The Ultimate Guide to Gaper Day in Jackson Hole
If your second home isn’t on the slopes, you may not have ever heard of this zany unofficial holiday but fear not— we’ve got everything you need to know in this Guide to Gaper Day in Jackson Hole!
Gaper Day is a spring right of passage for both locals and visitors alike. Typically occurring on or around April Fool’s Day (April 1st), Gaper Day is a time when the snow begins to melt, temperatures start to warm, and the resorts celebrate the end of another successful season.
The term “Gaper” refers to an amateur skier or snowboarder who is absolutely clueless. It’s an acronym that means “Guaranteed Accident Prone on Every Run” and is often used light-heartedly to poke fun at those who fit the description. Gapers may also be referred to as Jerry, Joey, or Gorb. In fact, the manufacturing industry and retail ski stores have even coined the phrase “Gaper Gap” or “Gorby Gap” to describe the gap between the bottom of your helmet and the top of your goggles. The bigger the gap, the bigger “Gaper” you are!
Legend has it that Gaper Day can be traced back to the 80s and 90s on the last day of ski season (usually April 1st). Originally known as “ski in jeans day,” snow park junkies and beginners alike began skiing in jeans, and the holiday evolved and grew in popularity from there. According to the Whistler Mountain Museum, historians say that in 1996, jeans began to morph into any and all retro outfits and costumes, poking fun at novice skiers. Soon after, the name was changed to Gaper Day.
So, what exactly is Gaper Day? It’s not so much a holiday as it is a way of being. On this day, locals can dress in the most ridiculous outfits and pretend to be like their Gaper counterparts. Skiers can embrace their kooky side, and real-life Gapers can blend in with skiers disguised as Gapers. On Gaper Day, you don’t have to take things too seriously, and you can just enjoy the fun of it all while surrounded by all your friends.
Joining in on the festivities is easy, but there are a few essentials that you’ll need to maximize your fun. First, you’ll need a wacky outfit. Think neon colors, mullet wigs, onesies, or 80s-inspired ski clothes. Anything goes as long as you wear your gear with confidence. Second, you’ll need a desire to shred. Gaper Day isn’t a day to stand on the sidelines, although if that’s your speed, it’s quite alright. Just be prepared to watch in amazement. A season of practice culminates in this all-out showcase of talent. Lastly, bring plenty of enthusiasm. This is not your average day on the slopes. The excitement is contagious, the energy palpable, and the enthusiasm radiates for miles. Come ready to cheer, yell, high-five, and partake in the overall liveliness of the weekend.
As a little side note, adding this activity to your itinerary in Jackson Hole alongside everyone’s favorite activity, shooting with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, would be an excellent decision. So start planning your trip and see for yourself why nobody does Gaper Day better than Jackson Hole.