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Best of the Tetons

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Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole, WY

Bing Crosby might have dreamed of a White Christmas, but tourists and locals are almost guaranteed a White Christmas in Jackson Hole.

Broadway

Christmas Eve this year was absolutely beautiful! Seasonably “tolerable” temperatures and fresh snow made it a day to remember!

Santa Hats

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

Daytime shoppers filled the streets, sidewalks and stores. Most were bundled for the season and all seemed to be enjoying the falling snow.

Window Cleaner

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.

Teton Theater

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.

Snowflake

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.

Window Shopper

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.

iPhone Photographer

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.

Photographer

This lady has “standard technique”.

High Angle

Others develop unique techniques. A slightly different angle is always good!

Sweeper

For many, Christmas Eve is just another day at work, but you can at least make the best of it.

Young Shopper

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.

Two Coffees

If one coffee is good, I guess two are better!

Walk

Signs like this one let tourists know when it is safe to cross the busy streets. Walk!

Run

Some people run! So many stores—so little time!

Boy Bar

A “Boy Bar”…?

Cowboy Bar Sign

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.

Cowboy Bar Sign

Wind and heat from the bulbs will eventually melt the snow on the sign, but it changed the appearance today.

Bulbs

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.

Museum

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.

Blow Up Santa

I went back to the Town Square just after dark for another take on Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole.

Broadway

Night lights, Christmas decorations, and falling snow transform the exact scenes I had photographed earlier in the day.

The Wort

These lights span Glenwood Street, a block east of the Town Square. You can see the museum wagon in the background.

Snow Flakes

Night time flakes on Glenwood.

Antler Arch

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.

Motion Texter

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.

Cowboy Sculpture

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.

Multi-color Tree

This is the only multi-color tree in the Town Square.

Southeast Corner

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!

Cowboy Bar

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.

Capped Globe

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.

Walking Shoppers

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

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Comments (15)

  1. Beautiful pictures as always Mike. Way to take advantage of the climate. Merry Christmas to you and your wife.

    Mickey and I and a friend are heading up to Lamar Valley January 8th for a week to try to get some winter wildlife photos. Hope the weather gives us a break.

    Aloha, Bud

  2. Blake Marchant

    Mike, thanks for the time and effort you put into Best of the Tetons, your pictures and posts are wonderful and I enjoy them daily. Marry Christmas.

  3. Gayle Heinemann

    Thank you, Mike, for helping to keep me in touch with one of my favorite places in the world. I am in awe of your photographs. I have learned so much about photography and wildlife from your blog. Your knowledge and enthusiasm come through loud and clear. You are an excellent teacher! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. cheryl quaintance

    Your beautiful images of Jackson on Christmas Eve made my Christmas morning. Thank you for sharing your town with us.

  5. Great shots! Snow certainly does give it all a different look. Merry Christmas to you, and yours from Al and I.

  6. Lowell Schechter

    Hi Mike
    I really enjoyed looking at your winter scene photos in Jackson Hole. The snow really makes it for a holiday atmosphere . Wonderful candid photos of the people in town , especially using a long lens to keep that candid feel. Love the signs with the snow on them . Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  7. Craig Knecht

    Mike, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours. I really enjoy seeing your photos and the comments you put with each. We do live in a truly WONDERLAND. See you this Spring at the Old West Days Parade when our Jackson Police Department Citizens Mounted Unit comes out of winter hibernation again.
    Be Well, Craig and Thunder

  8. Paul Biggart

    Merry Christmas from Denver to you and your family Mike!

  9. Marcy Starnes

    have a happy holiday season – the pictures of JH are just beautiful -but cold – much warmer here in Arizona

  10. Mike, another great set of photos. And another great year of photos, another great year of advice and direction for photos in the park, and great instruction for me and my peer mentors. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  11. LaGail West

    Loved looking at the pics of Jackson Hole. They were amazingly beautiful! Very envious of you guys having a white Christmas. Temps reached 76 degrees here today making it feel more like a spring day than Christmas! Your photography is amazing!

  12. Dennis Horn

    Merry Christmas Mike, you captured Christmas in Jackson perfectly. Thank you for a wonderful website.

  13. Bob Gay

    Very nice images, Mike, and it was almost like being there; however, we are down in Florida and your tour of Jackson was very enjoyable.
    Thanks so much!

  14. Beautiful set of images, Mike. The falling snow and absence of wind had to make the night shooting particularly good. There is always that special deadening of the surrounding noise that falling snow brings. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thanks to all the people taking time to comment on this page! Christmas Eve seemed to have a special ambiance this year. I suspect it was simply the gentle, straight down snow, but something pulled me there twice in one day. Maybe it could simply be labeled “The Christmas Spirit”! I hope some of the same Spirit made its way anyone viewing the page. Cheers, Mike Jackson

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