This site is a collection of updates and stories relating to Signal Mountain Lodge, feel free to join the conversation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Farewell to Summer 2012

It's hard to believe the 2012 season is already at an end! This has been one of the best summers yet, and we'd just like to thank all of our staff and guests who helped to make it that way. The changing seasons always bring out our sentimental side, carrying with them a collection of warm and fuzzy memories to keep us warm throughout the long, long winter.

Like the 7th annual SML Staff Olympics

 Or the time this happened

Or another year of Inter-Park Softball
 Or of course,  the time last May when all these folks showed up. (We couldn't have run the place without them!)

Thanks again everyone! We'll see you next year!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Who says there's no culture in Wyoming?

At SML, we endeavor to give our employees as many opportunities as possible to experience all of the fun and excitement that this amazing part of the country has to offer. This includes outdoor adventures like hikes and float trips as well as cultural events in the Jackson Hole community. No event exemplifies this latter category better than the Grand Teton Music Festival. Now in its 51st season, the festival brings top classical musicians from all over the United States and Canada, some for just a few days or weeks at a time, to create incredible, world class performances in the shadow of the Tetons.

The festival presents full scale orchestral performances on the weekends and chamber music concerts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, "Spotlight Concerts" showcase ecclectic acts from a vareity of genres from bluegrass to Gypsy jazz, to Brazilian guitar music. The Tuesday night chamber concerts are especially unique, in part because they are free, but also because the program is tied together by a lively informational talk on everything from the lives of particular composers, to instrument mechanics, to the contemporary critical reception of certain pieces.

Last night, a group of 15 SML employees attended the "Inside the Music" concert entitled Problem Child, featuring pieces by Mozart, Cage, Vaughn Williams, and Martin. The show managed to be emotionally moving as well as intellectually edifying and we'd just like to give an online shout-out to the Grand Teton Music Festival, congratulating them on another amazing season and thanking them for making high art available to those with limited means : ) We'd like to encourage anyone reading the blog whose considering attending a GTMF performance, DO IT.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adventures on the Snake River

There are definitely perks to being part of the Forever Resorts family. Our recent acquisition of a gently used 15 passenger van has enabled us to extend off-property activities to more employees than ever before and we have been taking full advantage of it! On Tuesday, 7/17, a lucky group of SML staff members had the opportunity to go whitewater rafting with our sister company, Mad River. Our adventure began at the Mad River headquarters in Jackson. A bright green, propane fuled bus drove us about 30 minutes to the put in in the Sanke River Canyon. We donned sunscreen and life jackets and listened to a few words about safety, and then we were off!

Since most of the spring melt water has dissapated and the river is no longer running high, Mad River is using smaller rafts to make their whitewater trips more thrilling. I can say from experience that the ride on an 8 passenger raft is much more exciting than that of an 18 passenger one. Our guides, Jimmy and Ben, were very knowledgeable and made us feel confident and safe while still making sure that everyone got thoroughly soaked. (Jimmy managed to throw all but one of his passengers into the river at the same time!) The eight mile trip took just under two hours and we arrived at the pull out soggy but elated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Things are heating up at SML

Unusually warm and dry weather has given way to tinder-dry conditions throughout the Bridger Teton National Forest (and most of the Mountain West, actually). 2012 brought us the driest June in over 60 years! July has blown in with significantly more precipitation, but it all comes in the form of thunderstorms, bringing lightning to ignite the parched forest. Hundreds of thousands of acres of beetle-killed trees only exacerbate the situation, increasing exponentially the amount of hazardous fuels. At present, two major fires are burning in the BT: the Fontenelle fire, at over 64,000 acres is south of Jackson near the towns of Afton and Big Piney. The Bear Cub fire is closer to home, but smaller--a smouldering 6,420 acres up on Togwotee Pass.
Of course, wildfire is part of the forest's natural life cycle of destruction and renewal. Did you know that lodgepole pine cones only open to release their seeds when heated to around 180 degrees F?
At SML, we remain content to follow the news updates of the fires, try to limit outdoor activity on particularly smokey days, and give thanks daily to be surrounded on two sides by water.

For the latest information about fires throughout the region (including some incredible pics of the Fontenelle Fire!) visit www.inciweb.org
A recent stormy July evening

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's that time again!!!

The London games may still be weeks away, but behind the scenes at Signal, the SML 2012 Staff Olympics are in full force! Staff members are grouped into teams by department and compete in events like running, chess, horseshoes, volleyball, and more! It's a great bonding time for everyone and something our returning staffers look forward to every summer.

At right, Lodging Manager Todd and housekeeper Dan celebrate their bocce ball victory.

Below: racers and spectators from the running relay

Monday, June 11, 2012


Ann is often inspired by small details and interesting textures.

For this week's post, we'd like to shine our online spotlight on one of our newest staff members, busser Ann Jens. Ann is a gifted photographer and has made it her project to show us a side of SML life we might otherwise miss. I sat down with her recently to learn more about her passion for photography and what we can expect from her in the coming months.

