Grand Targhee may be a redheaded stepsibling to a certain well-known neighboring resort, but it sure isn’t hurting for love from Mother Nature. In fact, this local Wyoming hill on the B-side of the Tetons gets downright smothered. Every storm cycle, the clouds cover Targhee first, dropping great featherlight blankets before moving on. Sometimes they stay the night. (A flagpole is 40 feet high. Targhee’s winter snowfall average is 42. Take that, Jackson Hole.) You thought snow ghosts were only a B.C. thing? Nope. Targhee’s summit is so rimed by white, visibility can be tricky even when it’s sunny. Which—let’s be honest—it’s usually not.
But who needs to see when everything is soft? And who needs to pay for parking? Who needs aggro locals copping attitude? Who needs rules against drinking liquor-store beer right there in the plaza? We don’t. In fact, the only thing this laid-back, Idaho-farmer-friendly resort gets fussy about is skiers hauling overnight-backpacking gear up on the lifts, which apparently happened so frequently management had to make a sign.
As for terrain, Targhee’s reputation as flat is undeserved. The expert shots are all there—hike-to Mary’s Nipple, cliffy drops off Peaked Mountain, and the Headwall chutes. They do, it’s true, all end in long traverses back to the base, but when yours are still the only tracks come second lap, your get-up-and-hurry can sit down and order lunch. In the rare event you visit Targhee on a nonpowder day, no need to check your speed on the groomers off Sacajawea. Because you’ll be the only person there.
Nightlife? Not unless you’re referring to nocturnal forest creatures, of which there are probably plenty. But Targhee’s après scene is awesome. Lounge on the deck of the Trap Bar and order far-better-than-bar food—the Kobe beef brisket or the veggie pita called, naturally, the Freeheeler—or just grab a sixer and a bag of chips from the general store and park it in the plaza.
No, most visitors don’t come all the way to Wyoming to ski Targhee. But with newly renovated hotels, package deals, and what is arguably the best kids’ terrain and ski school around, that may change. Until then, Targhee will make do with a mother’s love. We probably owe her some flowers.
SLEEP » The Teewinot is classic Targhee, a log lodge with 46 rooms right at the base. The Tower is Targhee’s newest lodging addition, a residence with a kitchen, a fireplace, and two bedrooms that sleeps six. grandtarghee.com
EAT » The Branding Iron Grill features grass-fed beef from nearby Snake River Farms.
DRINK » The Trap Bar features mellow après music and rocking nighttime shows throughout the winter.