This is where Justin Timberlake finally popped the question to Jessica Biel…but can you date here?
First off, I want to give a round of applause — or four — to Jessica Biel. Sister, you held out and got your man. Sure, you also had to deal with a short-lived breakup, Justin Timberlake‘s roving eye and his arrogant behavior, but you’re now engaged so wahoo! The prize is yours. But no, I’m not going to hate on their relationship here. I’m going to discuss the place of said proposal, a spot so romantic that it finally inspired the marriage-shy singer to present his long-suffering beloved with a gigantic diamond ring. What is it about Jackson Hole, Wyoming that brought out the romance in JT…and, more importantly, will single ladies have any luck finding a ski bum of their own?
Let’s look at the facts. Jackson Hole was voted the #1 ski town in America by Skiing magazine in 2004 for a reason. It’s virtually untouched, chock-full of activities and utterly beautiful. With constantly falling snow as a landscape, it’s hard not to find romance if you’re looking for it in the form of a big, roaring fireplace or moonlit walks in the snow. There’s even — get this — sleigh rides in the National Elk Refuge, which to me sounds like the for real version of a carriage ride through Central Park.
Athletic couples also like to head here for the skiing, of course. Jackson Hole has one of the lowest base elevations of any ski resort area in the Rocky Mountains, at just 6,311 feet. The surrounding area also has the longest continuous vertical rise of any mountain town in the US: 4,139 feet from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, with a 55-passenger aerial tram that transports skiers from bottom to top in 12 minutes.
It’s also pretty damn private. On an average day at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, there are only 1,750 skiers spread out over 2,500 acres of terrain.
OK then, so what about the singletons among us? Why should we head to Jackson Hole?
Um…in a word: MEN. The ratio is 7:1 — or 127.4 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. That makes it the third best in the nation to get a guy based on the numbers alone. So you should get packing! Right?
Wrong. I was all prepared to pack up my snowboarding goggles (many thanks to my ex, Jeremy), Obermeyer ski pants and jacket until I read a hilarious — yet unfortunate — blog called The Odds are Good, but the Goods are Odd. It is only unfortunate because the twenty-something gal in question says the boys of winter suck so hard.
Here’s what this cynical (yet probably very astute) gal has to say (note the vernacular below…it might come in handy!):
Most of these men are handsome, athletic, adventurous, really good at dating, and terrible at relationships. The thing for mountain women is that while there are plenty of men to go around, the overwhelming majority of them have no clue how to be in a relationship with anyone or thing other than their skis/kayak/climbing gear/Toyota truck/dog/Playstation/beer mug/Carharts/fly rod/snowboard/ski porn/boating porn/fishing porn/off-season trip, hence the commonly used phrase: The Odds are Good, but the Goods are Odd.
My plan for this blog is to chronicle this for those of you who need a laugh, have no idea what I’m talking about, or who are bored. I’ll start with basic vocabulary and then we’ll go from there.
Local: Term used to describe anyone who has local license plates and who has lived there for longer than 90 days. Most locals like to tell you how long he/she has lived there, i.e.: “I’ve lived here for 34 years.” Or, “I moved here winter of 96/97 when it went off — best pow this Valley has seen.”
Brew Pub Guy: Term used to describe the 30 to 85-year-old, single, (usually carpenters or ski patrol) men who tend to frequent the local watering hole (ie: the brewery). If available, these men have their own mugs adorned with their number, name, and stickers. “Oh, he’s a brew pub guy — you know the type.”
90-Day-Wonder: Term used for college students (usually rich Southern kids, who drive huge SUVs and smoke cigs) who come out West to work for a summer (“90 Days”). “Oh here come the 90-day-wonders… let’s just hope they don’t try to come to the pub,” says every brew pub guy in early May. (Exceptions to this are “hot” 90-day-wonders, who brew pub guys especially like because there’s usually no chance she will stick around for longer than 3 months, thus ensuring the brew pub guy’s fun summer fling without the promise of an actual relationship.)
Bro/Brah: – Does not necessarily refer to one’s brother, but instead to one’s friend. “Bro, that ride was off the hook!” “Brah” is another form of the “Bro” term.
Sick: – Refers to something that is above and beyond what is normal or expected. “That surf was sick, bro.”
Steez: – Is synonymous with “style” and is typically used by snowboarders when referring to one another’s outfits. ”Bro, your steez is sick!”
Gnar: – Refers to some terrain that is sick. “Dude, I came straight from the sicky-sick gnar to the bar, brah.”
Schralp/Rip/Shred: – Typically used when describing one’s activities, usually involving the gnar. “Bro, I schrapled the gnar this morning on the pass and then shredded the KTP.”
Pow: – Means powder, as in snow, usually in high amounts. “The pow was deeeeeeep, bro.”
