Grand Targhee gets little fanfare or fame, but it should – for its frequent
powder, fantastic Teton scenery and friendly people. Targhee opened for skiing
in 1969, just three years after nearby Jackson Hole – an hour’s drive away.
Grand Targhee, or the ‘Ghee affectionately labeled by locals, is one of the
smallest big ski resorts, with 2,602 acres of wide-open terrain and plentiful
snow- over 500-inches annually, but no fancy resort hotels at the base.
The antithesis of Jackson Hole or Vail, Grand Targhee has just 100 lodging units
in the mountain village (circa 1970) with three cozy restaurants and pubs, a
couple of shops, and a family activity center. The focus here is on skiing – and
it’s ideal for pow-hounds and families looking for a friendly fun ski vacation.
Just imagine being “trapped” here on a powder day, when the scant ski
population is 12 miles down the curvy, snowy mountain road in the nearest town of Driggs, Idaho.
What we loved about Grand Targhee is the perfectly pitched ski terrain, not too
steep, no flat spots, mostly wide open ski where you wish – ideal on a powder
day, which are frequent here. Just five lifts, all with sensational Wyoming and
Idaho views, serve a dozen groomed runs of silky snow, and great bowls of
untouched fluff outlined by a sparkling well-spaced trees.
The other thing to love about Targhee is the lack of haughtiness; soon you are
on first name basis with your hosts - the liftees, the patrol and their rescue
dogs, ski instructors, and cowboy Slim – the convivial ambassador. It is one big
happy ‘Ghee family, no attitude just genuine Wydaho hospitality and a shared
passion for skiing powder.
Booth Creek’s Gillett family purchased Grand Targhee in 1997 and added a high
speed quad Dreamcatcher and the Shoshone quad. Targhee also offers cat skiing on
an exclusive 600-acre section on Mary’s Nipple (you can’t make this stuff up) -
$200 for half day and $349 for a full day of face-shots, a great “Ghee deal. Targhee is surrounded by National Forest, so the wildlife sightings can be as
promising as the skiing, and the views of the Grand Tetons are superb.
One of the best parts of Targhee’s compact on mountain offerings is the Trap
Bar, among the best après ski bars in the US – with a come as you are vibe and
live music most nights, dancing in ski boots is encouraged, and you can’t help
but make new buddies in this “Cheers of skiing” atmosphere. The Branding Iron
is the best place to dine where Kobe beef is served with a slope view.
Targhee’s 3,000 acres is big and bountiful in snow, while the resort is small
- just 100 acres, but packed with offerings besides the big white room of skiing
and riding amid the Grand Tetons. You can snowtube, watch an avalanche dog
demonstration, snowshoe with a naturalist, or snowbike (Targhee is the first ski
resort to offer this fun fat tire activity) on the 15-kilometers are groomed
terrain (you can cross-country ski on the Nordic trails too), or soak in the
outdoor heated saltwater pool and hot tub. Grand Targhee has great kids camps on
snow and kids happy hour so mom and dad can enjoy the band at Traps. Lodging in
the Sioux, Teton and Teewinot Lodges is simple, nothing sophisticated, but its
ski boot steps from the slopes. Grand
Targhee's Official website