Located on the western side of the Tetons, Grand Targhee seems sleepy compared with Jackson Hole, its over-the-mountains neighbor. But Targhee’s rowdy terrain has been made famous by Teton Gravity Research’s 1996 film, Continuum, Jamie Pierre’s death-defying 255-foot cliff jump, and the resort’s own prodigal son, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. During the next few years it will expand, adding a new lift and 600 more acres of inbounds terrain.
SPEND LESS... Check Targhee’s website the day before you ski for weekly rotating deals. The Twofer Sustainable Lift Tickets—two tickets for $79—include a $10 donation to pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones’s nonprofit Protect Our Winters.
OR SPEND MORE... Splurge on cat-skiing. For $399, you’ll get 20,000 vertical feet and a hot lunch in a yurt. You’ll ski 1,000 acres of glades on 9,700-foot Peaked Mountain before they become lift-served in a few years.
Backcountry Access: Get out of the gates from the top of either quad—Dreamcatcher or Sacajawea. Take Dreamcatcher and spin a 900-vertical-foot lap on Mary’s Nipple, then ski back inbounds or skin along Peaked Ridge toward Table Mountain. Bring your avy gear and study Brady Johnston’s new Targhee Backcountry Ski Atlas. Check jhavalanche.org daily for conditions.
8 a.m. Start your day with a breakfast burrito or a blueberry muffin from the Targhee Trading Post and Deli at the base. Carpool on Sundays—with three or more people in your car, you’ll each get $10 off your lift ticket and free coffee.
8:20 a.m. Everybody lines up at the Dreamcatcher quad at 8:30, so get there 10 minutes early and you’ll snag first chair. Then ski to the Sacajawea lift (affectionately “Sac”), skier’s left of the main base area, a crowd-free quad with access to glades, open rollers, and plenty of rock-filled steeps.
10 a.m. Head to Crazy Horse, which has the most consistently steep fall line on the hill and is a perfect warmup cruiser. From Dreamcatcher, hit the first blue trail to skier’s left.
11 a.m. Reach Reliable, the resort’s testpiece, by a 30-minute hike from the top of Dreamcatcher, first up Mary’s, then up the north side of Peaked. The steep face is littered with cliff bands, but air isn’t mandatory.
1 p.m. For lunch, try the Trap Bar’s Wydaho nachos smothered with cheese and fresh-made salsa. Or go to the Branding Iron for a burger or the $10 all-you-can-eat salad bar. All restaurants are clustered at the base.
2 p.m. The mountain’s abundant natural jibs make up for a lack of terrain park—go to the Middle Earth area, located off the Teton Vista Traverse.
3 p.m. Hop on Blackfoot, the ancient 1970s double, and find untracked snow to skier’s right of the lift, where it’s never groomed.
4 p.m. Go back to the Trap for some Bitch Creek or Teton Ale drafts, brewed by Victor, Idaho’s Grand Teton Brewing Company. Stick around for live local musicians like the Miller Sisters and pro-skier-turned-rocker Micah Black.
7 p.m. For a steak with the Targhee logo burned into it, head to the Branding Iron. Try the New York strip ($27), or the Idaho trout or the lobster mac and cheese. Save room for the steaming-hot mixed-berry cobbler.
Late Night Unless there’s a band playing at the Trap, Targhee is pretty quiet after dessert. Bring your towel and a few brews to the outdoor hot tub across from Sioux Lodge (closes at 10 p.m.).
Overnight Slopeside studio suites with lofts, flatscreens, and balconies at the Sioux Lodge start at $189 (grandtarghee.com/lodging). If you’re on a budget, book a dorm-style bunk bed at the Teton Teepee Lodge in nearby Alta (from $19; tetonteepee.com).