I have to admit, I’m a bit biased because I had such a fantastic time at Grand Targhee. Emilie and I met some fantastic people there. Our hosts, local ski pros Max and Gary Mackenzie, and their friends were super hospitable and easy to work with. The snow was great. The food was good. And the people (it’s our job to interview strangers on the hill, so we meet a lot of people) were the friendliest we’ve met on the tour.
That’s all fine and dandy, you might say, but how does it stack up to bigger, better-known hills like Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley?
Here’s how it compares.
Grand Targhee isn’t as massive as Vail or Heavenly Valley, but at 2,600 acres it has more in-bounds terrain than Jackson Hole or Telluride. There’s also some amazing backcountry terrain off-piste. Receiving 500+ inches of snow each year, Grand Targhee has one of the largest annual snowfalls in the entire country (which is why it’s considered by some to be the best resort of early season skiing around).
Despite this, Grand Targhee remains relatively unknown to mainstream ski vacationers. Most times of year the hill barely sees enough skiers and boarders there to scrape the powder off the hill before it dumps again.
Grand Targhee is truly one of the great undiscovered American ski resorts.
Riding conditions, however, only paint part of the picture of a good resort. Convenience, amenities, and value are also important.
Grand Targhee isn’t the most convenient place to visit. Tucked away on the western side of the Tetons, the mountain is about a 1.5 hour drive from the nearest airports in Jackson Hole and in Idaho Falls and even farther from the closest major city.
Grand Targhee also lacks the highly-developed amenities of other world-class resorts. The food on the mountain is very good and well-priced, but you can’t eat there all the time. Although Driggs has it’s charm, the restaurant selection there is pretty much what you’d expect for a small town in Idaho. The culinary scene certainly doesn’t have the flare of a developed resort town like Jackson or Telluride.
The skiing and snowboarding at Grand Targhee are amazing, the food is good, and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve met in North America, but where Grand Targhee really shines is value.
At the right time of year, you can rent a slopeside room where you can ski to your door for as little as $99 night. Their website boasts specials for lodging with lift tickets starting at $55 per person per night.
I’ve never heard of any other hill in North America that offers the same deep snow and vast terrain and such amazing deals on rooms and lift tickets. (If you know of one let me know because I want to visit it!)
Is Grand Targhee the best ski resort in the western United States? I can’t say for sure. I still have many hills to visit. But if I had to pick an underdog that has a fighting chance, it’s Grand Targhee.
No mountain provides a bigger bang for your buck.
Whether or not Grand Targhee wins the Best in the West, it’s always going to be one of my favourites.