Northern Rockies/Alberta Grand Targhee logistics. Idaho Falls v. Jackson Hole

Jnelly

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Planning on Grand Targhee mid-January. My typical schedule is usually a Saturday evening arrival so a somewhat later night drive will be in order. That said it seems Idaho Falls to GT is pretty straight forward even though it is longer than coming from JAC. However anyone with a perspective on this? How is the pass between JAC and Grand Targhee itself.. I am used to winter driving but want to make the best choice.

Thanks!
 

AmyPJ

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Much better to fly into Idaho Falls. The pass that goes from Jackson is a windy, high-mountain pass.
 

fatbob

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Idaho Falls is a valley drive. Teton pass would definitely not be a heap of fun in the dark in a storm for a newbie unfamiliar with the road.
 

jgiddyup

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There isn't anything particularly tricky about Teton Pass given you have winter driving experience and it is much shorter but roads from ID Falls are much less likely to close. Wouldn't want to miss Targhee powder due to a road closure.
 

Jerez

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Where should one stay? in Driggs or at the base?
Interested in skiing, reasonably good food and soft pillows, not into big nightlife.
 

MAB

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The drive from Idaho Falls is longer but goes by fast.The route that takes you on ID-33 can be a very rough road to drive on if it is windy, because it takes you across flat farmland and there is almost not vegetation along the side of the road to block the snow blowing out into the road. I have had much scarier moments driving that road in the winter than I have had driving over Teton Pass. I agree with the opinion that the pass isn't usually a tricky drive, though they don't plow after 9:00 or so at night.
 

AmyPJ

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Where should one stay? in Driggs or at the base?
Interested in skiing, reasonably good food and soft pillows, not into big nightlife.
Well, if you're into nightlife, then Driggs won't be for you, either ogwink
I've done both. There are decent dining options on the hill, and the lodging is OK. The trip into Driggs isn't a big deal even if you are staying on the mountain but I'd want AWD/4WD just in case. There is a really good Thai place in Driggs.

If you want to roll out of bed and throw your ski stuff on, then hit the slopes, then stay on-mountain.
 

James

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Targhee was rated higher than Jackson on the Fun scale by at least 2 people in that other thread. Just sayin.
 

Eddie S

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I can't speak to the drive, but I fly into Idaho Falls pretty often on business, and I think it is one of the most convenient and easily navigated regional airports in the west, and usually has more flight options than JH, largely because of the large DOE lab there which brings in many visitors and contractors like myself.
 
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Jnelly

Jnelly

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Targhee was rated higher than Jackson on the Fun scale by at least 2 people in that other thread. Just sayin.
Lost in translation here. Is this like grand targhee is actually pretty cool. Or two whole people like it better than JH. ie Grand Targhee sucks.
 

David Chaus

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Targhe is awesome, and has the unfortunate location of being in close proximity to JHMR, or it might be more popular. And crowded. And pricy. Come to think of it I'm glad Jackson is there to draw the crowds. Nothing to see here, folks, move along......
 

at_nyc

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The route that takes you on ID-33 can be a very rough road to drive on if it is windy, because it takes you across flat farmland and there is almost not vegetation along the side of the road to block the snow blowing out into the road. I have had much scarier moments driving that road in the winter than I have had driving over Teton Pass.
I got that same impression about MANY roads in Idaho! I had that experienced in Idaho more than once.
 

AmyPJ

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That is true about the wind on the roads through the flatlands, for sure. But I'd still take that over driving over a mountain pass. Either way, I think it'd be wise to have AWD/4WD.
 

TonyC

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Targhe is awesome, and has the unfortunate location of being in close proximity to JHMR, or it might be more popular. And crowded. And pricey. Come to think of it I'm glad Jackson is there to draw the crowds. Nothing to see here, folks, move along......
Most skiers know about Targhee, but in terms of visitation it really is in Jackson's shadow, 160K skier visits vs. 500K+ at Jackson. The town of Jackson is not pricey at all as it gets 10x as much business in summer. Lodging is very cheap in winter for a very nice resort town. Targhee doesn't have the marquee terrain or the resort town that Jackson does, but Targhee is elite level in terms of snow and lack of crowds. That should be a very enticing combination to many people on this forum.
 

Fuller

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Another vote for Grand Targhee, it's been our last skiing stop as we drive back to FL from MT for the last two years.

