Bing Crosby might have dreamed of a White Christmas, but tourists and locals are almost guaranteed a White Christmas in Jackson Hole.
Christmas Eve this year was absolutely beautiful! Seasonably “tolerable” temperatures and fresh snow made it a day to remember!
Christmas Eve happens only one day a year. It’s a special, festive day of the year any year, but spending it on a beautiful, snowy day in Jackson Hole is like a powder day to a skier or a Green Drake day to a fly fisherman. It’s a day when people can wear a red Santa hat and fit right in!
I spent an hour and a half or so during the midday and then another hour and a half downtown at night to capture a slice of Christmas for readers at Best of the Tetons. Of course, I can only display my static photos, but you can use your imagination to add the sounds of Christmas music coming from speakers on the town’s boardwalks. Throw in some laughter, an occasional jingle bell, and the dampened crunch of tires traveling over 6-8″ of fresh powder snow.
Think of the rest of the photos on this page as a slice of Jackson Hole on Christmas Eve. I spent about half my time taking photos of people and the other half capturing common scenes transformed by the fresh snow. I hope you enjoy them!
Daytime shoppers filled the streets, sidewalks and stores. Most were bundled for the season and all seemed to be enjoying the falling snow.
Fresh snow is a double edged sword! It’s beautiful, but it comes with some added work. Locals are usually well prepared for the season with a variety of scrapers and brushes for the job. We seldom get sheets of frozen ice on our windshields, however.
Snow changes everything! As I mentioned earlier, I walked around the Square revisiting objects like this old sign I see almost daily. The falling snow and the piling snow gives everything a different look. The old Teton Theater has been closed for several years, but the snow covered sign remains.
With no wind, the fresh snow settled and piled up on any horizontal surface. This snowflake ornament still had two or three inches of snow at midday.
I used a Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens for the day shots. The range gave me a chance to capture shots from across the street without people knowing I was taking their photo.
I saw a few people carrying around a digital SLR camera, but by far, the most people were using some sort of cell phone. There’s a new learning curve for many of us, while new technology seems to come natural to the youngsters.
This lady has “standard technique”.
Others develop unique techniques. A slightly different angle is always good!
For many, Christmas Eve is just another day at work, but you can at least make the best of it.
Like all cities, Jackson Hole has a few Starbucks. There’s one on the Square in Jackson to service the downtown tourists and merchants, plus and a couple more scattered around town. Christmas Eve, especially when it occurs on a Saturday, brings out the crowds.
If one coffee is good, I guess two are better!
Signs like this one let tourists know when it is safe to cross the busy streets. Walk!
Some people run! So many stores—so little time!
A “Boy Bar”…?
I have lots of photos of this historic old sign, but I never took one quite like this. For the daytime shots, I kept the shutter speed fairly fast, freezing the snow in midair.
Wind and heat from the bulbs will eventually melt the snow on the sign, but it changed the appearance today.
Another view of the same sign. There are a few remnants of the days of neon and bulbs around town, but signs like this one would be illegal under the current sign codes.
There’s a rustic charm in Jackson Hole, but it has been slowly disappearing over the years we’ve live here. I don’t believe I’ve ever stopped to take a photo of this old wagon perched above the doorway of the museum.
I went back to the Town Square just after dark for another take on Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole.
Night lights, Christmas decorations, and falling snow transform the exact scenes I had photographed earlier in the day.
These lights span Glenwood Street, a block east of the Town Square. You can see the museum wagon in the background.
Night time flakes on Glenwood.
Most of the shops and businesses closed at 6:00 pm or so, but that didn’t stop tourists from milling around and having a good time. With a good tripod, shots like this one are fairly easy.
It would be easy to shoot thousands of experimental shots like this one in one evening. Panning with a long shutter can reveal another world.
This cowboy sculpture is located in the center of the Town Square, with plaques to honor area veterans. Snow does all the work in this kind of shot.
This is the only multi-color tree in the Town Square.
The rest of the lights on the Town Square are amber/white this year. There are four antler arches—each popular for family photos and selfies. We’ve live here 30 years now. Each year, the spruce and cottonwoods get a little larger!
The night shots were taken with a Nikon D5 and a Nikon 70-200mm lens. I needed a tripod, since most of the images had long exposures. Ghost like figures can pass through a shot like this one.
I’ve included a lot of photos on this page, and quite honestly, I could add a lot more! There are plenty of subjects and many ways of seeing and photographing them. The snow cap on top of this globe caught my attention.
Throughout the year, I spend a lot of my time out in the wilds looking for wildlife and scenic opportunities. It’s great, and I know I am blessed, however I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the street today. Something always seems to be happening in Jackson Hole. For now, however, I hope you enjoyed these images of a slice of life on Christmas Eve! Cheers! MJ