Hmmm.... You did not say how you'll be traveling or whether or not you are at all familiar with this area. That would help frame the discussion a bit.
If you have not spent any time in that part of the world, the scale and lack of development will most likely stun you. As will the scenery. If you are heading out from Cody, away from Billings, think in terms of driving for hours and maybe seeing 3 gas stations, maybe one of which has a quick-mart. This in weather that can be some of the nost extreme in the US. If you drive anything besides a Ford, Chevy or Dodge, service could be a long,long, way away... I'm exaggerating a bit, but not much. If you have not driven in that part of the world, be aware there are real safety issues. Especially in winter. Unless things have changed since I spent time there, water, candles, snacks, blankets, shovels, sand bags, etc. are all wise things to carry in winter in that neck of the woods.
The reality is that there is not much of anything close to Cody by east coast or midwest standards. This is even more true when winter distorts time and space in that part of the world by making many roads impassable (either because they are closed or because it's an intelligence test). In the summer, you'd spend 5-ish hours getting to Jackson (assuming you wanted to ignore the sights in Yellowstone National Park). In winter??? Depends on the year.
All that said, there are some interesting areas within reach. Red Lodge is a couple hours or so away. I've never skied it, but it has a reasonably fierce reputation with respect to terrain. 2400 feet of vertical. Antelope Butte is a local/regional area in the Big Horns. A thousand feet of vertical. It could be a pretty interesting & fun place to check out. Don't let the smallish vertical at Antelope Butte fool you. The Big Horns are some of the least known and most impressive mountains in the country (IMHO). The scenery will blow your mind. My wife, who knows the area well, assures me that the ski area is fun. Both Red Lodge and Antelope Butte supposedly are having a good snow year. There also seems to be a little local ski joint in Cody. I do not know of anywhere else that would be easy to get to .
To hit any bigger "name" resorts, you'd probably want to head to Bozeman & continue on to check out Big Sky, Bridger, etc. Based on the winter driving issues mentioned above, I'd probably pass on trying to reach Jackson. Especially via the "south" route from Cody. BTW - forget the route through the park in the winter - the one Yahoo maps would tell you to take
If you do get crazy and try to hit Jackson, warm up at Targhee - you can look up all my other "Targhee is great" posts via search.
Your post got me thinking about getting in and out of Cody. Air service has sort of come and gone over the years. Poked around on the web & it looks like they actually have air service again - through Salt Lake City. If you are traveling by air, think about stopping in SLC and hitting the Park City resorts. Huge range of terrain for all levels of skiing. All easily accessible. Nice services in the area. If you somehow got bored, no shortage of other areas nearby.
Another random thought - tons of wilderness/backcountry near Cody. I suspect the locals hit Sunlight Basin & other nearby areas a ton. If you can find qualified safety minded folks you can probably find some pretty cool stuff to do (vanilla XC, telemark, randonee). Don't know how overrun it is with snowmobiles these days...
Finally, if you visit Cody, be sure to check out the historic bar and the museum.
Hope this ramble was of some use...[ January 22, 2004, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: spindrift ]