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Grand Targhee Ski Resort Profile
Summary: Grand Targhee, located on the western slope of the Tetons, is one of the underrated ski resorts in North America and an excellent destination for families who want ski-focused family vacation.

For years, Jackson Hole has been the famous Teton ski resort, with people from all over the world flocking there wanting to ski the rugged mountain range. Long a secret, Grand Targhee offers similar views of the beautiful Tetons but often has superior snow due to its higher base elevation and western exposure, with powder skiing common and snow conditions almost always reliable. Many skiers only discovered Grand Targhee when Jackson Hole's conditions were undesirable, making the hour trek around the mountains to discover an entirely different snow situation.

Grand Targhee is a quieter resort than Jackson, with the ski village being the main source of dining, entertainment, and lodging. Development in recent years has expanded the dining and lodging options while attracting more skiers looking for a less-crowded alternative to some of the busier resorts. Grand Targhee is less about après ski and a trendy bar scene and more about great powder and uncrowded splopes.

While those looking for active nightlife and many fine dining options may be disappointed, the ski village and nearby Alta, WY (5 minutes away) offer enough dining choices to remain well-fed for a few days of good skiing. The Branding Iron at the base village is a staple for anyone skiing Targhee, and there are a couple other, casual establishments with decent food. The towns of nearby Alta and Driggs also offer restaurant choices, and the drive to them takes no longer than the drive from the base village to the downtown area at other resorts like Steamboat or Jackson.

Lodging at Targhee consists of three choices near the base village. While they may strike some as a bit dated, they offer very easy access to the lifts and are generally reasonable relative to other resorts. The newer developments are closer to Alta and Driggs, such as the Teton Creek townhomes near Driggs. While this area is still a bit "undiscovered", we wouldn't be surprised to see more lodging and dining choices open up as people continue to find this face of the Tetons.

Skiing the mountain is manageable for a family, despite Targhee's 2,500+ acres of skiable terrain. Looking at the mountain from left to right, there are three areas most people become familiar with: The ample beginner area serviced by the Shoshone lift, the mix of blues and blacks on Fred's Mountain serviced by the Dreamcatcher lift, and the intermediate terrain on the right, Peaked Mountain, serviced by the Sacajawea lift. Additional lifts can take you higher on Peaked Mountain for some very challenging terrain, but for the typical skiing family, these three lifts will provide you with enough variety and great runs to keep everyone happy.

For the experts in the group, Targhee offers unparalleled snowcat skiing, acres upon acres of expert powder accessed by 12-person snow machines twice a day. While the typical skier will be more than happy with the terrain that is reachable by the lift system, the snowcatting is a great option for those who can't leave without doing some thrillseeking.

The family programs at Targhee are excellent - the ratio of instructors to students is very good, the staff goes out of their way to make it an enjoyable family experience, and you'll find private lessons more reasonably priced than at many larger resorts (will receiving the same, if not better, quality of instruction).

Don't let Targhee's under-the-radar presence keep you away. It can be an excellent place for a family to vacation, especially if you are looking for great powder, short lift lines, and a little R&R.

Terrain / Highest Elevation / Vertical Drop: 1,500 acres / 10,000 feet / 2,000 feet

Activities for Non-Skiers: Targhee is smaller – most of what you end up doing will be right at the resort. There are a handful of shops and restaurants, and a spa can keep a non-skier pampered during the stay. For someone who really wanted to see some sights and do serious shopping, a day-trip to Jackson, WY would be recommended, 42 miles and a little over an hour away from Targhee.

Ski School: Very good reputation. 4 and 5 year olds can enroll in Little Deers, which is either a half or full day basic instructional program. Prices range from $69 to $129, depending on length and if rentals are needed. Kindergarten's through 16 year-olds can enroll in Powder Scouts or Teen Adventures, with prices ranging from $69 to $111.

Day Care: Excellent small-scale child care program. Kids Club will care for children aged 2 months and up, and programs become blended with a dose of ski experiences if the parent chooses and pays a bit extra. Evening programs exist, too, allowing parents to enjoy a night out.

Getting there: From most parts of the country, the Jackson Hole airport offers the best service to the area. Direct jet service from Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles. An alternate airport is Idaho Falls, 80 miles away but an easier drive than the 42 from Jackson. Direct jet service from Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago can be found.

Insider Tip: During a longer-ski trip, Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole should both be considered for skiing. Jackson is a very easy day-trip from Targhee, providing for some new terrain as well as a fun, authentic western town experience.