Grand Targhee Resort Review

Grand Targhee Resort Photo Gary Hansen | Manual Focus

ALTA, WYO – Located on the border between Wyoming and Idaho in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Grand Targhee Resort offers up one of the best overall skiing and snowboarding experiences in the United States.

Though the terrain isn’t as extreme as its well-known neighbor Jackson Hole, some 40 miles to the south, Targhee gets more fresh snow each year. It’s location on the opposite side of the Tetons, the western side, means that the massive storms moving east from the Pacific drop buckets of snow before moving up and over the mountain range. In fact, Grand Targhee nets an average of over 500 inches of snow per year.

Grand Targhee Reviews

Grand Targhee Resort is all about good times, chill vibes, and short lift lines. And, seriously, what better combo could there be?

Unlike many other ski resorts, the village at Grand Targhee is all about the mountain. There are only three lodges with a few hundred beds altogether. Though there are ample dining facilities, you’ll find only a handful of bars and shopping opportunities. But who wants to shop when fresh powder is just minutes away? Grand Targhee is definitely the type of ski resort dedicated to serious skiers and families rather than one where parties and nightlife abound.

As mentioned above, Targhee is also about the powder. Bowls, glades, and light trees abound, making for some fun and reasonably challenging terrain. The ski area is spread out over two mountains, Fred’s Mountain and Peaked Mountain, giving you plenty of space to spread out to find freshies.

Mike Hardaker enjoying world class views, deep snow and zero crowds at Grand Targhee Resort Photo Chris Kirkpatrick | Mountain Weekly News

Mike Hardaker enjoying world class views and deep snow at Grand Targhee Resort Photo | Mountain Weekly News

The Grand Targhee Experience

The beauty of Grand Targhee is the lack of crowds. While the inbound terrain is much more mellow in general than Jackson Hole, the bare slopes, nearly non-existent lift lines, and ample powder more than make up for it.

The vast majority of the terrain is well suited for intermediate riders. There is also a small portion, around 15% to 20%, that is deemed difficult. This is perfect. It gives expert riders enough to stay busy on and provides plenty of room for not quite as experienced riders to work on their skills. The fact that much of the terrain isn’t very steep means Grand Targhee is a great place to learn to ski or snowboard in powder. And you can learn at your own pace without worrying about being in the way of more advanced riders.

I wasn’t really supposed to mention this but the Grand Targhee Cliff hucking experience is solid!

Grand Targhee Trail Map

2017 Grand Targhee Winter Trail Map

Another rad thing about Grand Targhee is its proximity to other ski areas. As mentioned, Jackson Hole is just down the road. Big Sky Montana is around 3 hours away, Sun Valley is around 6 hours away, and Salt Lake City and its many ski areas are about 5 hours away. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are just a few hours up the road as well.

Grand Targhee Vacation – Book Now!

There is no denying that you’ll absolutely fall in love with Grand Targhee Resort. Lifts serve over 2,500 acres of fun and varied skiing and snowboarding terrain stretching over two mountains. Factor in the amazing quality snow (light and deep), likely chance of powder, beautiful surrounding scenery, easy backcountry access, and very small crowds and you have an overall experience like no other.

But act fast. Rumors have been floating around that large development is set to occur here in the next few years. You’ll be thankful you experienced authentic Grand Targhee before major changes take place. This is truly a little slice of shred heaven.

Wyoming Backcountry Photo Gary Hansn | Manual Focus

Wyoming Backcountry Photo | Manual Focus

Targhee Cat Skiing

Snow Cat Skiing Wyoming

Where can you access 602 acres of untracked powder, expertise from professional guides, and the powder experience of a lifetime?

Grand Targhee Backcountry Skiing

Grand Targhee Cliff Huck Photo Ben Koelker

by Ben Koelker

This past weekend found the Colorado mountains/snowpack in a rough state of avalanche danger due to a heavy load of new snow and warm temperatures. With big slides coming down all over the state it seemed like a good time to get out of town to do some skiing elsewhere. So I started kicking around some ideas on Sunday: Jackson and Big Sky were on the radar as close enough to drive to and some possible snowfall, and Mt. Baker was calling for multiple feet, so some decisions needed to be made. As of Sunday night, all roads were pointing to Jackson.

Monday morning, however, there were calls for lots of wind and not that much snow in Jackson, according to the weatherman, and the trip began to break at the seams. After much discussion (and a couple runs on our warm hardpack snow…), Garret Fletcher and I decided we would leave for Wyoming after I got out of work at 9 pm. We loaded up the truck and headed north by 10 pm, with the drive going smoothly until just after Pinedale, WY, when the wind and snow really picked up. Rolling into Jackson at 6:30 am we met our buddy Mike Hardaker leaving his house to go get a morning lap before work as the snow continued to fall. After a 2 hour nap to get our legs back, Garret and I headed towards the pass to take a look at the snowpack and decide what we wanted to ski. We hit the top of Teton Pass, loaded with cars and smiling riders, and decided to take a little tour down the Idaho side of the hill to see what else we could find. As we approached the state line it was decided that bouncing into Idaho would be a good addition to the trip. I got to thinking that we must be fairly close to Grand Targhee, and having never been there, asked Garret if he had been. Upon the realization that neither of us had been, the decision was made: We’re going to the Ghee! We rolled through Driggs, ID and started heading up through the snow-covered road towards Targhee.

Want to huck, you may want to start with a powder camp. We dig the Knowledge is Powder Camp over at Grand Targhee, for any level or skier!!

We pulled into the parking lot, got our tickets and the adventure began! It was snowing and blowing as we rode the first lift, and snow-ghosted trees lined the upper portion of the mountain. We rode great, buffed pow while exploring the mountain from side to side, all the while hoping the weather would break for a view of the Grand Teton. While the view never came, the skiing was amazing, and we caught site of some young rippers getting ready to send a cliff in the hike to terrain above one of the lifts. The attached photo was taken at: f/8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200 with an f/2.8L 24-70mm lens zoomed to 70mm.

After an amazing day at Targhee, we headed back over the pass, had some dinner and drinks and got ready for what would turn out to be an unbelievable day at Jackson Hole. A 6″ call in the morning got us rolling early, and we were in line to catch first Tram. With big wind, 6″ had turned into 12-18″ in vertigo inducing whiteout that we dropped into directly from the top. After a couple of ridiculous whiteroom laps, we came back to the Tram to find the whole mountain shut down due to wind and avalanche danger. So we did what any smart riders would do and set up right in front of the line to wait for the reopening. Ski patrol swept the majority of the mountain, did control work (bombs in the afternoon!!!), and after a 2-hour delay, we got our second first Tram of the day! Oh, and it turned bluebird for just long enough to ski one lap of 4,000 amazing vertical feet back to the bottom, untracked… We did one more Tram lap, back in the whiteout, and decided that it was time to hit the road, as Garret and I had to open up the ski shop the next morning after another overnight drive. Amazing trip with great friends, couldn’t ask for more!

Until next time, skip sleep, get out and get deep!

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About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding and join the Freeride World Tour. When not on a board, Mike worked for Snowboarder and later oversaw TGR's online publication. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News where he is still CEO and Editor in Chief.

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