Grand Targhee Resort is a skier’s resort, not a resort with skiing. My brother has been visiting for years with a large group of friends. This year, my son and I finally took him up on his offer to join them, and we had a magical week in this storybook winter wonderland. Our itinerary below allows you to experience the best that Targhee Resort has to offer.
Get Settled at Grand Targhee
Getting to Targhee: If you are flying, you can either fly into Idaho Falls airport or Jackson Hole airport. We flew into Jackson Hole, where we were greeted by locals handing out glasses of orange juice or mimosas and snacks. I like that kind of welcome!
Jackson is a small airport and easy to navigate. From the airport you can rent a car or find your shuttle to the Resort. If you are renting a car, make sure it has four-wheel drive. These snowy roads are not for the faint of heart.
One thing to know if you are coming from Jackson Hole, depending on the weather, they may close the Teton Pass between Jackson and Targhee. If this happens, your 1.5 hour drive will become quite a bit longer depending on conditions. It doesn’t often happen, but it can. This is probably most important when trying to catch your flight back out.
Check In: There are three types of rooms onsite at Grand Targhee Resort, as well as townhomes and private residences in the valley in Driggs, Idaho, about 20 minutes away on the access road.
At the resort are motel style rooms (Targhee Lodge), suites with two bedrooms for larger groups (Sioux Lodge) and standard hotel rooms (Teewinot Lodge). We stayed in the later at the Teewinot Lodge.
Our room in the Teewinot Lodge was simple, but they have good beds and nice thick towels, as well as a mini-fridge, coffee maker, microwave AND boot and glove dryers!
Most importantly though, no matter where you stay onsite, you are within 100 yards of the base area and the lift.
Get Your Gear: Head to the rental area on the afternoon of your arrival to get your gear so you are all ready to hit the slopes in the morning. We arrived at 4 pm to no line and were in and out in less than 20 minutes.
Hotel guests (and those renting skis) can leave their skis and poles at night in the ‘ski corral’, which is between the Lodge and the mountain base. Just ring the bell, hand them your stuff and you’re good to go. It’s a free service.
Apres: Let the kids play in the snow while the adults head to the Trap Bar for happy hour drinks and live music. The Trap Bar is 21 and over until 6 pm. We recommend the Wydaho waffle fry nachos — why not, you’ll burn all those calories on the slopes tomorrow.
Day 1: Get Your Ski Legs at Ski School
Get Your Ski Legs: After a quick breakfast in the room, head to the slopes for some fresh morning powder. Since we are once a year skiers, my son and I did a few green runs before heading to our ski lesson.
Ski School: Like most resorts, Targhee has a good ski school for everyone from preschoolers to adults. I like to take a lesson to get used to skis again and to learn the resort. Carol my instructor lead us to some of the easier blues and gave me some things to work on during the day like make an C, not a J, and keep your hands in front of you.
Mountain Tour: If you are an accomplished skier and want to skip ski school, make sure to take the Mountain Tour offered at 10:30 am each day.
Unlike other ski resorts we’ve been to, Targhee seems more wide open. The ski runs aren’t always defined by trees, and when the Ghee comes in (Targhee’s word for fog), it makes it harder to navigate for those who aren’t familiar with the resort.
Break for Lunch: Whether you bring your own, or grab pizza or house made tamales from Wild Bills in the Lodge, head back to the spacious Teewinot lobby (it’s so close and only open to lodging guests) to relax in front of the fireplace and eat your lunch.
Go Snow Tubing: The slopes at Targhee close at 4 pm, which leaves plenty of time for tubing before dinner. Grab the kids and race each other down the hill, or hook the tubes together and go down as a family. The best part…the magic carpet brings you back up for another run!
Dinner: The Branding Iron is the place for a nice relaxing dinner after a day of activity. Go light with the delicious Quinoa salad, or order something adventurous that will warm up your insides like the bison bolognese with house made pasta. Mmmmm
Day 2: Explore
Breakfast: Head to Snorkels cafe for a delicious egg sandwich or some tasty baked goods with a hot cup of coffee.
Sample the Mountain: Targhee has three main lifts and a beginner lift. Ski the Blackfoot lift with two wide open blue bowls from top to bottom. If the “ghee” (Targhee fog) comes in head over to the Sakajawea lift which is lower and less prone to fog.
Day 3: Powder Day at Grand Targhee Resort
Snow, Snow and More Snow: My brother and some of his friends have been coming to Targhee for decades. When asked what they liked best, all of them said the snow. The eight days prior to our visit the resort had 56 inches of snow! And we got more each day. Even at 3 pm, you can still find powder at Targhee.
Early Tracks: If you want first dibs on the powder, sign up for the Early Tracks program at Targhee and head out with a guide an hour before lifts open to ski the virgin snow.
Go snowshoeing: With no lift lines, it’s easy to get in a ton of runs in an hour. Take a break from skiing or shredding and slow it down a bit with a snowshoe tour. I know most people come to Targhee to ski, but I really recommend taking two hours for a guided tour of the single track trails.
Walking out into the white wonderland, between snow-capped trees, breathing in the cold fresh air is rejuvenating. Our guide, JJ was knowledgeable about the area and showed things we would have missed otherwise, like the scratch marks of a big cat on the trees, or where a family of bears had climbed up.
Teton Vista Traverse: If the day is clear, head up the Dreamcatcher lift and take the green Teton Vista Traverse – even if you aren’t a green skier. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the Grand Tetons covered in snow.
Hit the Hot Tub: After a day of skiing and snowshoeing, you’ll need to sooth those tired muscles. At 5 pm, the hot tub is the place to be. The pool is heated too if the kids want to play a game of Marco Polo while you soak. It’s always fun to be in a bathing suit with snow all around you, it’s also nice to meet other skiers. We met folks from California and Utah.
Dinner in Driggs: If you have a car, head down the mountain for dinner at Warbirds, which is located at the private airstrip hanger. While you wait for dinner (my son is still raving about the duck) visit the vintage planes in the hanger, and then pay your respects for those who serve at the Missing Man Table.
Day 4: Bye Bye Tetons
Make Tracks: Get your blood flowing with a morning fat bike ride through the single track (It’s the same ) Fat biking was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done, so I recommend doing it early vs. after a full day of skiing like we did. It will definitely warm you up.
Look for Elk: If you are flying out of the Jackson Hole airport, leave a little early and visit the National Elk Refuge. The old fashion sleigh ride is worth it alone, but you’ll also see hundreds of wild elk, including bulls with some pretty impressive racks. Most are literally just lying around, but a few were ‘wrestling’ elk style by locking horns.
Teton Views: Get a window seat on your flight out. Who needs a drone when you can take the most amazing wing shot with your phone.
Plan to return in the summer. Mountain bike, hike, a bluegrass festival. There are just as many reasons to visit Grand Targhee Resort in the summer as there are in the winter.