PlayCleanGo With Winter Sports in Jackson Hole
The winter season is in full swing here in Jackson Hole! While the scenic backdrop is the reason so many come to our destination town during the colder months, many don’t know the significant ecological risk that comes into play when spending time outdoors. Even with sub-zero temperatures, invasive species can still find their way around the region. Read some top tips to #PlayCleanGo and #RecreateResponsibly while enjoying winter sports this year while in the Tetons!
Alpine and Nordic Ski:
It is critical to follow designated trails and adhere to posted signs and markers. Doing this will help prevent trekking across any ungroomed areas and disrupting native vegetation or even invasive species that may be growing and could hitch a ride on you and your clothing or gear. Be sure to always check the local trailheads for conditions, wildlife warnings, and any pertinent information to be mindful of. Following local trail closures protects our local environment from the spread of invasive species.
Snowshoeing is one of the winter activities that can be most prone to spreading invasive species, cleaning your snowshoes before and after an outing is always a great idea. Staying on designated trails reduces the footprint we leave on the local environment and public land. One of the kindest things you can do is remember to avoid disrupting the base on winter tracks and groomed areas. Do not travel across private property or create new trails and consider changing your route to protect sensitive wildlife habitat areas.
Remember to ride on designated fat bike trails and stay informed on local trail conditions. Ride only when the trail is firm on the outside of trails, avoid riding in groomed Nordic track, and do not ride a fat bike when you are leaving ruts 1″ or deeper. This damages the groomed trail for all users. Tires of 3.8″ or wider should be used and it may be necessary to drastically reduce tire air pressure to minimize ruts and increase traction. Remember fat bike riders yield to all other users and consider walking in areas of congestion. Trailheads will provide any trail status updates to be mindful of and any closures. Following these will protect you, your fat bike, and our local trails and ecosystem from damage.
Winter Nordic Ski, Snowshoe, and Fatbike Trails:
Explore all Nordic ski, snowshoe, and fat bike winter trail systems in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley and gain trail grooming updates on the website from local recreation non-profit JH Nordic at: https://jhnordic.com/trails/. We were proud to be a sponsor of the Annual Event for Jackson Hole Nordic that took place this year on Sunday, January 7th! The Annual Free Ski, Snowshoe, and Fat Bike Day at Turpin Meadow Ranch is a day that brings the community and families together to enjoy winter recreation, Nordic skiing, fat bike demos, and learn all about winter trail usage in the Tetons!
One of the best ways to PlayCleanGo with winter sports is to use defined snowmobile routes. Some winter recreationists don’t know that grooming trails for Nordic skiing is quite an investment and our community relies on donations to non-profit organizations to support the work of grooming. Snowmobiling across groomed trails destroys the grooming base and creates a host of other problems. Kindly stick to established snowmobile trails and avoid venturing into restricted areas or sensitive wildlife habitats.
Always respect private property in the area you are exploring. Observe speed limits and trail regulations for the safety of all users. We ask that snowmobilers remember to ride and #recreateresponsibly while enjoying the outdoors and treat surroundings with respect.
Remember to wait for enough snow cover to protect sensitive vegetation and to always be mindful not to ride over trees and shrubs to mitigate the risk of invasive seed spread throughout the region and to protect national and public forest land long-term.
Learn more about all the Bridger-Teton Snowmobile Trails to enjoy.
Get educated on avalanche risk in the area you are exploring.
Yes, even sledding with the kids can disrupt soil and transport invasive species, pathogens, and small seeds from the sled hill to your home. Choose to sled only in designated or well-used hills in your community. Stay on local town hills for sledding and help to prevent the spreading of invasive species. Respect any city ordinances or guidelines that prevent sledding at any period of time.
Clean off your skates before and after use whether at an indoor arena, skating outside on a frozen pond, or on the town square. Tiny invasive species and microorganisms can spread and remain on ice skates, even with the smallest amount of soil, mud, or snow.
Introducing your gear to the water can inadvertently introduce or spread invasive species to rivers, lakes, and waterways. Check all of your augers, drills, reels, lines, buckets, and other equipment for mud or debris. Thoroughly clean off all equipment before any ice-fishing adventure. The smallest amount of mud can hold invasive species that can spread across our ecosystem. Dispose of all unwanted bait in the trash or bring it home with you. Never dump unwanted bait back in a lake or area you are ice fishing.
Take the Pledge!
We can all remember to be mindful when enjoying outdoor winter sports and activities. Take the pledge to #PlayCleanGo to prevent the spread of invasive plants, seeds, and species to support the work of protecting our natural environment.
Whether you are a tourist traveling through or a seasoned local who participates in all mountain sports - thank you for taking the time to protect our mountain home! Recreation can be enjoyed responsibly and, together, we can prevent damage to our local region that comes when unintentionally tracking invasive species that can spread. Now, go enjoy some winter sports and educate your friends on how to #RecreateResponsibly!