The Teton mountain range in Wyoming is one of the most famous mountain ranges on earth, and a big part of that has to do with the skiing and riding that exists there. The Tetons are widely considered the most badass mountain range in North America, and there are some solid reasons to back them up.
“The Tetons are the closest thing we have to the extreme terrain in Chamonix and the Alps.” – Hank DeVre, senior photographer at Powder Magazine
7 Reasons Why the Tetons Are Badass:
The Birthplace of American Extreme Skiing
On June 17th, 1971, extreme skiing was born in the USA when Exum Mountain Guide Bill Briggs dropped in and skied the 13,770-foot Grand Teton in Wyoming. The first to do anything of that sort in America. The photo of his tracks on the Grand Teton – taken from a plane the next day – shook the skiing world to its core. Bill is referred to as the “father of extreme skiing” in North America.
“Gusts of wind made balance uncertain, so I used great caution to get off the summit block. The snow above Ford’s Couloir was good for a few turns. Then I broke through, the skis sank about a foot into the snow unexpectedly, and caused my first fall. I fell downhill, quickly rolled over, and stood up on the skis again. From there on the snow was deep corn but quite skiable. Shortage of breath and strength forced me to make rather large turns down what can be called the upper Petzoldt Ridge. This got a little narrow between the cornice of Ford’s Couloir and the rocks. I actually skied into the rock at the narrowest place.” – Bill Briggs
The Tetons hold some of the most challenging, convoluted, big, complex, cliffy, photogenic terrain in North America.
You want big cliffs? Grand Targhee backcountry got ’em & more.
You want multiple big cliffs in one line? They got it on the North Shore & more.
You want extreme skiing? They got it on the Grand Teton & more.
You want big, long, wild lines? The Tetons have them in abundance all over.
The Teton Mountain Range averages 450″ snowfall in the mountains & 173″ of snowfall in the valleys. Grand Targhee ski resort, on the snowier west side, receives 500″ of snowfall annually.
This range is used to big, consistent storms coming from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The Tetons pick up many storms, and the high peaks force lots of moisture out of those storms in the form of snowfall.
Oh, and it gets cold in the Tetons. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the park = -63ºF.
World Class Ski Resorts
Two world-class ski resorts provide access to unrivaled backcountry skiing and riding in the Teton mountains: Grand Targhee & Jackson Hole.
Grand Targhee, WY averages 500″ of snowfall per season
Jackson Hole, WY averages 450″ of snowfall per season
World Class Backcountry Skiing
The Teton mountain range provides some of the best backcountry skiing on Earth. From skiing the Grand Teton to hucking your meat off the massive cliffs off Mary’s Nipple to harvesting blower powder face shots just outside the ski resorts, the backcountry skiing in the Tetons leaves minds demented every winter.
Access to the goods can be via hundreds of park and hike locations throughout the range or via Grand Targhee ski resort and Jackson Hole ski resort.
The Teton Mountain Range is 55 miles long, consisting of 12 peaks over 12,000-feet, including 13,770-foot Grand Teton. Several hundred lakes are located in the park, including 25,540-acre, 438-foot deep Jackson lake. 242 miles of hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park. The park holds many small ‘alpine glaciers.’ The Tetons rise 7,000-feet from the valley floor.
The Tetons are famous for their wildlife which contributes to this range being known as one of the last strongholds of the “old west” in North America. The Teton Mountain Range holds:
- 17 species of carnivores (including grizzly bears and wolves)
- 22 species of rodents
- 6 species of hoofed animals
- 4 species of reptiles
- 6 species of amphibians
- 3 species of rabbits/hares
- 6 species of bats
- 16 species of fish
- 300+ species of birds
- 900+ species of flowering plants
- 7 species of conifer trees
Yes, the word Teton is french for Boob. Grand Teton literally means Big Boob.
Grand Teton National Park got its name from early 19th century French trappers who called the Teton Mountain Range “Les Trois Tetons,” which means “the three breasts” or “the three teats” or “the three boobs.”