Besides a few trips to New York in the winter, I haven't been to the "snow, snow" in about 25 years. It was on a quick weekend excursion to Lake Tahoe with my family at ten-years-old, where I was enrolled in a ski class with toddlers. I don't remember much from the experience, except for the fact that I was cold, wet, and miserable (which is why I let so much time pass before giving it another try). This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with some of my closest friends, courtesy of Eddie Bauer. Those three days in the mountains completely shifted my perspective. It was a gloriously indulgent and fulfilling trip and one that I'll cherish forever. Here's what our time looked like:
12:30 p.m. Start eating upon arrival: Despite the fact that we had to take multiple planes to get to Jackson Hole (there are no non-stop flights from LA), I couldn't believe how easy it was to get there. After grabbing our bags, we made our way to Caldera House, a luxury ski resort in Teton Village. There were seven of us sharing a suite, and we were all were ready to move in permanently. It was both cozy and chic at the same time, with views of the mountains, fire places inside and out, and our own hot tub. We ate lunch in our suite: cheese plates, a charcuterie board, and a variety of sandwiches. There was also wine, but since I was nervous about having a hard time acclimating to the elevation (spoiler: I was totally fine the entire time), I guzzled tons of water.
2:30 p.m. Change into snow gear and get outside: It was my first time dressing myself for seriously cold weather (it was in the single digits) so there were lots of layers involved. All of the gear I wore throughout the trip was Eddie Bauer and unlike my first time in the snow, I was incredibly comfortable when I was outside. There was a small hill only a few steps from the resort and we raced to the top and proceeded to slide down it half a dozen times. When I sent G pictures of myself giddily flying down on my stomach, he said I was like one of those video memes of a puppy seeing snow for the first time. And that's really what it felt like.
4:00 p.m. Afternoon cocktails and puzzles: By the time we got back indoors, we were winded and ready to relax for the evening. We pulled out a Christmas-themed puzzle, changed into après-ski sweaters, and mixed up some Manhattans.
6:00 p.m. Stay in for a meal cooked by a private chef: We changed into matching buffalo plaid pajamas (a must for a girls weekend) and sat down to a beautiful meal in the dining room cooked by a private chef. It was all rustic home-cooking, with a delicious salad, lamb stew, and shrimp gnocchi, topped off with a snowflake-shaped baklava. I went to bed deliriously full, exhausted, and ready for another day out in the snow.
8:00 a.m. Grab a quick breakfast before the snow: The good thing about our group is that we're all pretty much early risers, so we were more than ready for breakfast by the time it opened. I had coffee with milk, homemade yogurt and berries, and a side of bacon. We went back upstairs shortly after to get changed into our snow gear, as half of the crew hit the slope while the rest of us went cross-country skiing.
9:00 a.m. Go cross-country skiing: We were lucky to be joined by two Eddie Bauer athletes on our trip—Lexi Dupont, a big mountain free-skier, and Melissa Arnot, a mountaineer who was the first woman to summit Everest without oxygen—and they made me feel so inspired to get outside more. Melissa joined Mandy and me, first-time cross-country skiers, and was such an excellent teacher. Though I felt like a baby deer at first (and subsequently a bug on its back that couldn't get up), I quickly found the rhythm and was able to glide somewhat gracefully. At one point Melissa had us stop in the middle of the forest to go off the path and free fall backwards into the snow. For a newbie like myself, it was such a thrilling feeling and making snow angels for the first time was one of the highlights. After we got back, I swear I felt immediately stronger—or at least significantly fatigued. My glutes and triceps have never felt more engaged.
12:00 p.m. Meet up for lunch at the Mangy Moose: The thing about being in the cold, which I quickly embraced, is that it's the ideal time for true comfort food. We met up at the Mangy Moose, a local institution, with the rest of the skiers/snowboarders and drank beer and ate burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. We then went back up to our room to use our hot tub, in beanies, no less, and rested up before heading into town.
5:00 p.m. Grab drinks at a local Jackson Hole bar: When we first found out about our trip, I started researching the town of Jackson Hole. And the one bar that kept coming up in every review was the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. It's both kitschy and classic, with saddles in lieu of bar seats and taxidermy bears and wild cats displayed next to Christmas lights. I got a classic martini (my go-to drink of choice, especially for my first visit someplace since it's hard to mess-up) and we "rode" the saddles and hung out for a while. Half of the group decided to stay for dinner in town while the rest of us went back to the resort where we ordered pizza in. We promptly changed into our pajamas and ate in front of the TV where we watched White Christmas and eventually baked up some chocolate toffee cookies. It was about as close to perfect as an evening can get.
