Our original plan was to ski Snowbird for 6 days. Was able to change our plans due to lack of snow in SLC. Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee.
My wife and I flew direct from JFK to Jackson. Easy flight and cheap 4 wheel drive rental. Stayed at Cowboy Village Resort in Jackson. Nice place with small (very small) individual cabins and kitchenettes. 1st time to Jackson Hole for both of us. 7 inches of fresh snow on Saturday night made for a very enjoyable Sunday first day. Snow on upper mountain was nice and light but below 8000 ft started to get heavy and wet in the afternoon. JH is huge and while the place was crowded, was still able to find some nice fresh tracks in the woods off the Teton and Aprez Vous lifts. Day 2, Monday was back at JH and in line at 8 am for first tram to top. Clear and cold at the top made for some nice runs in the morning on the upper mountain. Lower mountain took a while to soften up but was fun, if heavy spring like skiing in the afternoon. Found ourselves skiing the Hobacks in the late afternoon and loved it. The Hobacks are a huge expanse of terrain on the lower side of JH with good pitch and endless line opportunities. Had a great time but found JH a bit intimidating for a first timer. The place is so huge that I feel like it would take a month to really start to get to know the place. (One highlight was the sighting of a couple of moose from one of the lower lifts on the last day.)
Drove from Jackson to Driggs IA for the remainder of our trip. 4 days at Grand Targhee. Also first timers at Targhee. Stays about 8 miles from the mountain at Teton Creek Condos. Great condo and location. ABout a 15 minute drive to the base in the morning. Arrive on Tuesday morning at the mountain and shocked by how few cars are in the lot. Maybe 100 total cars. On top of that, the main lot is about 1/2 the size of Gore's main upper lot. Never more than 1/2 full the whole time we were there.
Targhee has 3 main lifts. The main center lift serves the top mountain (about 2000 FT Vertical) with the most expert terrain and the two side lifts are both about 1200 ft vertical. The main lift was closed due to wind on day 1. Gave us an opportunity to explore the 2 secondary lifts and found a lot of fun, woods runs with good pitch off of both. Snow was a bit soft an heavy as temps at the base were in the mid to high 30s. Day 2 was interesting. 2 inches of fresh snow and lots colder. The soft stuff from the day before hardened up and the new snow hid lots of small, hard mounds. Still had a great time but really needed to pick your lines.
Day 3 was clear and fun with good visibility and softer snow. Day 4 was a total white out in the morning with heavy snow. Got 2 inches of fresh snow overnight plus another 4 before noon. THe snow was great but between the snow and the fog, visibility was almost zero at the top. Struggled the first 100 yards down until we could get into the trees and get some sense of the terrain. In 50 years of skiing, I have never had worse visibility. The skiing was fantastic once in the trees and we had a blast but the upper mountain was just a chore. Cleared up a bit in the afternoon and skied until last chair.
GH is more our style. Challenging and varied terrain with lots of trees and fresh lines but without the crowds. Never waited for a chair or felt like you had to race to get first tracks. You could still find fresh, untracked powder at 3;30 in the afternoon. Great trip and will plan to return next year. I'll try to post some pictures later. Eric
great report! I was at JH the same time for four days, first trip out there for me as well. Still catching up at work so didn't get a chance to post a report, hope it's ok if i piggyback onto yours...
Sunday shin deep in tensleep/cirque and the hobacks. Snow was great up high but got denser the lower you got:
Monday did some silky smooth high speed groomers and and fun laps through woolseys & bivouc woods:
Tuesday was a short day; Monday afternoons warm temps and re-freeze and wrecked the snow even up high and 0 viz flat light looked literally just like this - no horizon:
Very scary, I got some serious vertigo a few times. I had never really experienced anything quite like it before and was really uncomfortable on the snow. Packed it in early to save the legs for Wednesday.
A few inches were forecast for later in the day Wednesday, we were pleasantly surprised to find no crowds and fresh bonus snow with some boot deep blown in areas. Trees were a lot of fun off of thunder and sublette lifts. I hear what you're saying about the size of the mountain, pretty impressive! Fortunately a few of the guys I was skiing with have 75'ish days there so knew the drill to get fresh tracks and chord - even beat the wallets to a few!