Grand Targhee Lifts & Terrain

Grand Targhee Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Grand Targhee Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    7,851 – 9,862 (2,180)
  • Average Snow Fall
    500 inches
  • Lifts (5)
    2 high speed quads
    1 quad
  • Ski Season
    mid Nov - mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 95
    Size – 2,602 acres
    Beginner - 33%
    Intermediate - 37%
    Advanced - 25%
    Expert - 5%

Grand Targhee Resort Ski and Snowboard Terrain

You’ll love Grand Targhee ski resort because you can almost ski every inch of it. The only exception is a band of cliffs running along the side of Peaked Mountain. With a vertical drop of about 2,000 feet (Grand Targhee Resort includes their hike-to-terrain in the official statistics), 500 inches of annual snowfall, 2,000 acres inbounds (plus 600 acres cat serviced terrain) and limitless accessible backcountry, there’s plenty to keep powder hounds very happy.

With the Grand Targhee Resort ski terrain, open high alpine blends into well spaced pines and tighter aspens. Whilst there is not a lot of terrain that will scare an expert, it doesn’t matter, because when you’re skiing powder, you’re in the happiest place in the world.

Grand Targhee Lifts

There aren’t many lifts at Grand Targhee Resort, but it probably doesn’t matter. Four chairs and one magic carpet carry you wherever you need to go on the hill. Two chairs, Dreamcatcher and Sacajawea (try saying that after a few brews) are express quads and cover 85% of the terrain. A fixed quad, the Shoshone, services a separate beginner area whilst the fixed grip quad Blackfoot covers some lovely stashes and tends to be quieter than the fast quads.

Grand Targhee Snow and Weather

It snows a lot at Grand Targhee. At the risk (very slight) of being proven wrong, there is no such thing as a bad snow year at Grand Targhee Resort. With an average of 500 inches plus a year (on par with some of the Japan ski resorts and Utah ski resorts), the reason to come is powder and lots of it. With plenty of trees on the hill, even on poor visibility days, the skiing and snowboarding is superb.

The quality of the powder is usually excellent, not quite skiing in Hokkaido powder, but very good nonetheless. The top elevation is adequate to keep the snow in good condition and the aspect is OK. Most of the ridges are west facing, and you can play with the aspects from there. The double blacks and Mary’s Nipple runs tend to have a rather northerly aspect.

As with all USA ski resorts, there are plenty of sunny days. One of the main reasons to stay overnight at Grand Targhee is to fully experience one of their legendary afternoon blizzards when all the day trippers are gone and a foot of powder piles up in an hour. Ahhh, such lovely weather.

Beginner Skiing Grand Targhee

One lift, the Shoshone, and a magic carpet, the Papoose, are dedicated to beginners which is a huge plus for Grand Targhee Resort. Confident beginners can take a journey up the Dreamcatcher near the summit of Fred’s Mountain. From there, the Teton Vista trail leads you past glorious views of the Grand Teton and into the valley between the two main peaks, returning a couple of miles later to the base area. Beginner legs will be due for a rest afterwards as it is a long way down.

The Grand Targhee ski area is massively family friendly due to its compact base area and uncomplicated lift system, the terrain, snow quality, people and staff are good enough to just let the kids run riot on the slopes. Around the Shoshone chair and Papoose magic carpet, a range of fun trails are set up specifically for younger kids.

Intermediate Ski and Board Terrain

EVERYWHERE is good. Point the plank/s, get the tears in your eyes from the speed, get afternoon face shots from the powder on the ‘groomed runs’, and learn to ski widely spaced trees in pristine conditions. Some of the best intermediate groomers are Crazy Horse and Wild Willie off Dreamcatcher, Chief Joseph Bowl off Blackfoot, and Bird Woman off Sacajawea.

If you want to learn to ski powder off piste or in the trees, start off between the South Street and Sweetwater runs in the lower Dreamcatcher area. In the Sacajawea area, a lot of the tree skiing in the advanced Quiver glades is within reach of strong intermediates.

Terrain Park

Park junkies can get a fix at a couple of small parks located off the Shoshone chair. Otherwise play on the cliff bands through the gates to the skiers’ right of the Sacajawea chair.

Alternatively, the Ladies Waist run under the Dreamcatcher chair is a long natural half pipe perfect for messing around on.

Advanced Skiing Grand Targhee

The great thing about Grand Targhee for advanced skiers is what is NOT listed on the trail map. Whilst named advanced runs like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, plus the chutes below the Happy Hunting Ground and the Quiver glades are all great, it’s the spaces between the runs where the real action is. Exploring between the trails is the key to prolonged advanced enjoyment.

Many of the trees at Grand Targhee Resort are very widely spaced, and for more challenge, some of the trees off the Sacajawea lift are tighter.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The expert terrain probably isn’t the forte of Grand Targhee, especially relative to nearby Jackson Hole. There aren’t a lot of expert lines, they are rather short unless you hike up the ridge, and if the powder’s deep, snowboarders will need to keep an eye on egress below the Headwall to avoid getting bogged.

If you want to be nearer to the Lord, take a little walk up Mary’s Breast (or Mary’s Nipple) and ski in the bosom of Mary. You can choose between trees or bowl or a little of both. This does get closed sometimes due to avalanche danger, but if it’s open it’s worth the small walk.

One word here for the super expert – CLIFFS. Some of the most huckable cliffs in the land are at Grand Targhee. The world record was set here in 2006 with a 245 foot leap of faith (he wasn’t even wearing a helmet!). A walk above the Sacajawea chair will show you the extent of his craziness. Some of the cliffs are not for the faint hearted; others are easier than they look and it’s all about there just being adequate snow to cover the rocks. Scope them out from the other side of the valley on Fred’s Mountain. The lines are easiest through the gates near the top of the Sacajawea chair and get progressively more ‘interesting' as you climb towards the peak (minus the “closed areas”).

For the Powder Hound

Here are a couple of tips for the powder hound. Firstly, stay on the mountain and be first in the lift line – not that hard really. Secondly, it can snow heavily at Grand Targhee at all times of day. In the afternoon, the number of skiers on the slopes drops dramatically. When it snows, these afternoons can provide some of the best powder skiing of your life.

When easy freshies have disappeared, skiers may want to head far skiers’ right. The vertical is only short and it can be a hard slog to traverse back to the lift when the snow’s deep, so snowboarders don’t tend to go there.

The jury is still out on the fresh tracks program, which departs an hour before everyone else. The potential downside is that you have to go in a group with a ski instructor. The terrain choice is not yours and you can only go at the speed of the slowest person in the group, but there’ll be lots of freshies! At least it’s not like some ski resorts where you have to pay $1000 plus for a private snowsports instructor to take you out.

Final tip - stay a few days longer and check out the backcountry skiing for more great freshies.