestrel.

My favorite bird was the little American Kestrel. Not much bigger than a Robin, this bird inhabits our valley between April and September. We saw it at the art museum perched on one of the rock ledges eating a mouse. These birds don’t usually eat anything bigger than a grasshopper, so this was a major score. We tried not to scare it away, so this picture was taken with a telephoto lens. What a magnificent little bird! These animals and birds are all out there just waiting to be seen and photographed.

Bedded Elk Near Spring Creek Ranch

Spring Creek’s Derek Goodson Spots Some Elk Near the Resort

Spring Creek Wildlife
Early afternoon, as I was winding down the road from Spring Creek Ranch, I spotted a bull elk bedded down in the trees.

While elk are plentiful in the Jackson Hole, finding them bedded in the trees is not that common mostly because they blend in so well. I wonder how many Spring Creek Ranch guests drove by without even noticing these guys about 100 yards from the road?

These are the same bulls that have been wintering at Spring Creek Ranch. We thought they had moved on as they were seen on the ranch lands below the resort yesterday, but today they are back.
Spring Creek Wildlife
Perhaps, the views attract them – from this vantage point, they have a beautiful view of the Teton Mountains. Or, perhaps, they like the attention of folks like me stopping to take pictures.

Regardless, we enjoy seeing them everyday.

Naked Bull Moose

Naked Bull Moose - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Once bull moose shed their antlers, they always look a little like they aren’t wearing clothes anymore (or like a female moose.) Almost all of the bull moose have shed their antlers, but there are one or two small bulls that are still carrying their mini-antlers around proudly.

This image was taken on yesterday’s safari and if you look closely on the skull in between the ears and the eyes, you can see the pedicle which is where the antlers had attached to the head. This bull will likely remain “naked” for another couple of months before beginning to grow new antlers.

The Other Side of The Tetons – Grand Targhee Resort Powder Paradise

Grand Targhee Ski Resort
Yesterday, a few friends and I decided to drive over Teton Pass to ski at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. It takes about an hour and a half to get to Grand Targhee from Spring Creek Ranch, but with beautiful scenery the entire way.

There are great inexpensive shuttle options if you do not have a car during your stay at Spring Creek Ranch. Whichever way you get there, the skiing at Grand Targhee is a winter activity that shouldn’t be missed.

It was already snowing when we started the drive and continued to snow for the entire day. It was the lightest fluffiest snow you could imagine! Every run we did was amazing! The groomers had a few inches of new snow on top and the ungroomed runs were still pretty soft even though there hadn’t been new snow in a few days!

Grand Targhee is a great resort for families, those that are slightly intimidated by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, or those just looking for a change of scene. We finished off our day at the Trap Bar, which has a great Après Ski menu and lots of yummy drink specials. It was a great way to spend a Sunday!

Skiing Brings out the Best Menu Ideas

A Ski Outing Gives Chef Jason Mitchell Menu Ideas:

Woke up this morning to at least twelve new inches of snow on my jeep! So, of cours,e I headed to the mountain (JHMR) after I dropped off my boy at school, and was not disappointed.

I got on an early gondola, which I prefer over the tram for the simple reason of the various terrain getting over to the Thunder and Sublette chairs. The fresh tracks were amazing, getting nice shots even on the late groomed runs, waist deep in some spots with super light fluffy Teton powder.

The routes I took were virgin, I was lucky enough to be up at the top of the gondola when the whistle blew for opening so I beat even the Tram to untracked stuff. The crowds were non existent this morning, and every face I saw had a smile. Bernie’s Bowl was the best it has ever been, Kissing Rock and Sugar Shack, Bird In Hand, Lower Liquor Cabinets, it was all mine!

And of course, when I feel this good I start thinking about food and the Granary Valentine’s Day menu, so it must have been time to go work, but I knew could still come out to play another day.

The sun broke later after the morning fog burned off and the folks started to show up so I finished with the Hobacks and fresh lobster tails on my mind…maybe with a petite fillet on the side, with a little Bearnaise? I’m a little old fashioned when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

Jackson Hole Bull Market

Spring Creek Ranch Elk in Winter
Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole is experiencing a bull market–bull elk that is. The Amangani General Manager took this photo of four bulls just off the side of the main access road. A couple more are just out of the picture.

The conditions are just right for them to forage and wander around the resort. As a wildlife refuge, Spring Creek Ranch just makes the animals and guests alike comfortable. We never get tired of watching these guys, and they don’t mind being watched.

Spring Creek Ranch Wildlife Refuge

A moose at the Spring Creek Ranch wildlife refuge
After several days of snow, the wildlife of Jackson Hole were on the move this morning.

As I wound my way to Spring Creek Ranch this morning, the moose, elk and mule deer were all foraging along the side of the road paying little attention to passers-by.

Usually the mule deer bucks stay hidden, but they were out in the open. Seeing them was a special treat today.

The bull elk seem to be enjoying the Spring Creek Ranch wildlife refuge as they still have not moved to the National Elk Refuge just to the east.

Elk at the Spring Creek Ranch wildlife refuge