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Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Driggs, Wyoming, USA

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Grand Targhee Resort is one of the most interesting ski resorts in the Western United States. This awesome resort is located on the other side of the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole in Alta, Wyoming. This location ensures that Targhee gets more snow than Jackson Hole and has less people. While the terrain Targhee can offer may not be as crazy as what you can find at Jackson Hole, there is certainly enough of it to keep you busy for weeks and challenge the heck out of you. Targhee gets more than 500 inches of snow each year! That's more than 43 feet of fresh powder in a single season. As moisture and clouds move towards Jackson Hole, they butt up against the Grand Tetons and dump their snow onto Targhee. The quality of snow that falls on Targhee is better too. Most of the snow is only 5% moisture, making it light, dry and fluffy. Grand Targhee offers you the best chance of experiencing true deep powder skiing! In fact, many of the locals have been known to ski this deep powder with snorkels to help them breathe!

Grand Targhee Ski Resort
flickr image by A tea but no e

In addition to its awesome snow, Grand Targhee has some of the best views around. From the summit of Fred's Mountain you can see the rugged peaks of the Grand and Middle Tetons. That is-when you can see. The locals sometimes call it "Grand Fogee" because the mountain is often immersed in fog or flat light conditions. This can make it tough to see where you are going. Rose or amber coloured goggles can help with this. Targhee offers terrain features suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. The mountain itself is geared more towards intermediates and experts, but it does feature its very own kid's fun zone. This is a learners and young skier's paradise and has its own Shoshone lift access. From the top of Fred's Peak there is a green circle trail that runs the entire length of the mountain. This trail, known as the Teton Vista Traverse, can be ridden all day long. Park lover's can take the Teton Vista Traverse to the Middle Earth terrain park or drop into Trick Town. These terrain parks have features for both beginners and high flying experts.

Experts will enjoy some of the West's best tree skiing and the deep snow makes it possible to launch off the many cornices and drop-offs the mountain has to offer. From the top of Peaked Mountain, which is accessed by the Sacajawea lift, you can find awesome wooded runs like Pierre's Hole, Booshway and the Buffer Woods. For those who want to experience Western open bowl skiing there is the Medicine Bowl. For super steep action you can drop into Reliable and Toilet Bowl, both of which are accessible from the Sacajawea lift. The rest of the terrain accessible from the Sacajawea lift is fun intermediate blues, as is almost everything skier's left from the Dreamcatcher lift. Experts will also want to try the cornice drop into the Bad, the Ugly and the Good as well as the East Woods. These runs start from the top of the Dreamcatcher chair. The left side of the mountain offers fun and more open glades. These glades have less vertical length and are shorter runs, which makes them perfect for tired legs. The left side of the mountain is accessed by the Blackfoot chair.

From the top of the Dreamcatcher chair it is possible to hike to the top of Mary's Nipple and ride the powder down into Middle Earth. This section is monitored by the ski patrol for avalanches and is safe to ski. Look for a boot pack leading up to Mary's skier's left on the Teton Vista Traverse. The backside of Mary's is also easily accessible by hiking, but this backcountry region is NOT patrolled or avalanche protected. This means that any skiers who wish to access this terrain are responsible for their own safety and rescue, and must have avalanche training and safety equipment. The backside of Targhee is definitely not recommended for out-of-towners. If you are interested in skiing some of Targhee's amazing backcountry you can set up a backcountry tour. Or better yet, you can sign up for a Snowcat tour. This is the absolute best way to ski completely untouched and super deep fluffy powder. The Snowcat tour is one of the most exciting ski experiences you can find outside of heli-skiing and is definitely worth it! The Snowcat tour prices are pretty reasonable.

Targhee also offers snowshoeing and snow tubing fun. The Nordic trails take you way out into the backcountry. Getting to Targhee is relatively easy. You can fly into Jackson Hole and make the 48 mile drive over the Teton pass, or you can take the Teton shuttle service. Another way to get to Targhee is to fly into Idaho Falls and make the 85 mile scenic drive to Alta. However you get there, be sure to bring your camera as this area is one of the most scenic in the country. Look for moose along the roads. There is great après ski action at Targhee as well. Most of the locals will hit up the upstairs Trap Bar for après ski drinks. The Trap also has tasty bar food. Fine dining can be found at the Branding Iron Grill. Snorkel's is the place to get breakfast before you hit the slopes. The General Store sells snacks and drinks to go.

Whether you are visiting Jackson Hole and want to try out the other side of the Tetons or are looking for a week of the best snow you have ever experienced, Grand Targhee is the place to go. With fewer people and more snow, Targhee's hill is like nothing else in the Rockies.

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