Grand Targhee doesn’t make most skiers’ must-visit list, that’s just one reason this Wyoming ski area is a must. Among others: 500+ inches of snow annually, stunning Grand Teton scenery, a low-key friendly vibe, and one of the best après ski bars I have seen in years.
Grand Targhee is a big small ski resort. Targhee has big mountain skiing on 2,602 acres of wide-open terrain from groomed bowls to powder runs, plus a plethora of steep chutes. But Grand Targhee’s base is a small, humble ski village where you can be one of the lucky few staying in only 100 lodging units. Otherwise the nearest towns of Alta, Wyoming, and Driggs, Idaho, are 12 miles down a curvy access road, where you find more lodging – but we loved the convenient casual atmosphere of staying on mountain.
Grand Targhee is the antithesis of Jackson Hole, just an hour away. Targhee’s three mountain peaks offer everything from long groomed cruisers to moderately pitched bowls, to avalanche chutes. Targhee doesn’t have any fancy hotels, but doesn’t get lines for first lift either, just friendly locals and incredibly soft snow on 2,270’ vertical.
We did laps on the Dreamcatcher high speed quad and the Blackfoot double chair on Fred’s Mountain, admiring the amazing Grand Teton at 13,770’ that dominates the skyline. Next we skied Peaked Mountain’s short but exciting chutes and broad Medicine Bowl served by the Sacajewa Quad. On a powder day at Targhee, a frequency, you can be getting freshies all day. If all that’s not enough, Targhee also has 600 exclusive acres of cat skiing.
Staying on the mountain in the compact village, we could enjoy après ski at Targhee to the fullest. For family activities, there is snow tubing, snow biking on fat tires, snowshoeing, Nordic trails, or just soaking in the outdoor heated salt water pool and hot tub. If your kids are 12 and under, they stay, ski and eat free when you buy an adult ski and stay package for three or more nights. Targhee even organizes game nights and movies for kids during the week, so parents can enjoy The Trap Bar. The Trap is everything you picture in a ski bar, nothing fancy, just fun people dancing in ski boots to live music, a retro setting with a view of the ski slopes.
Dining at Grand Targhee is limited to a few places, but The Branding Iron serves delicious Kobe beef, soups and salads, while the Snorkel makes a serious breakfast burrito. One night, we took Miller’s Sleigh Ride Dinner for an authentic horse drawn sleigh through the snowy forest to a wood fired yurt where cowboy Miller himself served us heaping plates of steak, Wydaho potatoes and homemade scones drizzled with honey butter. For entertainment, Miller tells stories of the rodeo and ranching. I recommend you dress warmly and BYOB, this is no Disney ride - this is the real deal.
After a few days, we felt like family. Grand Targhee is a special place with plentiful snow and super nice people. I should also tell you that you ski free with any North American ski pass when you book three or more nights lodging at Targhee this winter. There are so many reasons why you should ski Grand Targhee. Oh, and it’s snowing there right now…
Photos by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.