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A Half Century on the Slopes

50 Years of Grand Targhee Resort

Published online: Oct 29, 2018 East Idaho Outdoors, Family Fun Guide, Road Trips
Viewed 307 time(s)

Look at a recreation map of the Intermountain region and you'll quickly notice more than a few world-famous ski slopes that encircle it. Sun Valley sits to the West, Jackson Hole to the East, Big Sky to the North and Park City to the South.

One problem, though. Aside from being a bit pricey, most of these destinations also sit a bit too far away for your average whirlwind day trip from I.F.

Thankfully, there's a closer option for residents of Greater Idaho Falls which also happens to be one of the best options anywhere. We're talking about none other than Grand Targhee Resort, which is now celebrating it's 50th season on the mountain.

Although technically nested in the Western Wyoming wilderness, the resort has always been the darling of eastern Idahoans in general and Teton Valley residents in particular. It sits just 5 miles from the Idaho border, and only 8 miles from Grand Teton – the mother of all natural landmarks.

In the mid 60s, a large group of like-minded east Idahoans formed Grand Targhee – a nod to the famous nearby peak as well as Chief Targhee—a famous leader of the Shoshone-Bannock people. The goal was pretty simple: to create an attraction that would benefit the community and the economy of the region. With that in mind, the resort opened with two lifts on the day after Christmas, 1969.

A Midwest industrialist, Bill Robinson, bought the property four years later and then sold it to Boston architect Mory Bergmeyer in 1987. GTR changed hands a few more times in the intervening decades, and is now owned by the Gillett family.

Over the years, the resort has expanded its offerings for a wide range of recreational opportunities. The terrain itself obviously caters to world-class downhill skiing, but it also offers top-notch Nordic skiing, terrain parks andsnowshoe trails. Other activities include Cat Ski adventures, a tubing park and backcountry tours.

Extensive lodging and conference/wedding facilities are also available, as well as a spa and retail stores.

Summertime activities include world-class downhill mountain-biking, music festivals (Targhee Fest in July and the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival in August), scenic chairlift rides, kids' camps, and an 18-hole disc golf course. 

Jake Rubnitz of Snow Brains (www.snowbrains.com) summed up the GTR experience quite nicely in a blog post from last winter: “There might not be a more beloved ski resort than Grand Targhee. Short lift lines, deep snow, and unrivaled backcountry access give 'the Ghee' a vibe like no other place on earth. Targhee captures the soul of skiing ... for hardcore skiers seeking out the most fun 'pow' day of their lives. In a time when big corporations like Vail, KSL, and Aspen are dominating the ski industry, Targhee is owned by a single family and is still thriving.”

For more information about the resort, lift passes, lodging, events and other details, visit www.grandtarghee.com.

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