Grand Targhee is celebrating its 50th birthday
Over on the snowier side of the Tetons, Grand Targhee Mountain Resort is jubilant about turning the big 5-0.
If you’re headed out to Jackson Hole for a ski vacation, you might be remiss if you don’t check out Grand Targhee Mountain Resort, located a simple, nearly one hour’s drive from Jackson in Alta, Wyoming. Not only is it a great day trip for the whole family, but it’s also the perfect way to mix it up during a Jackson Hole Mountain Resort vacay. And, with Targhee celebrating its 50th winter season this year, you can be a small part of that milestone by enjoying more than 2,600 skiable acres on the snowier, western side of the Tetons.
Oh—Grand Targhee is also pretty infamous for the more than 500 inches of annual snowfall it gets. That’s just the average amount of light, dry powder that pummels this laid-back Wyoming resort each season. So… yeah.
Far from the crowds that frequent other high-profile resorts, the ‘Ghee continues to keep the
ski and snowboard experience authentic.
Targhee is tucked away above Driggs, Idaho, but actually resides in the very last edge of Wyoming. This hidden gem doesn’t get as much fanfare as its big brother across the Tetons at JHMR, but it has long been one of the West’s best-kept skiing and snowboarding secrets—especially for power aficionados. Grand Targhee has a vast array of intermediate runs, representing between 70- to 80-percent of the terrain. Far from the crowds that frequent other high-profile resorts, the ‘Ghee continues to keep the ski and snowboard experience authentic.
“The mountain has a hometown feel with a quiet atmosphere which plays to the ‘Targhee Vibe,’ says Jennie White, director of marketing. “It’s hard to explain, but when you’re here you’ll get the feeling. We’ve got open bowls, chutes, gladed runs, and a dedicated Kids Adventure Zone.”
You can also book a day of cat skiing and enjoy untracked runs all day.
Originally created by locals in 1969 to introduce the other side of the Teton Range to outsiders and to spur winter economic activity in the Teton Valley, its first day of operations attracted more than 2,000 skiers; it’s come a long way from that relatively small number of people. Today there are thousands of more skiers who love to explore the resort’s glades, bowls and groomed runs. In 1988, Targhee welcomed its first snowboarders and also added summer operations, starting with the first Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival. The year 2005 featured the first Targhee Summer Music Festival. Both of these warm weather music events draw people from all over the world and an impressive line-up of major bands and entertainers.
Annual winter events include the new Teton Surf Classic—a surf-inspired, snowboard-only event scheduled to run for the second year on Sunday, March 30th—and the Cardboard Box Derby, scheduled for its 19th “race” on Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. Watch as cardboard artists and mechanics turn little more than cardboard, paper, tape, glue, and string into the most creative sculptures that you can think of like dragons, race cars, UFO’s, and other themes, and then navigate their crafts down the mountain. The popular Targhee Sink or Swim pond skimming contest is always a great way to end the season. This year it takes place on Saturday, April 13th, the day before the resort closes.
Of course, no ski day at Targhee is complete without checking out the Trap Bar, a favorite for après ski food and drink as well as hearing live music. The Trap has a long history of providing quality entertainment in Teton Valley and this year is no exception. If you visit Targhee on a Tuesday, check out the White Lightning Open Mic Night in the afternoon starting at 3 p.m. The Trap also serves Wydaho Nachos featuring waffle fries covered in fresh veggies and homemade salsa, recently voted “Sluttiest Slopeside Nachos” by Ski Magazine.
Super Easy Way to Get There
There’s no need to drive your rental car over to Targhee as the resort offers a fantastic transportation and lift service—Ride GTR— that runs daily from the Jackson area. Packages include transportation to and from Jackson and Teton Village to Grand Targhee and a full day lift ticket. The costs for transportation and a full-day lift ticket are $123 for adults, $80 for kids ages 6 to 12; children age 5 and under are free of charge. Easy-peasy!
“Grand Targhee is what it is today because of the unique community
and the employees that make it feel like home.”
Planning a day (or two!) visit to Grand Targhee for its half-century birthday is certainly something to consider doing this winter while you’re out here—or if you’re coming for a visit in June, July or August, there’s plenty of outside, on-mountain activities and events to enjoy as you help the resort mark its 36th summer! Remember: There’s more to a Jackson Hole vacation than, well… Jackson Hole!
Julie Butler is the editor of Jackson Hole Traveler. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.