Stitch and Bitch: – Refers to an all-women knitting session during which the members recount their horrific, but often comical dating experiences while drinking copious amounts of wine and knitting hats for one another. The term can also be used to cover any all-female event during which women bitch about men and drink alcohol. “Girl, that guy from the pub the other night never called me, but then tried to get me to take a tram lap with him… WTF? We need a stitch and bitch soon… this crap is driving me crazy.”
Conversely, a guy-based site called JHunderground also offers an ‘interesting’ perspective on the Jackson Hole dating scene. A female ‘cougar’ writes in to discuss what she not-so-fondly refers to as ‘Baby Man Syndrome.’
BABY MAN SYNDROME: (noun)
Characterized by young, single men, specifically between the ages of 29 and 37, who have made the conscious decision to live in Jackson Hole, ski, have successfully eluded all stereotypical adult male behavior such as marriage, children, six-figure incomes, mortgages, fancy cars and golf. There is an epidemic of Baby Man Syndrome in Jackson, and it has many a furrowed-brow professional in deep thought. (mmmmm.) Baby Men are darling, they are hot, and they are everywhere.
As you nod your head, we thought it a good use of time to investigate and discuss in detail this phenomenon. Knowledge and identification are the first steps to a successful interaction and, ultimately, a rewarding relationship. Our research, which is nowhere near complete, has given us these observations:
Baby Men love to ski. They have given up everything to be in Jackson Hole. They moved here from all over the country, although some just stayed after the boys’ ski trip in college.
They rent little houses, and many have curly hair, though most don’t brush their hair so it just looks sort of messy. They have hairless bodies that are rippled with six-packs and eight-packs, and broad shoulders with tattoos of all shapes and sizes. (Additional research is needed to understand if they were born hairless, lost it, or if it will grow later when they get bigger.)
Baby Men are very smart. They spend time alone, which seems to lead them to a great deal of introspection and self-discovery, or maybe it’s just all the pot they smoke. Regardless, they are hot.
Baby Men have interesting jobs. They are ski instructors, bartenders, drivers, cooks, dog watchers and caretakers; they are very busy. We are not exactly sure what they do with their day when there is no snow. Early analysis suggests they do a great deal of relaxing or “chill-axing,” which is a combination of chilling and relaxing.
Baby Men love music. Most have iPods with their favorite selections, which they may play at various times as a means by which to communicate their feelings. Genius!
Baby Men instinctively seek out women in their late 30s or 40s, who are commonly called “cougars.” This works well as cougars have the same mating season as Baby Men – all the time.
Baby Men are very comfortable with their sexuality. They seem to have done research as a species on how to lure, capture and conquer their prey, thus turning her into a purring kitty.
Baby Men love to travel. They go to places like South America, Baja, Mexico and Alaska. Most of these trips surround a sports activity like paragliding, surfing, hunting and, of course, pot smoking. (Our professionals are considering an expedition with the Baby Men to observe their behavior in this foreign habitat.)
Baby Men have a unique language. The word “sick” means good, and “dude” is an inter-gender description, not a person on a guest ranch.
Baby Men text. This is a very important way to communicate. However, our experts are worried they may have future spelling and punctuation issues.
Baby Men can’t dance. Primarily because their shoes have rubber soles, and most have rather large feet for the size of their bodies. However, their “lids,” or little knit caps, make up for it! (oooooh.)
Baby Men recycle. This is something taken very seriously. If you are ever caught throwing a wine bottle in the trash you will see a spark of contempt. We recommend you recycle extensively, including cardboard.
Baby Men eat well. They love to “make lunch.” This is quite interesting to observe as it occurs in the middle of the day and seems to cause them great joy. They love burritos and tacos and oftentimes will have a beer, but this is rare, as the afternoon sports activity must be achieved with only pot smoking, not drinking, which is much worse.
If you ever have the opportunity to be part of their natural environment, we highly recommend you take advantage and spend many days and nights with them. They are beautiful, intelligent, very sexy, funny and in our opinion have lived their lives the right way.
Last, but not least, please read this piece from Nancy Miller. She and a female friend took a trip to JH in 2006 — and her piece is fantastic. She, like me, is an Angeleno (though I am not one by birth. Whattup Rhode Island!). She, like me, loves men.
Nancy says that she got a ton of numbers, but ultimately, failing to find her future husband came down to one thing and one thing only: she and the men she was meeting were too different to last.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
She writes: “As we head to the airport Monday morning, our pockets overflowing with scribbled-on cocktail napkins, we are elated–and exhausted. The men of Jackson are a pleasure to look at and a whole lot of fun, but I never did meet that future husband. And it makes sense: Back in the real world, I’m a stiletto-sporting Angeleno who won’t even bother to hike two blocks to my favorite café. What would I have in common, long-term, with one of these mountain climbers, who are far more interested in L.L. Bean? My brief stint as nature babe was fun while it lasted.”
And there you have it. Sorry ladies, but if you don’t love the mountain or the cold, you ain’t going to find the love of your life in Jackson Hole.