Grand Targhee Resort continues to stand out as a top destination location for families, both in the summer and the winter. I am thrilled to finally live close enough to pop over on a regular basis, but highly recommend it for traveling families also.
Spoiler – Targhee has totally stollen my heart as a ski mom….I love the vibe, the ease for families, the views and the terrain.
This December we spent a weekend there just so we could give a first-hand experience from the viewpoint of someone staying overnight for a few days.
Located in Alta, Wyoming, Grand Targhee is known for epic powder, affordable skiing, a more relaxed atmosphere than the nearby Jackson Hole, and plenty of activities year-round.
I especially love how accessible the mountain is to families with young children. We stayed at the Sioux Lodge, which was literally a 1 minute walk away from the Kids Club (childcare), Ski Lessons, outdoor (heated) pool, restaurants and ski lifts. When someone forgot their extra jacket before their ski lesson, it was super easy for us to run over to our room and grab it. We could also pop off our skis and run for snacks both in the restaurant or our room.
While many locals do dry camping in the parking lot even in the winter ($22/night, permits available at the front desk), there is something to be said about staying right in the middle of everything.
Our room (which was actually more like a condo) at the Sioux Lodge slept ten technically, so is perfect for bigger families or bunking with friends. We were able to sleep all on the bottom level in the two bedrooms (queen room + narrow bunk room) which left upstairs for being able to visit and hang out once the kids went to bed.
We did have to watch the 15 month old near the stairs. They are too narrow for a good baby gate (which we didn’t bring anyway), so we just stacked up some bags at the top and watched carefully.
While the room was a bit dated, it was clean and perfect for our family’s needs. There is a small kitchenette including a microwave, stove top and small fridge/freezer. To save money, we brought food for breakfasts and lunches to make in the room. Breakfast burritos are an awesome make-ahead meal and I prepped a ton of veggies and fruit for snacks.
The small dining table really only fit 4, but it at least let the kids sit down and eat which was very helpful.
For food we love The Branding Iron for a sit-down meal and grabbing an easy lunch at the Wild Bill’s Grill midday. That said, like every ski area, the grab and go lunches aren’t necessarily cheap, but the convenience is worth it!
The outdoor pool is fantastic, even when it is very cold out. We quickly learned the heated dressing rooms (you need your room key to access) are worth using even when you only have to run a short distance back to your room (especially if you’re juggling kids)!
Not only did the older three kids take a full-day lesson while we were there, but I even snuck in a half day lesson (something I have never done!)
The three older kids (aged 4, 7 and 9) were in ski school from 9:45-3:15. Lunch was provided. It wasn’t anything special, but the kids loved it and I loved not having to worry about it.
We parents spent the day skiing on our own (gasp!) and checked in occasionally just to see what they were all doing. We were impressed with the instructors and felt like the kids were adequately challenged and well cared for. It was a great way for them to get familiar with the mountain.
My half day lesson was a great way for me to brush up a bit on my skills. Truthfully, our group was rather large with 9 students. This is normal and my instructor handled it well, but there is great value in a one-on-one lesson if you’re looking for that personalized attention.
TIP: Plan on tipping (ha, see what I did there?!?) your ski instructors. They work hard for it. There is an ATM available near Wild Bill’s Grill. About 15% is fair!
Kids Club Daycare
To be honest, I have never put my kids in care on the ski hill (or anywhere else for that matter), so this was a bit of a learning curve for us. This licensed daycare is available for kids aged 2 months – 5 years.
What made it work well for us:
- It was right at the bottom of the lift so super easy to just peek in and check. On the other hand, if we weren’t careful, the girls saw us out the window which sometimes totally threw them off.
- The staff was very open and supportive and was happy to deal with upset kids getting adjusted. They were also in touch via texting and calling if needed.
- They took the kids outside to sled and play (big bonus for us!)
- There were plenty of staff per child and lots of toys/games/activities to keep them busy.
Grand Targhee Skiing
I love the terrain of Targhee and that it is fairly easy to find yourself around the mountain. There is a wide range of terrain from beginner to backcountry/advanced (cat skiing available) accessed by the 4 quad lifts + the magic carpet.
The magic carpet is free and is the only place it seems ok to be wearing a baby on your back. While I do understand the safety issues, this is the biggest bummer for our family juggling lots of little skiers.
The Shoshone lift starts from the bottom of the magic carpet area and is a great place to start. Targhee’s Kid Zone stands out with tons of fun trails to which inadvertently also help kids perfect their skiing skills.
Our family also loved skiing the terrain off of Sacajawea, though recommend all areas. We lucked out with an incredible blue-sky day and fantastic views.
I snuck a lucky view of the Grand Teton off Dreamcatcher, but hope to go back and see more views on another sunny day. I missed the prime photo spot when the Grand was out!
Tips & Notes:
- Bring your own highchair if you have kids at that age.
- Pack food and snacks to avoid having to eat out for all meals. That said, the food is fantastic and we highly recommended the Branding Iron for family-friendly meals.
- Verizon cell phone service is spotty at best, but there is great WiFi that has a decent range.
- Don’t miss the Friday Evening S’Mores starting at 3:30 – it’s a fun way to jump start the weekend!
- Don’t miss the 23k of trails groomed for nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking too!
More Tips from Our Friends!
If you want even more info (and, let’s be honest, even better photos), head over to check out what our friends have to say about Targhee!
- Raising Riders at Grand Targhee – The Kid Project
- Gearing Up for Another Winter at Grand Targhee – Currently Wandering
© 2019, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.