At the entrance to Teton Village, Greg Gross was handing out maps and coupons for the tram ride. Greg is originally from Argyle, Texas, which is a suburb of Dallas. Twenty years ago he made a deal with his children: Rather than getting a lot of Christmas presents, they could go out to Jackson Hole instead. The kids agreed. They did that every year. Then, when the kids were grown and gone, he and his wife moved out to the area for good.
“Look at this place,” he said. “This is my office and everyday God washes the windows.”
A smile stretched across his face as he began talking about how beautiful it was living in the area.
“See that area over there?” he said, pointing to an open spot at the edge of the buildings. “The other day when I got in here a big bull moose was standing there. He jumped over the fence, meandered over through the parking lot, looked around and moved on.”
I asked him how someone affords to live here without being a gazillionaire. He said the key is not living in Teton County. He lives in the next county south and got a house and two acres for less than a third it would cost in town. “I have to drive about 20 miles to get here,” he said, “but I just drive along the Snake River. I see moose and elk every day.”
I asked him about the weather. Beth’s from Texas and she considers anything below 75 to be chilly. Cold starts at 70. Freezing is anything below 65. “You dress for it,” he said. “I tell my friends from Dallas that you can almost get by with jeans and a sweatshirt because the humidity is so low. The humidity is so high in Dallas that you freeze when it gets cold.”
We stood there and talked a while. He takes his snowmobile out into the wilderness during the winter, eats lunch among the pine trees and wildlife and then heads home. You could tell he was happy being here.
“If this isn’t God’s country,” he said, “I don’t know what is.”