With low levels of snow and high avalanche danger, skiing around the Teton Valley last weekend required careful decisions. We settled on Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming and it proved to be an excellent choice.
To get to Targhee (or, the Ghee, as the locals say) from Jackson, one must drive over Teton Pass, into Idaho in order to cross back into Wyoming. If you’re coming from Jackson Hole Airport, the drive will take you 1.5 hours, but only about an hour if you’re coming from town, which can be totally worth it.
Grand Targhee gets a lot of snow – as you have to if you’re so bold as to mark the POWDER AREA on your trail map. That’s right- grab a trail map and locate the POWDER AREA for likely powder. While Sunday wasn’t exactly ‘blower’ (as in so much powder snow in blowing in your face), the snow was actually good.
The groomers were fast and grippy with the only speed limits imposed by how adept your are at dodging tourists, and there weren’t many of those. In fact, we skied on to every lift all day long. The only crowds worth noting were in the Trapper Bar, but given the calendar (it was New Year’s Day) and the amount of ball games on, that’s not exactly a surprise. They’d had 12″ of new snow in the last two days and the rocks showing were equivalent to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on any given heart-of-winter powder day.
And the best part was the lack of rush. On a really blower day (see above for definition), there’s an underlying push to get in as many laps as possible in order to find the best, deepest snow on the mountain before everyone else. Since 11″ of the new snow fell the day before and 1″ overnight, the rush was off. We could cruise groomers or soft, pillowy snow and eat a leisurely, full-service lunch instead of horking down Cliff Bars on the chair lift. We were in such a not-hurry that we left before the lifts closed to stop for beers in the driveway of a good friend living in Victor, Idaho and again for wine in Wilson. It was a very, very slow drive back to Jackson (lest you worry, I was not driving). As I get older and dare I say wiser, I am beginning to suspect that it’s all part of the fun of skiing.
Targhee-tip-of-the-day: There’s a new shuttle from the town of Jackson to Targhee! At just $94.88 for shuttle and lift ticket, it’s a must for apre lovers. For more info on the Targhee Express, click here.