Born from a Dream – The Remarkable Evolution of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

The Beginning

Long before Jackson Hole came on the map as the country’s premier ski destination, even before it was known as the gateway to two of the nation’s most esteemed National Parks, the area existed as a quiet cattle town. The impressive mountains long attracted climbers, hikers and early skiers. Which one 19th century fur trapper called “the most remarkable heights in the great backbone of America.” But, until the mid-1900s, the valley’s permanent residents were chiefly ranchers and hunting guides. Attracted by affordable homestead plots and an abundance of wildlife that produced a steady stream of wealthy East Coast patrons.

It was to this rough-and-tumble community, a middle aged Paul McCollister arrived to in 1957. A “classless society full of class,” said Nathaniel Burt, one of the valley’s first dude ranches. Retired at age 41 from radio advertising in San Francisco’s Bay Area, McCollister relocated with his family to Jackson Hole. Where he had spent a summer in his youth working as a “gentleman rancher” on one of the valley’s cattle operations, some 25 years earlier.

McCollister’s ambitions at the time were more introverted than grandiose. Asked by a colleague what he planned to do in Wyoming, McCollister replied: “I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to play.” And so he did. McCollister purchased a nearly 400-acre ranch north of the Town of Jackson. Which at that time consisted of little more than a few shops, a grocery store, two bars, and a mechanic’s garage. An avid outdoorsman, he soon became president of the Jackson Hole Ski Club. A ragtag organization that trained alpine and Nordic racers after the town’s first ski hill, Snow King, was opened in 1939.

Plan in the Making

It wasn’t long before McCollister began to develop bigger plans. Partnering with Alex Morley, a general contractor from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Who after spending several summers in Jackson Hole during the 1950s relocated to the valley with his family in 1960. McCollister began to survey sites to build a new ski resort. The two considered several locations, including Cache Creek to the east of town and Static Peak in Grand Teton National Park. Which, at the time wasn’t an unlikely proposal. Both Rainer and Rocky Mountain National Parks contained small ski resorts.

Eventually, the men decided on a modest plot of land at the base of Rendezvous Peak on the southern end of the Grand Tetons. A rocky outcrop dotted with a few marshes that didn’t grow much besides mosquitos. The land was not particularly attractive but, it did offer proximity to the Town of Jackson and Wilson. Then, still not more than a small ranching community at the base of the Teton Pass, and an impressive 4,000-plus feet of vertical from summit to base. And, because the Teton Range caught passing weather formations, the area was known to receive some of the valley’s heaviest snowfall.

Read more about the early days of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and their vision for the future in our latest version of Experience Jackson Hole, a lifestyle catalog accompanied by a list of fine properties. Please reach out with any questions.

Experience Jackson Hole | Winter/Spring Catalog of Fine Properties

We are pleased to present Experience Jackson Hole: The Catalog of Fine Properties and Lifestyle for Winter/Spring 2019/2020. Inside readers will find a selection of exceptional homes and properties from Jackson Hole, Star Valley, Teton Valley and the surrounding regions, as well as a look at the organizations, people and culture that make this area such a remarkable destination.

With centuries of combined experience and 11 locations across the Mountain West, our team provides the highest standard of service and an unmatched understanding of the region’s markets. Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates is proud to represent the most buyers and sellers of any real estate brokerage in the region.

Our affiliations with Christie’s International Real Estate and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World provide access to the world’s leading global networks. Coupled with our innovative marketing strategies, Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates provides the greatest exposure for sellers and best opportunities for buyers.

Whether you are in the market, or simply want to learn more about the area, no one knows Jackson Hole and the region better.

We invite you to explore Experience Jackson Hole: The Catalog of Fine Properties and Lifestyle. And, as members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), we can assist you with any property in the region. Please reach out with any questions regarding the ideal Teton lifestyle.

Please Join Us December 11th for Our Holiday Open House

We look forward to seeing you at Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates’ annual Holiday Open House. We will be there with bells on. Please reach out with any questions.


Jackson Hole Mounted Police

At Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, our commitment to community is a cornerstone of all we do. We strive to always put people first and to give back and honor this remarkable area we call home.

This year we launched our Community Grants Program—the only philanthropic matching initiative offered by a real estate brokerage in the region. The purpose is simple: To support our agents’ tireless dedication to the places we live and love.

Over just the past four months, the Community Grants Program has donated more than $8,000 to support local non-profits with which the JHREA team is involved. That adds to the more than $1.75 million in philanthropic giving Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates has made over the years and more than 20,000 hours of community service the team has volunteered.

Not bad for a brokerage that was founded at the height of the Great Recession. In 2009, the country’s financial markets were in turmoil, still reeling from the mortgage collapse a year prior. Property prices were in limbo with lenders reluctant to issue loans and buyers and sellers cautious about the direction of the economy.

