Winter ascents in the Teton Mountains require technical ice climbing with remote approaches. But a new ice park on the west side of the range offers a place to learn ice climbing with easy access. Teton Ice Park launched last winter at Grand Targhee Resort, presenting a new challenge for vacationing skiers.

Teton Ice Park is located less than a 10-minute walk from the base area of Grand Targhee. It features 40-foot vertical cliffs as well as gentle ice slopes where all climbers are top-roped for safety. Christian Santelices, owner of Aerial Boundaries that operates the park, constructs the waterfall ice using a water tanker truck that feeds 1,000 feet of pipe leading to low-flow shower heads.

The result is a cascade of ice that works for beginner and experienced ice climbers alike. But beginners don't start out on the vertical cliff. "The broken lower-angled terrain at the bottom is good for teaching people how to use their feet and axes," Santelices told us. "The terrain really features a good progression for learning."

The venue presents the perfect playground for those who want to dance up the ice in preparation for winter mountaineering in the Tetons or for beginners who want to learn the technique. Day passes for those with their own gear and experience cost $20 per person.

Aerial Boundaries offers instruction in ice climbing at Teton Ice Park. Private guided instruction is available for half or full days. "We can really teach a comprehensive class in a full day while the half day gives just a taste," said Santelices.

Rates vary by the number of climbers with an instructor and include the technical equipment needed for ice climbing. Full-day programs depart from the main plaza at Grand Targhee at 8:15 a.m. for six to eight hours on the ice. Full days cost $360 for one climber. Rates drop to $240 per climber for two people and $180 per climber for three people.

Half-day trips depart at 8:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. for three to four hours. Rates begin at $225 for one climber, but drop to $150 per climber for two people and $125 per climber for three people. 

Reservations requiring a deposit are needed for instructional programs. Contact Aerial Boundaries at the Teton Ice Park for bookings. Aerial Boundaries operates as a concessionaire of Grand Targhee Resort.

More information. Or call 307-690-1385.