We were massaging our cheeks as we cruised up the top of the hill that entered Grand Targhee resort, trying to rub out the permagrin that hadn’t left our faces since the Tetons had come into view. While encouraged by the light snowfall at the sleepy little resort, we anticipated the days that lay ahead. Lying in the soft beds of the Teewinot Lodge we perused the ski trail maps planning our first lines for the following morning, giggling like little girls.
We were warmly welcomed by the front desk staff where we received our complimentary snowshoe tickets for two, instructions on where to find the lodger’s hot tub and how to privately access the employee lounge to use their microwave since they are no longer allowed in the rooms after an incident we heard many rumors about during our stay. When we first walked into the Teewinot lodge we were suddenly taken back to years as a child going to camp. Everything was decorated in 1960’s southwestern fashion that offered a warm and cozy feel to the whole place. After settling into our rooms furnished with boot dryers, ski racks and a beautiful view of the mountain we walked the mere 100 feet to the adorable general store in the resort square. Full of Tabasco chocolate candies and hyped up on caffeine we did a little snow dance at the base to encourage the tiny specks that were falling to grow bigger overnight.
Our snow dance must have been well-recieved because we were gifted three inches by the snow gods for our first day on the snow. Typical to Grand Targhee, we were socked in with very little to poor visibility. Against our better judgment, we started out heading towards the Teton View eager to get a glance at the legendary peaks but it only led to a crunchy windblown face. With our lesson learned, we spent the rest of the day on the South facing side of the mountain finding untouched lines at first and then seeking out powder stashes for the remainder of the day. We were lucky enough to meet up with some amazing local girl shredders that were kind enough to let us chase them around the mountain for a couple runs. Some of the best lines being found down the Good, the Bad AND the Ugly. We may not have seen much of the sun that day but it put on a great alpenglow display for us during our apres ski. Sitting on the deck of the Trap Bar watching the side of the mountain turn from yellow to red to orange to pink before heading over to the hot tub was welcomed sight.
To counter balance the foggy conditions, the following day was the most epic bluebird day of the season. We were blessed with gorgeous spring conditions in the beginning of February that awarded us with breathtaking views of the Tetons. Rounding the top of the Teton View Traverse is was like arriving at a exceptionally sacred place. The birds were the choir and our hearts were the drums that sang the praises of the holy quad peaks of the Tetons.
Given the chance to see the entirety of the mountain we shared some laughs over how we maybe shouldn’t have ridden certain runs as fast as we had the day before, reading the mountain by Braille in the fog.
Every lift ride up, it was hard to resist unstrapping our helmets and soaking up the sun that has been hidden by the Boise inversion all winter. We journeyed through Middle Earth, riding the rollercoaster run through the tight knit trees over to the beginner’s side of the mountain. We lapped the Sacajawea lift and threw down some screaming fast groomer runs down Bird Woman, Shaman and Snowdancer while hooting and hollering at the visitors taking advantage of the onsite Cat skiing.
To further take advantage of the sublime sunshine offered to us again on our last day, we ventured out on snowshoes to explore what wildlife the area had to offer. Our guide, Colin, was eager to explain about the trees and animals that inhabited the area.
I had spotted an ermine on a morning stroll aimed at a hot cup of joe one morning. We found tracks of many others, some revealing a chase of a squirrel that may have met it’s end as the critter’s dinner. Our guide was full of knowledge showing us trees that had been recently scratched by a cougar and another that had been used as a baby black bear’s climbing practice. Colin was a walking textbook of knowledge telling us how natives of the area had many uses for the local Spruce trees- using the sap as chewing gum to alleviate oral distresses, hollowing out the trunks to be used as canoes and using the needles in the warm baths to wash away oils on the skin to prepare themselves for ceremony. We stood in awe of the area seeing it for all of its majesty after being debriefed on the many wonders the area holds.
As the Trap Bar is a great place to end a good day of skiing, it’s also a great place to bid farewell to friends met along the way. We enjoyed open mic night, where a few of the resort’s employees performed to delightfully entertain us. While enjoying an overflowing plate of Wydaho nachos, we were excited to see the love and support of local Targheers in the form of a Snow Bunny sticker on a reserved local’s beer mug. While driving back down to the town of Driggs on our way back home, we blew kisses at the beautiful Tetons that greeted us around every other hairpin turn, thanking Targhee for the wonderful weather, its beautiful landscapes and all the lovely locals.