But where others saw uncertainty, Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates saw opportunity. Drawing on our team’s centuries of combined experience, our brokerage ventured forward with an honest mission: To empower our clients, community and neighbors with the highest levels of service, the greatest market insight and unmatched professionalism.

That people-first philosophy not only helped us weather the tough times—it propelled us as the region’s leading brokerage. Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates proudly represents the most buyers and sellers of any real estate company in the area. And we continually aim to raise the bar further, through innovative technologiescutting-edge marketing solutions and the world’s largest global network.

Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates is pleased to be the most philanthropic real estate brokerage in the most philanthropic region in the country. It’s not about us—it’s about a commitment to what makes this area remarkable. We have always put people first, and it makes all the difference. Contact us to learn why Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates is the region’s leading brokerage.

The Jackson Hole Community Truck – Christy and Garth Gillespie

IMG_6993Christy and Garth Gillespie recently moved to Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates – Christie’s International Real Estate – and we “moved” the Jackson Hole Community Truck with us!  We know the value our truck brings to the valley so we want to make sure you have the information available to reserve the truck.

If you are not sure what the Jackson Hole Community Truck is….well about 8 years ago Christy and Garth Gillespie thought about a way that we could make a positive impact in our community.  Jackson has so many non-profits and we tried to think of a way that we could support most of them.  We came up with the idea of a Community Truck and to allow all non-profits the use of it for what ever they need.  Moving supplies, setting up for a function, helping a needy family or changing office locations it is available for all.

During the past 8 years the truck has been used at least 100 days of each year to all sorts of individuals and non-profits.  Every year we also ask for supporters/sponsors of the truck and in 2014 we’d like to thank — First Interstate Bank, Jackson Hole Title and Escrow, All American Home Inspections and Albertson’s for their generous support.

To use the truck call the Community Truck Hotline at 307-732-7614, call Garth at 307-413-5243 or email us at

The Gillespie Community Truck – Jackson Hole Non-Profits and Customers

Drvr Side w-truck-e

The Gillespie Community Truck

Reserving and Using The Gillespie Community Truck

  1. Call at 307-732-7614 to schedule the date(s) you wish to use the truck.  Please call a few days in advance.
  2. Arrange a time with Garth, Christy or Bailey to pick up the key and fill out the paperwork.
  3. Bring your driver’s license and insurance card so copies can be made when you pick up the key.  If there will be additional drivers, please be sure to bring a copy of their license and insurance.
  4. Fill out Rental Agreement Forms and Safety Qualification.
  5. Make sure the gas tank is full before you use the truck.  The prior driver should have filled up the tank.
  6. Please bring back the truck in the condition you received it in with the gas tank filled to the Wort parking lot.
  7. Drop off the keys along with a check for the $20/day donation fee made out to “Garth and Christy Gillespie” unless your association has agreed they would like to include the “Gillespie Community Truck” in a “thank you” advertisement.

Garth and Christy Gillespie

Jackson Hole Real Estate Assoc. – Sales Associate


Time to Update Your Home

The was an interesting article in Thursday’s Jackson Hole Daily, written by Tram Whitehurst.  The article helped explain an excellent opportunity for homeowners to receive cheap loans to improve home energy efficiency.

The program is initiated by the Jackson Hole Energy Sustainability Project allows homeowners in Teton County to upgrade things like old windows, insufficient insulation and could possibly be used to add solar panels to their homes.  The current loan limit is $7,500 but is expected to rise as more funds become avaialble. 

To qualify all you have to do is own a home or townhome, have good payment history, use electric and schedule a home audit by a Lower Valley employee.  Christy and I just went through this process this winter and it was a wonderful program.  We took advantage of repair credits (another Lower Valley program) verse the low interest loans and were suprised by so many areas that our home could use attention in bettering our energy efficiency. 

Homeowners who qualify and receive the loans have up to 5 years to repay.  To schedule a home audit simply call Lower Valley at 307-733-2446 or visit its website at

Jackson Hole Mentioned As One of the Top Ski Towns In the World









National Geographic just listed their top ski towns in the world and guess who is there — Jackson Hole!  Here is the article: 

There are some great towns listed but we believe the Best Ski Town is Jackson, Wyoming!

For more information on our wonderful town or real estate market please contact us at 307-413-5243 or email Garth and Christy at

New Flights to Jackson Hole!

Jackson Hole, Wyo.
United will add service to Jackson Hole from both its San Francisco and Houston hubs. The Houston service begins June 8 and will feature two weekly flights on Boeing 757 jets. The San Francisco service starts July 1 and will be operated daily by United Express partner SkyWest on Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jets. Both routes run through Aug. 27. In its release, United notes Jackson Hole’s proximity to both Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. United also flies to Jackson Hole from its hubs in Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

To learn more about flight schedules coming and going to Jackson Hole please feel free to contact the Jackson Hole Experts – Christy and Garth Gillespie – at 307-413-5243 or email us at