Grand Targhee Resort, tucked in its hideaway canyon of Wyoming, is a quieter and uncrowded sibling of the Tetons that ski travelers should never overlook. Targhee is a destination in its own right. It’s overtime to bump Targhee up on your must-ski list for six reasons.
1. The pow
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 heavy 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 to Jackson Hole
The Jackson Hole side of the Tetons sees far more visitors in winter than the less-traveled side of Teton Valley. That results in more elbow room, more acreage per skier, and more fresh powder to plunder. Liftlines are minimal to none, except for holidays. In a nutshell: This is skiing and riding on the quiet side, but with the same plentiful snowfalls.
The vibe has a more relaxed feel. Powder stashes abound, so there’s no battle for nabbing first tracks. In a week that Targhee garnered 50 inches of powder, a midweek climb up Mary’s Nipple at 2 p.m. will likely still yield untracked snow to lay downturns.
3. The scenery
Skies can clear for a full-on shot of the highest peak in the Tetons between storms throwing down the powder. 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 and fat biking
Targhee offers the convenience of both alpine and Nordic skiing right out the door of lodges for families or skiers with split interests. There are 15 kilometers of groomed trails with skate ski lanes and set classic tracks to 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 fun. Both are ways for kids to learn proper skiing techniques without the teacher. After skiing, the kids will love the outdoor heated pool while you take in some après.
6. Cost factor; easy on the budget
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. 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.
Targhee’s base area contains several moderate to inexpensive lodging properties in the base area. A lift ticket runs $20-40 cheaper than many ski areas in the country so Targhee is easier on the wallet. Those who love Targhee — they sometimes vial themselves “Targheezers” — could care less about “being seen” and “being upscale.” It’s just that swatch of Rocky Mountain powder that really matters.