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If your idea of a good ski day involves short lift lines, fresh powder and incredible terrain, then you’ll absolutely LOVE Grand Targhee in Alta Wyoming.
Our family just got back from a ski vacation at Grand Targhee and absolutely fell in love with the resort. It was great for both adults and kids and the terrain had so much variety that everyone came away from the trip with several favorite runs.
Where is Grand Targhee located?
Grand Targhee is located in Alta Wyoming and is right on the western side of the Teton mountains. It’s much less known than nearby Jackson Hole, which means that both it’s prices and crowds are lower. To get to Grand Targhee, you will drive through Driggs Idaho and just over the Wyoming border to reach the resort. The resort is about 20 minutes from Driggs so it’s close enough that you can run down for dinner or to make a store run, but far enough away that you can enjoy a feeling of seclusion. To get to Targhee, you can fly into Jackson (1.5 hour drive), Idaho Falls (2 hour drive) or drive the 4 hours from either Bozeman or Salt Lake City for a weekend getaway.
How good is the snow at Grand Targhee?
Grand Targhee is often ranked among the top 10 resorts for snowfall annually in the United States. The snow is typically light and fluffy and is the stuff my powder dreams are made of. And because Grand Targhee isn’t usually very crowded, that powder stays around for a lot longer than at most other resorts. We visited 4 days after a storm and we were still finding places on the mountain that hadn’t been tracked out. It was incredible.
What is Ski School at Grand Targhee Like?
We put all five of our kids in ski school at Grand Targhee and it was one of the best ski school experiences that we’ve ever had. We were there during the week, which means much smaller crowds, so all of our kids ended up being the only kid in their lesson (another reason why we LOVE midweek skiing).
Our youngest at age 2, did a combination of daycare and private ski lessons (group lessons start at age 3.5). Our 5, 7, and 10 year-olds all did ski school, and our 12-year-old decided to try snowboarding for the first time.
Before the kids went into their lesson with their instructor, we talked with each instructor to tell them what our kids strengths and weaknesses are on the hill and also what skills we would really like to see them work on. If you’ve putting your kids in ski school, effective communication on the front end is one of the biggest keys to success. Throughout the day, we ran into the kids and their teachers and the teachers updated us on their progress, where they were skiing and what runs they would be skiing soon in case we wanted to watch.
Truthfully, this was the best ski school experience we’ve ever had and all of the instructors were amazing. My husband and I are both former ski instructors, so that’s saying a lot! At the end of the day when we picked the kids up, every instructor went through a thorough run down of what they did, the skills they mastered, and what they need to work on next. They also picked up on things that we never mentioned, like helping one of our kids be more aggressive with their stance, helping another shift their weight at a different part of the turn, as well as specific terminology that they used so we could reinforce what they learned in lessons.
It was an amazing experience, and we will undoubtedly put our kids back in ski school the next time we visit Grand Targhee because the experience was so great. We also put our youngest in daycare for part of the time we were there, which gave us a great chance to explore the more challenging areas of the resort with our older kids, and highly recommend that option if you have a beginner.
Where are the best places to ski at Grand Targhee for Beginners?
If you’re just starting out in snowsports or if you’ve got kids with you, head over the learning area just north of the base area. There you will find both the magic carpet surface lift and the Shoshone Chairlift. The Shoshone lift has several green trails on it that are great for beginners, as well as a series of trails through the trees that both adults and kids will love. Tree skiing is great for improving your skills and helps you to master both your turning and speed. All throughout the Shoshone learning area, you’ll see fun characters and designs hiding in the trees as well as plenty of signs to designate it a “Kids Fun Zone”.
If you’re ready for something a bit more challenging, The Teton Vista Traverse on the Dreamcatcher lift is a fantastic run for advanced beginners, and the views of the Tetons will completely blow your mind!
Where are the best places to ski at Grand Targhee for intermediate skiers and riders?
Intermediate skiers and riders will have a blast skiing on the Dream Catcher and Sacajawea lifts. You’ll find both groomed runs as well as some off-piste terrain that are great for intermediate skiers and riders on both of these lifts. Make sure to not miss the Screaming Cheetah run between these two lifts. It’s a natural halfpipe that funnels you through the trees that is an absolute blast to ski down.
Where are the best places to ski at Grand Targhee for advanced skiers and riders?
