Once home only to potato farmers and skiers priced out of Jackson Hole, 20 miles over a steep, tortuous mountain pass away, Teton Valley, Idaho has come into its own. The Valley, called Pierre’s Hole back when the eastern side of the Tetons was still Jackson’s Hole, is now a hotbed for foodies, artists, and of course, skiers.
Victor, the valley’s southern-most town, is close to the western base of Teton Pass. Driggs, mid-valley, is where you turn—at the only stoplight in the valley—to head up into the mountains and to Grand Targhee, where lodging/lift ticket packages cost less than what lift tickets alone run you at most other resorts. Here’s a three-day itinerary to get the most out of the area.
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“The Grand” breakfast burrito at Snorkels, a snowball’s throw from Grand Targhee’s Dreamcatcher high-speed quad, comes by its name honestly: sausage and bacon with eggs, hash browns and other yumminess. Pair it with a cup of Great Northern coffee or espresso and you’ll be sated until well into the afternoon.
Properly fueled with caffeine and carbs, it’s time to hit the snow. Targhee gets over 500 inches of light, dry snow a year and the vast majority of its terrain is intermediate. What does that mean? Conditions are almost always soft (or at least softish) and you don’t really ever need to worry about finding yourself unexpectedly atop a cliff or steep couloir. Still, let’s start on the groomers off of the Dreamcatcher quad.
The intermediate runs off the Dreamcatcher high-speed quad are wide open and well-groomed. Photo Courtesy of Grand Targhee Resort.
We’ve yet to find a ski resort that doesn’t have at least one beautiful vista from somewhere within its boundaries. The view of the western side of the Tetons from atop Dreamcatcher might be the best at any U.S. resort though. Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes to soak it in. You won’t be alone.
When you’re ready for lunch, head to the Branding Iron in Targhee’s intimate base area. It’s got a fairly diverse menu, but we only have eyes for the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger. It is as odd and delicious as it sounds.
Peanut Butter Bacon Burger devoured, explore the northern side of Fred’s Mountain via the Blackfoot lift. If there’s been any new snow in the past several days, the black diamond runs to skier’s right from the top—Powder Cache, Lost Warrior, Raven Wood—should still be skiing well.
When exhaustion sets in, there’s only one place to go: The Trap Bar. The Trap always has garlic fries, Wydaho nachos and wings, and most days also has live music. The latter could be anything from a solo acoustic guitarist to a full rocking band. Order the bar’s signature drink, a Targhini, sit back, sip and enjoy.
Targhee’s 2,000-some inbound acres are enough to keep you busy for three days. But because they have a 600-acre private powder reserve on Peaked Mountain exclusively for SnowCat Adventures, you’re going to treat yourself to that today. The average snowcat run is 2,000 feet and if you sign up for a full day, you can expect to rack up around 20,000 vertical feet.
You could also do a half-day of snowcat skiing and then spend the afternoon hiking up 600-some vertical feet to the summit of Mary’s Nipple. Mary’s gives you not only great views, but also access to expert terrain.
Targhee's small base village is part of its charm. You won't find fancy hotels, but there are comfortable condos, a log lodge, a hot tub, ski shop, general store, a bar and a couple of restaurants. Photo Courtesy of Grand Targhee Resort.
When your day is done, head for the outdoor heated hot tub and pool that all guests staying in Grand Targhee owned/managed properties have access to. Both are saltwater and absolutely divine.
This season, Targhee became the first ski resort in the U.S. to welcome snow bikers on its Nordic trails. The resort maintains 10 miles of gently rolling trails that meander though pine forests and meadows. You can rent a bike at the resort, or, if you’re looking for an excuse to get down into Teton Valley, at Fitzgerald’s Bikes in Victor.
Teton Valley is a hotbed for snow biking. Grand Targhee held a snow bike race in mid-January on their Nordic trails. There are miles of groomed trails down in the valley too. Photo Courtesy of Grand Targhee Resort.
Not interested in snow biking? Targhee’s Nature Center offers free 1.5-hour naturalist guided snowshoe hikes daily.
After snow biking or snowshoeing, you should take a trip down into Teton Valley. The owner of Driggs’ Café Saigon grew up cooking Vietnamese food in Southern California and the present chef is from Vietnam via Salt Lake. A couple of blocks away, warm up in front of the fire at Pendl’s Bakery and enjoy a flaky linzer torte, nussknacker, or zigneuer. Guchiebirds sells the work of 150 artisans—many of them local; in the back of the shop, Chuck Spray makes acoustic guitars out of walnut, rosewood and koa.
With three days in the books, it’s now your turn to experience Targhee’s plentiful snow and Teton Valley’s art, music and dining in the land of potato farmers.
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