Grand Targhee Reinvigorates Improvement Plans
Just before the 2008 recession, Grand Targhee unveiled plans for major changes to the western Wyoming resort, but they didn’t get much farther than that. Now, 10 years later, they are back.
Resort officials have brought their ambitious plans back to the U.S. Forest Service and Teton County in hopes of moving them toward approval – and, ultimately, development of both on-mountain upgrades and base area renewals.
On the mountain, those improvements for winter include new skiable terrain, five new chairlifts and two magic carpets, increased snowmaking, two restaurants and warming huts, and a permanent tubing hill. Summer visitors will also get more trails for hiking and biking, plus ziplines and canopy tours.
“(The) return rate (of visitors) to Grand Targhee Resort ranks among the highest in the nation,” the resort said in its master plan. “However, while repeat guests are evident, skier visits have barely increased in the last 10 years. This stagnation is primarily due to a lack of lodging, resort services, parking, and amenities resulting in under utilization of the mountain.”
According to the plan, Grand Targhee averages 160,000 skier-days a year, on the lower end of the scale for Western resorts.
The plans separate out between the base area and the mountain. Around the base, they call for the 120-acre “resort parcel” to built out to 450 dwellings, 150,000 square feet of commercial space, a transportation plan aimed to handle 70 percent ridership, and employee/affordable housing.
On the mountain, planned improvements include new Lift 6 -- a high-speed quad on Peaked Mountain; new Lift 7 -- a fixed grip chair on Lightning Mountain; and new Lift 8 that will run from the bottom of Sacajewea to the base area.
Located on the western slope of the Tetons nearly on the Idaho-Wyoming border, Grand Targhee opened in 1969 with two lifts and a base lodge. It has grown to four lifts serving 2,400 vertical feet – plus a reputation for light, deep powder brought on by Pacific moisture funneled through the Snake River Plain.