SML: Where are you from?
AJ:    Sheboygan Falls, WI, but I was born in India.
SML: What brought you to the Tetons?
AJ:    One of my oldest friends from back home (since 6th grade!) has worked here for the past few summers and convinced me to come out.
SML: How did you get interested in photography?
AJ:    Way back in 2007---I think it was 2007; I was about 14---I was taking pictures at my cousin's wedding. The pictures were just for fun,
         but the bride's family ended up using most of them.
SML: Did they pay you for them?
AJ:    No.
SML: What inspires you to take photographs?
AJ:    It's a way for me to express myself. I like to try and find a different way of seeing something and share that view with others.

SML: You seem to like to experiment with a lot of different subjects. Is there a difference between your approach to photographing people and
          photographing scenery or still objects?

AJ:    Well, you need to get permission from people to use their photographs. You don't need permission from mountains and fences.
SML: What would you say is your biggest challenge as a photographer?
AJ:    The biggest challenge is getting people to take a second or third look and see what you're trying to portray in the picture. If someone is
         moved to look again or look longer, I know I've succeeded in showing them what I saw.
SML: Is there a  particular goal you're working towards right now?
AJ:    I'm studying photography in college right now. My dream is to one day shoot for National Geographic.

Ann has a unique ability to capture bodies in motion. We rely on her to document all of our athletic adventures. Unfortunately she's a bit camera shy herself!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some highlights from the 2012 Deadman's Bar opening party....

Gary and Bill demonstrate how bar opening is a great opportunity for staff to connect with long-time patrons in a casual atmosphere.

Bar Manager Mark works hard

Old and new employees celebrate the start of a new season!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Today's the day!


This is it, folks. Signal Mountain Lodge opens for the 2012 season today at 12 pm. Our lodging units are fully operational as is the Signal Mountain Lodge Campground. (Lizard Creek doesn't open until June 8th.) We've been working really hard these past couple of weeks to get everything ready and we're so excited to welcome our guests, as well as to embark on another summer of adventuring, making merry, and making memories.

The Convenience Store has already been open for a week on a shortened schedule, but your one stop shop for gas, groceries, and all those little necessities you forgot or never knew you needed will be operating from 7 am to 10 pm starting today.
The Timbers and Needles gift stores open tomorrow, May 12 at 8 am. They operate seven days a week from 8 am to 9 pm until May 26 when they begin extending their hours until 10 pm.
The Trapper Grill opens today from noon to 10 pm, and begins regular season hours of operation tomorrow. Breakfast is from 7-11am, and the Lunch/Dinner menu will be available from 11 am to 10 pm.
The Peaks dining room opens tonight from 5:30 pm until 10.
Deadman's Bar opens today at 2:30 pm. Regular season hours of operation are 2:30-midnight on weekdays and noon to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Weeks Away! Three Weeks Away! (and two days)

It's almost here! The GRAND OPENING of Signal Mountain Lodge for the 2012 season is three weeks, two days, two hours, and ten-ish minutes away from right now. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. There is a plate of hot, crispy, garlic-smothered sweet potato fries with my name on it. (perhaps a margarita as well....)

We're very excited to welcome the first guests of the season. In May we have the pleasure of hosting some of our most dedicated customers. We take great pride in nurturing these long standing relationships and happily anticipate the establishment of new traditions when locals and tourists alike have the opportunity to experience Signal during this unique, often quiet but always interesting time of year. Be sure to make your reservations for Mother's Day brunch as soon as possible!

There's so much to look forward to once things get going! The Signal and Leeks Marinas open for business May 19th, and with as warm as the weather has been in recent weeks, chances are very good for a nearly ice-free Jackson Lake by that date. (At least that's what Grizzly 399 told me--she's awake and ready to face another summer of relentless paparazzi.) I for one can't wait to paddle my kayak out to the middle of the lake and take advantage of a front row seat for staring up at the Tetons.

The one bit of sad news: Leeks Pizzeria doesn't open until May 25th. It may seem like a terribly long time to wait right now, but think of it as an opportunity to try some of the other pies in the area. You might as well appreciate them for what they're worth now, because come May 25th you'll have no use for them whatsoever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As promised, a photo from this year's amazing Nacho Night!

from left: Margaret, Caroline, Megan, Crista, Kelsy, and Phyllis

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hibernation is for bears (and blogs!)

Hello Friends,

It's already half past March and the blog is just now crawling out of its cave, rubbing the sleep crusties from its eyes, and heading out to face the new year. However, the fine year-round staff at Signal Mountain Lodge have been hard at work for months now, getting ready for the 2012 season. Opening day is less than two months away! Phones are ringing, papers are shuffling, coffee is flowing, and shovels are shoveling.

It's not all mindless drudgery though--March 2nd brought the 24th annual Nacho Night, benefiting Moose Corner Daycare. It was a grand success, as always, and heartwarming photos will be forthcoming. In the meantime, let's take a moment to get to know Margaret Landberg, our new Human Resources Manager. Margaret enjoys running, crossword puzzles, and making people's summer dreams come true.