8:00 a.m. Eat a hearty breakfast while picking our spirit animal cards: If this sounds a bit nutty, it's because it kind of is. But while we ate eggs and sausage with oatmeal and muffins, Ashley and Mandy, who'd climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with their spirit animal deck of cards, spoke about how it was one of their favorite traditions. So we all thought about our intentions for the day and then chose our card (I was a bee). We then piled into the cars to go get fitted for crampons.
10:00 a.m. Go to the mountain for an alpine experience: After getting fitted for our crampons, we arrived at the mountain where Melissa taught us some of the basics. We learned things that sound obvious (like how to properly walk uphill and downhill while conserving your energy), but it was mind-blowing. She also taught us a trick when you feel light-headed or unable to catch your breath that I then used several times the rest of the trip. We learned how to yield an ice ax and to get into "self arrest," swiveling our bodies around in the event that we'd lose our footing while scaling a mountain. We wore harnesses and walked up the hill connected to each other, which felt both empowering and meaningful. I left the experience wanting to do a lot more exploring.
1:00 p.m. Settle in for a cozy lunch: After our intro to mountaineering, we went back into the main part of town, where we grabbed hot chocolate from Cowboy Coffee and then had lunch at Jackson Drug, a local establishment that had been closed for years and only recently re-opened. We stuck to our trip's theme and Cristina and I shared orders of chicken tenders with fries and grilled cheese with tater tots. We then walked around the town into cute little boutiques and naturally, I found an old-fashioned candy shop where I loaded up on treats for later that night as well as souvenirs.
3:00 p.m. Hot tub + treatments: When we got back to our room, we got back into the hot tub, which I credit for what helped me not ever get too sore. We drank beers, wore our beanies, and then went inside to find that a full-fledged beauty pop-up shop had been opened. Kristie and Ashley Streicher, co-founders of Striiike, are brow and hair geniuses respectively and they were treating people to trims and tints. It felt like such an indulgent, girly afternoon and getting my eyebrows colored a little darker made them look significantly fuller. A small crew and I set out to a few of the little gift shops scattered on and around the area where we stocked up on Jackson Hole gear: colorful patches and stickers, mugs, and ornaments.
6:00 p.m. Order in Thai food to the room: Another one of the restaurants that came highly recommended was Teton Thai, a traditional place for Thai food located nearby. Since Thai food is so good in L.A. I was slightly skeptical, but it was absolutely fantastic. We ordered a bunch of different things and ate curries, noodle dishes, and salads around the fire. We also took the time to share our "high and low" from the trip, which was surprisingly moving. We didn't share the more obvious moments—the luxurious accommodations or the flawless weather—but each spoke about how much it meant to be surrounded by such an inspiring group of women. I had been particularly anxious about the trip since I wasn't comfortable in the snow and left with a whole new appreciation for the outdoors. Plus there's nothing quite as impactful as women supporting other women, and throughout the time we were there, if someone fell behind, we were all there to lift each other up. It was a feeling that I look forward to emulating long after we got back.
8:00 a.m. Have a leisurely last meal: For breakfast, we pulled out the animal spirit cards again and I was pleasantly surprised to pull a hawk. I'd even impressed myself with just how much I'd embraced doing things that made me nervous and while hawks can be watchful, they can also be calm and powerful, which was how I felt. We sipped our coffees while looking out at the snow and decided that before leaving for the airport, we were going to take the tram up to the very top of the mountain.
10:00 a.m. Ride the tram: When I found out we were taking the tram, the one I'd anxiously seen glide past our room countless times, I was unsure as to whether I was going to go. I'm not keen on heights and since I'd never been on one, I didn't like the idea of being stuck, up high, in an overly crowded box, so far from the ground. But everyone rallied behind me, literally cheering me on as I stepped onto the tram. My legs were literally shaking—something I thought was only a saying and not an actual byproduct of nervousness—and tried to remain clear-headed and calm for the twelve-minute ride to 10,450 feet up. Once we got there and stepped off of the platform, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It's not often that I'm willing to push myself past the point of discomfort and fear, and I couldn't have been more rewarded with the views from the top. We were high above the clouds and the air was crisp and clear. We took turns taking pictures, literally jumping for joy, before getting back onto the tram, a lot calmer on the way down.
11:30 a.m. Grab one last snack for the ride to the airport: We'd heard rave reviews about the pillowy hot pretzels with cheese dipping sauce from the Four Seasons next door, so we ordered some to go, which we devoured on the way to the airport.
Photos by myself, our entire crew, and Jenna Jones, an incredible photographer and new friend.