Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Powder Paradise: How to Ski Grand Targhee
By Matt Gibson
Grand Targhee is Wyoming's best-kept secret. Grand Targhee receives more than 500 inches of snow each year, but isn't flocked or crowded by skiers and snowboarders eager to track it up. The result is a hill where you can find fresh tracks several days after a dump. Grand Targhee is really a powder lover's paradise.
It's also cost effective and a fantastic hill for both beginners and intermediates, making it perfect for a family vacation.
Trying to figure out where to go on a mountain can be difficult. I have found that, although trail maps show you where you can find terrain that's appropriate for your skill level, they don't show you where you're going to have the most fun.
To remedy that, here's my guide to skiing and snowboarding at Grand Targhee that identifies the most enjoyable terrain for people of every skill level.
Hardcore, Big-Mountain Skiers and Snowboarders
This mountain has a variety of terrain for those who love powder and steeps. There are three main areas where one can look for the best fresh turns.
The Dreamcatcher Chair will take you to the peak of Fred's mountain. From there you'll head skier's right toward a series of black diamond tree runs: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and East Woods (referred to locally as 'The Medicines'). Prevailing winds tend to blow snow into these runs keeping them full of soft snow.
Alternatively, you can traverse skier's left from the peak of Fred's Mountain and then unbuckle for a 20-minute hike to Mary's Nipple, which also offers excellent steep terrain.
The extremely adventurous will want to take the Sacajawea Chair to the top of Peaked Mountain, and then go skier's right to a series of double-black diamond chutes that are also constantly filled with wind-blown powder.
The snowboard park at Grand Targhee is meager, but still a lot of fun and is found beneath the Dreamcatcher Chair.
Intermediates and Groomer Cruisers
If you're into fast groomers, several are accessible from the top of Sacajawea. The most popular is Crazy Horse (skier's left) and Sitting Bull/Sweetwater (skier's right), which is the fastest way to zip to the bottom.
Grand Targhee has an expansive beginners area served by the Shoshone Chair. This variety of runs includes numerous wide and gently sloped runs, as well as several widely spaced tree runs decorated for the kids, such as the Eyeball Forest. This place is fun all day, even for more advanced skiers and riders.
Follow Roundup blogger Matt Gibson this winter as he shares the best of Wyoming’s adventures. Matt is a freelance adventure travel writer, photographer and blogger. For more adventure travel goodness, check out Matt's Adventure Travel Blog, Facebook page, Google+ profile, and Twitter account.