Do you like big wide open bowls? Then the Blackfoot Lift is for you. It’s got some great wide open terrain that’s decently steep, which is pretty much paradise on a powder day. If it’s foggy (which it often is at Targhee), avoid Blackfoot and stick to skiing near the trees. You’re sure to love The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly off of Dream Catcher, or skiing the trees just next to Shadow Woman on Sacajawea.
If you want some fun similar to Screaming Cheetah, make sure to check out both Middle Earth and Waterfall!
Where are the best places for families to ski at Grand Targhee?
If you’ve got kids, make sure to take a few runs letting the kids be in charge of where to go. I highly recommend doing ski school on your first day there so the kids get a good feel for the mountain from their instructors, as well as learning the most fun places to ski. Don’t forget a good pair of kids ski goggles, because it can get really windy there too!
The Shoshone lift is perfect for this since the terrain is all designed to be fun, but not too difficult. Our family literally has every ability you can imagine with our kids ranging from a 2-year-old beginner up to a 12-year-old who likes steep double blacks. With all the tree trails, there was enough to keep even our speed loving older kids happy for a few runs while their siblings showed us around.
If you want more variety, the Teton Vista Traverse is amazing for that. We could ski down this trail with our younger kids and our older kids could quickly hop on a harder blue or black run, and the runs would funnel back together after just a few minutes. This area is a perfect place to give the kids a bit more independence, while still keeping an eye on everyone.
What is the base area at Grand Targhee like?
The base area at Grand Targhee is simple, yet has everything you’ll need. There is a general store which is great for stocking up on snacks and the prices were generally about what we’d see at a gas station convenience store (which is so much better than typical resort prices). The outdoor patio has a few fire pits at it, which makes it a great place to eat on a sunny day.
Inside the lodges, you’ll find a few dining options as well as the Rendezvous conference rooms, which are a great place to eat your lunch if you’re bringing your own. Also, if you’ve got kids who need an extended break or who will not be skiing, these conference rooms offer a laid back atmosphere and can be a great place to hang out for a few hours.
Every Friday from 3:30-4:30, there are free s’mores on the plaza which is the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
Where to eat at Grand Targhee
While Grand Targhee is small, there are a few different dining options that you need to consider during your visit.
For breakfast or for a deli style lunch make sure to visit Snorkels Cafe. It’s located right next to the plaza and has some great offerings. Our absolute favorite menu item there is the breakfast burrito, which is big and hearty enough to share, and at only $9 is an amazing deal. Our kids are also major fans of the cinnamon rolls at Snorkels that were bigger than their faces!
If you’re wanting an adult only lunch or a place to go for Happy Hour, head to the Trap Bar and Grill, located slopeside to the Dream Catcher lift. The Trap is also open for dinner and after 6pm kids are allowed in with adults and their burgers and fries are both pretty awesome. Our kids especially loved all the extreme ski movies that were showing on all the sports screens there.
For typical cafeteria style fare for lunch, head into Wild Bills. You’ll find pizza, burgers, fries and even chicken pot pie at Wild Bills. On weekends they continue their pizza service in the arcade through dinner. At only $4 a slice it’s about the cheapest ski resort lunch you’re going to find.
If you’re wanting a nicer meal, the Branding Iron is the place to go. It’s a sit down restaurant with a pretty impressive menu. While it may be a bit pricey for a family lunch, it’s a great option for parents while the kids are off at ski school. Their Philly Cheesesteak is made with Prime Rib and was absolutely amazing. The Branding Iron is also open for dinner.
Of course, don’t forget to grab some free s
Where to stay at Grand Targhee?
If you’re going to be skiing at Grand Targhee, your lodging options are to stay at the resort, or to head into town.
We chose to stay at the resort because the lodging options are surprisingly affordable. Our room had a loft and had beds for our family of 7. The best part was that we were right next to the beginner area, so it was a perfect place to come in and take a break, and even let our youngest nap for a while. This made our whole experience so much simpler since we never had to load up the car, and if someone forgot something, they just had to run up the stairs to our room.
If you are a guest staying at Grand Targhee, there is a fitness club, swimming pool and hot tub available for your use, which was fantastic after a long day on the ski hill.
If you’re looking for lodging away from the resort, your closest option is to stay at an Airbnb in Alta, Wyoming.
Otherwise, plan on staying 20-25 minutes down the road in neighboring Driggs, ID.
What is there to do at Grand Targhee besides skiing?
If you’re heading Grand Targhee, there are other outdoor activities you can do besides skiing. In fact, if you’re there for more than a few days, your body will appreciate a few days spent OFF the ski hill. At Grand