Driggs has a few chain motels that are OK, and a number of vrbo options. Last year we stayed in a funky little cabin just south of Driggs, perfect for two but somewhat "unusual". The owners were nice and the cabin came stocked with dog treats for their labradoodle that visited a few times a day. Our skiing was cut short by a howling wind that stopped all the lifts and was worse the next day as we drove over Teton Pass. You literally couldn't see the car in front of you except when they stopped short. It was almost bumper to bumper the whole way but you rarely saw the car in front or behind. So yeah, the pass can be dicey.

Teton Thai in the center of town is well worth at least one dinner out. Yum...

The mountain has a really nice vibe to it. My first time up the Dreamcatcher lift I encountered near white out conditions at the top and had to wait 5 minutes until one of the crusty old dudes I had seen earlier in the coffee shop got off and asked me if I knew what I was doing. I didn't, but I followed him to the tree line and it was OK after that. I have only skied there 3 days total but it seems like a good mix of terrain for all skill levels.

Beware the "Aussi Drop" on the backside, those ropes mean something...
 

jmeb

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Where should one stay? in Driggs or at the base?
Interested in skiing, reasonably good food and soft pillows, not into big nightlife.
Well, if you're into nightlife, then Driggs won't be for you, either ogwink
I've done both. There are decent dining options on the hill, and the lodging is OK. The trip into Driggs isn't a big deal even if you are staying on the mountain but I'd want AWD/4WD just in case. There is a really good Thai place in Driggs.

If you want to roll out of bed and throw your ski stuff on, then hit the slopes, then stay on-mountain.
Driggs is a really cool little town. Staying in town or hill is good, but town wins for food surely. And the town saves you a bit of driving if you do want to do a day at JHMR.

Teton Thai is solid. Royal Wolf has a good tap list and solid nice bar food. (And if you hang around you'll meet lots of NOLES staff spending what little money they have). Tantaka and Forage are also both solid and reasonably priced dinners.

Most importantly -- do not go through Driggs without stopping at Pendles bakery. Its like it dropped right out of Austria.
 
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Muleski

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Most skiers know about Targhee, but in terms of visitation it really is in Jackson's shadow, 160K skier visits vs. 500K+ at Jackson. The town of Jackson is not pricey at all as it gets 10x as much business in summer. Lodging is very cheap in winter for a very nice resort town. Targhee doesn't have the marquee terrain or the resort town that Jackson does, but Targhee is elite level in terms of snow and lack of crowds. That should be a very enticing combination to many people on this forum.
I wanted to pick up on this. Targhee is great. I would encourage anybody visiting Jackson for the first time to ski it a day to two. Particularly if doing some crowd management. And Driggs is a neat town. Have a few younger friends who work in Jackson, priced out of owning there, who live in Driggs.

Tony's point about the cost of lodging is spot on. It can be downright cheap, for very adequate accommodations. Of course, you can also spend a lot of money should you choose. The cost to rent long term, or live in Jackson is, like the mountain "steep." But it can be very affordable for a week or so.

Speaking of the pass, the Wyoming side is the section of road that gets the most attention and money spent to remove snow and apply sand in the entire state. The Idaho side, not so much. So you can have pretty different conditions on either side, or t least during our last visit four years ago. 10% grade or so, so when going down, best to downshift and not ride the brakes. If you have experience in real winter driving, it's not normally too bad. Or has not been during our visits. Then again, I always rent AWD with snow tires.....or borrow a similar vehicle.

Targhee should be great. A lot of good suggestions.
 
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Jnelly

Jnelly

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Most skiers know about Targhee, but in terms of visitation it really is in Jackson's shadow, 160K skier visits vs. 500K+ at Jackson. The town of Jackson is not pricey at all as it gets 10x as much business in summer. Lodging is very cheap in winter for a very nice resort town. Targhee doesn't have the marquee terrain or the resort town that Jackson does, but Targhee is elite level in terms of snow and lack of crowds. That should be a very enticing combination to many people on this forum.
Definitely why I want to check it out!. (and for all the other reasons mentioned) I couldn't care less about the resorts or extreme terrain...I go to ski not sit around. I went to Snowbasin last season and for all the hype about the lodges, I did the walk thru, had a beer and called it a day. Ill admit the chow and fireplaces were nice, and it was cool to see the olympic site; but I travel for snow, no crowds and I kind of like to take a little tour to town after a day on the slopes and find some local haunts.
 

Jim McDonald

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@Muleski or anyone else: where do you rent a car with snow tires?
I've been renting cars on ski trips in N.America since 1990 -- Calgary, Vancouver, Denver, SLC, SF, even Reno once -- and have never been able to get real snow tires, only "all-weather"
 

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