42 miles northwest of Jackson Hole lies a lesser known Teton ski destination: Grand Targhee Resort. Accessible only through the Teton Valley in Idaho, this Alta WY ski resort is a bit off the beaten path – which is what makes Grand Targhee so great.
Known for short lift lines, wide open terrain, and insane snowfall, Grand Targhee is a powderhound’s paradise. While the resort doesn’t boast the expert terrain that makes Jackson Hole famous, Grand Targhee can hold its own. Targhee gets more of the white stuff annually than Jackson Hole, with an average of over 500 inches of snow every year.
Grand Targhee has a vast array of intermediate runs, representing between 70-80% of terrain. Only 10% of the mountain is beginner terrain, and 15% is advanced terrain. However, Targhee is known for their backcountry access, bringing skiers to terrain that rivals that of Jackson Hole.
Grand Targhee is also known for it’s crazy cliffs – Jamie Pierre set a World Record in 2006 at the resort, sending a 255 foot drop via Scotty’s backcountry gate off the hike to Mary’s Nipple.
Opened on December 26th, 1969, Grand Targhee was a labor of love. Over 900 East Idaho locals came together to create Grand Targhee, Inc. in 1966 in order to help out the economy of the community.
Three years later, Grand Targhee Resort opened its doors to the public, with the Bannock and Shoshone lifts, Targhee Lodge, and day lodge. The Sioux Lodge opened in 1971.
The original inhabitants of the area around Grand Targhee were the Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, and Crow tribes. The Shoshone Indians called the Teton Range the Tee-Win-At, meaning “high pinnacles”.
The name “Grand Targhee” pulls from the Grand Tetons and Chief Targhee, the head chief of the Bannock tribe. Chief Targhee was known for his pacifism, strong character and integrity. The Caribou- Targhee National Forest, Targhee Pass, Targhee Creek, and Grand Targhee resort all bear his namesake to honor the chief and the contribution of the Native tribes to the development of the Tetons.
Grand Targhee has changed hands several times, always under family ownership, before it was purchased by Booth Creek Ski Holdings in 1997. Targhee returned to family ownership in 2000, when it was bought by George and Rose Gillette, along with their four sons.
Booth Creek replaced the Bannock chair in 1997 with Dreamcatcher, the resort’s first high-speed detachable quad. The Shoshone double was replaced with a fixed grip quad the same year.
The Gilletts acquired Grand Targhee’s base area in 2004, and have proposed future development plans for the resort, including an expanded base area with more lodging, and expanding Peaked Mountain.
GRAND TARGHEE STATS:
Total Acreage: 2602
Annual Average Snowfall: 500+ inches/41+ feet
Vertical Drop: 2270
Base Area Elevation: 7851 feet
Number of Lifts: 5
- 2176 foot vertical drop
- 2 quad chairs (1 high-speed); 1 double chair, 1 Magic Carpet Conveyor Lift
- 10% Easier; 70% More Difficult; 20% Most Difficult
- Summit elevation 9862 ft
- Longest run at resort 2.7 miles (Teton Vista Traverse)
- 2180 foot vertical drop
- 1 high speed quad chair
- 85% More Difficult; 15% Most Difficult
- Summit elevation 9830 ft
- 602 acres reserved exclusively for Snowcat Adventures
- In-bounds, hike-only terrain
- Summit elevation 9920 ft