Grand Targhee Resort is tucked in its hideaway canyon of Wyoming, is a quieter and uncrowded hidden sibling of the Tetons that ski travelers sometimes overlook. Bad idea. Targhee is a destination in its own right. With a blazing backside view of the Grand Teton, it’s time to bump Targhee up on your must-ski list for six reasons.
1. The Snow
Targhee knows powder. And Targhee skiers know it knows powder. The resort claims a high elevation for the Northern Rockies on the west side of the Teton Mountains. That location delivers the goods: dry powder and volumes of snow.
For visiting skiers from coastal mountains drenched in concrete-type snow, the floating sensation of dry powder can challenge balancing skills. Targhee’s Knowledge is Powder Camps help in converting techniques to master the lighter Teton powder. The three-day camps come in two versions. One explores inbounds glades and bowls while the other tacks on the ultimate powder finale with cat skiing on the last day.
2. Quiet, compared with Jackson Hole
While the Jackson Hole side of the Tetons sees far more people in winter, fewer skiers visit the less-traveled side of Teton Valley. That results in more elbow room, more acreage per skier and more fresh powder to plunder. Except for holidays, lift lines are minimal to none. In short, this is skiing and riding on the quiet side with the same plentiful snowfalls.
Due to fewer crowds, the vibe has a less frenzied feel. Powder stashes abound, so egos aren’t colliding in pursuit of nabbing first tracks. As noted by OnTheSnow’s first hand reports in a week that Targhee garnered 50 inches of powder, a midweek climb up Mary’s Nipple at 2 p.m. still yielded untracked snow to lay down turns.
3. The Scenery
Between storms throwing down powder, skies can clear for a full-on shot of the highest peak in the Tetons. Positioned directly west of the toothy peak, Targhee offers the closest ski resort view of the Grand. For the best views, put these blue runs on your list: Teton Vista Traverse, Painted Pony and Lost Groomer.
4. Nordic Skiing & Fat Biking
For families or skiers with split interests, Targhee offers the convenience of both alpine skiing and Nordic skiing right out the door of lodges—15 kilometers of groomed trails with skate ski lanes and set classic tracks cruise through scenic meadows and aspen-fir forests. Targhee extended its summer mountain biking reputation into winter by being one of the first resorts to allow fat bikes on Nordic trails, conditions permitting.
5. Kid Factor
Kids get elevated in status at Targhee with their own ski zone. But you don’t have to be a kid to ski there. Fun things to see hide in the trees, and sneak routes through the aspens hold terrain thrills. Both are ways for kids to learn proper skiing techniques without the teacher. After skiing, throw the kids in the outdoor heated pool while you enjoy après.
6. Cost Factor; easier on budget than Jackson Hole
For many skiers, getting to Grand Targhee Resort requires flights, either into Jackson Hole or Idaho Falls. The airport locations, about equidistant from the resort, can result in different airfares. Flying into Idaho Falls is generally cheaper than flying into Jackson Hole. But you’ll need to rent a car to get to Grand Targhee. When flying into Jackson Hole, shuttles connect to Targhee, and you don’t need a car once you are at the resort.
For overnighting, Targhee’s base area contains several moderate to inexpensive lodging in the base area. For families parsing out the ski dollars, it’s hard to argue with a lift ticket that runs $20-40 cheaper than many ski areas in the country. As a destination, it’s easier on the budget. Jackson Hole can be termed upscale and Uber-lively. Yet, it’s just 20 miles away and about the same size. Those who love Targhee — they sometimes vial themselves “Targheezers” — could care less about “being seen” and “being upscale.” It’s just that fabulous swatch of Rocky Mountain powder that really matters.