Inside Line: Grand Targhee, WY - Ski Mag

Inside Line: Grand Targhee, WY

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.
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Wyoming's Grand Targhee has received 10 inches in the past 24 hours, and 27 inches in the past week. And, thanks to the recent big snows, they re-opened the Blackfoot lift on Wednesday and will run it straight through Easter Sunday 4/4 before closing down for the season.

Wyoming's Grand Targhee has received 10 inches in the past 24 hours, and 27 inches in the past week. And, thanks to the recent big snows, they re-opened the Blackfoot lift on Wednesday and will run it straight through Easter Sunday 4/4 before closing down for the season.

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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).

Summit Elevation: 9,862 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,200 feet

Snowfall: 500 inches

Acres: 2,402

Info: grandtarghee.com

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Sugar Bowl, CA

Inside Line: Sugar Bowl, CA

Opened in 1939 with help from Walt Disney, Sugar Bowl retains its old-school charm with a 1950s-style gondola and a rustic base lodge. But it’s plenty modern too. It offsets 100 percent of its energy through wind credits and has a remodeled 35,700-square-foot lodge and a new skiercross course that’s home to Olympian Daron Rahlves. The best thing about Sugar Bowl, however, may simply be the snow. Each year, the resort gets around 500 inches of Californian fluff.

The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships were held at Kirkwood, California on Sunday, Feb 27th and Monday, Feb 28th—two beautiful bluebird days after a storm

Inside Line: Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.

Portillo, Chile

Inside Line: Portillo, Chile

At Portillo, there’s a good chance you’ll share a Poma with Seth Morrison or Daron Rahlves. It’s the off-season training spot for the pros. It’s no wonder why. All above treeline, the terrain is point-and-go, from rock-lined chutes to wide-open bowls to impeccably groomed cruisers. Laps are punctuated by boots-off, white-tablecloth lunches, hot-tub soaks, Ping-Pong with the locals, and thumping disco. Stay at the all-inclusive, European-style Portillo Lodge, where ski history seeps from wooden walls decorated with trophies from the first World Cup races. Thanks to overnight flights from the U.S. and a two-hour drive from the Santiago airport, you can even ski the day you arrive.

Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.

Inside Line: Blackcomb, BC

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski. Locals know that Blackcomb outperforms its better-known neighbor when it comes to off-piste terrain and jibbing. Plus, Blackcomb’s lift lines are shorter, its park and pipe bigger, and its backcountry steeper. And with the new Peak-to-Peak gondola—a record-setting 2.73-mile-long feat of engineering—now connecting the two mountains, you can easily zip over to the big W. But with Blackcomb’s terrain, why bother?