The Soul of Skiing Lives At Grand Targhee, WY

D’Arcy McLeish | | Industry NewsIndustry News

[sponsored by Grand Targhee]

Pow and views together.
Photo – Grand Targhee

It’s a busy world out there in the land of skiing.

Resorts seem to keep growing, getting bigger and more crowded every year.

On a powder day, the mega resorts get tracked out in an hour. And the lineups at some of those big resorts have become a little our of control.

So what’s a dirtbag skier or rider to do?

Take some solace from the fact there are still a few spots out there where you can ski untracked snow three days after a storm and liftlines remain a mellow, social affair and haven’t deteriorated into a bro brah festival of idiocy.

Even the little locals love this place.
Photo – Grand Targhee

One of those places sits perched on Western edge of the Teton Range sitting right on the border of Idaho and Wyoming.

Grand Targhee has always been in the shadow of its bigger brother in Jackson. It’s anything but little and it’s got something a lot of places have lost in the last 20 years. It’s got soul.

Grand Targhee is up there with mountains like Shames and Mad River Glen. It’s not fancy, it’s not famous but the skiing and the terrain are absolutely off the hook.

What Grand Targhee is famous for.
Photo – Grand Targhee

It’s a local affair as well, one of the last family owned ski resorts in the US. The Gillett Family, who bought the ‘Ghee, as locals like to call it, in 2000, see the value of being little under the radar. They understand what a dedicated, passionate following from the local community can add to a ski hill.

The ‘Ghee hasn’t changed all that much since it opened with two lifts in the late sixties, and the folks there want to keep it that way.

Teton views. Photo – Grand Targhee.

Grand Targhee Highlights

  • 500” Annual Snowfall
  • 2,270’ Vertical Drop
  • $85 Day Ticket Price
  • Free Parking
  • 2602 Skiable Acres
  • Open Gate Backcountry Access

Let’s discuss snow.

Grand Targhee gets a boatload of it. So much so that it often tops the charts in terms of having the deepest resort snowpack in the US.

The average annual snowfall at Grand Targhee is a giant 500 inches.

That’s 50 more than its big neighbour to the east. 500 inches of Teton Magic. Dry as dry can be, the snow in the Tetons is famous. Utah might get all the glory when it comes to dry snow, but having skied all over the continent, the snow in Wydaho, as this area is so affectionately called by its locals, is some of the best I have ever skied.

It’s got that perfect combo of dry, continental bliss mixed with just a bit of silky resistance to make turns on a powder day some of the most memorable you’ll ever experience.

Next is the terrain.

With 2,270 feet of vertical, it’s no slouch in that department and offers some great opportunities for never ending laps when there’s two feet of fresh on the ground. There’s some great hiking above the Sacajawea Lift and up Mary’s Nipple, which is a real local’s favourite.

Grand Targhee even has its own cat skiing operation. Grand Targhee Cat Skiing operates in an exclusive 600-acre section of the mountain and for 439 bucks, you can bag 18000 vertical feet of skiing in a day. It’s chill, too, with a relaxed atmosphere you won’t find at some of the bigger operations.

Powder Bliss. Photo – Grand Targhee

There’s no massive resort infrastructure here and the locals like to keep it that way. They are more than happy to let the crowds head to Jackson. The vibe here is an intimate affair.

Sure, there’s lots of family friendly terrain, including a fully setup beginner area with its own lift, but there’s also tons of advanced terrain, bowls, chutes and tree skiing.

And the backcountry opportunities are endless, but take heed; the Tetons are no place for amateurs, so if you leave the boundary, be prepared. The terrain out there can be gnarly so make sure you know what you’re doing or hire a guide.

Earning some turns.
Photo – Grand Targhee

If you’re in Wyoming or Idaho, or sitting in your office in LA or New York, book a trip to Grand Targhee. Just don’t bring a huge posse and don’t tell your friends. It’s quiet and understated here and it’s one of those ski hills where the skiing comes before everything else.

Be safe, ski hard.


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One thought on “The Soul of Skiing Lives At Grand Targhee, WY

  1. Nice article. It is wonderful to hear from someone who really appreciates the ‘Ghee! I have skied all over North America and a few places in Europe. Over and over again I would find myself in a lift line (we rarely have those at Targhee!!) telling someone about the legendary Wydaho powder and the laid back Targhee vibe. A few years ago I bought a house in Victor, Idaho and I am very happy to now call Grand Targhee my home mountain.

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