The ridgeline cut a toothy silhouette across the eastern sky. The stillness in the air, a serene contrast to the dramatic peaks piercing the horizon, was undercut only by the heartbeat pounding in my chest. The Buffalo Drop loomed. On the previous lap I’d taken the cheater line around the aptly named feature. The rock roll feels as though you’re jumping a mountain bike into a steep landing off the back of the largest bison imaginable. My ego couldn’t stomach skipping it again. It wasn’t that large. Not compared to the gargantuan Tetons I was gaping at, anyway.
About 90 minutes north of Jackson Hole is the hidden gem of the Wyoming Tetons, Grand Targhee Resort. Rising high above the flat valley floor, Grand Targhee is sparse trees, snowy glades and powdery bowls. From the town of Alta, there is a beautiful mountain road winding up to the resort, and as you turn the last corner the slopes are startling — the groomers appear to go straight up the front face of the hill. And dotted throughout the terrain are trees — if you can call them that — glittering like snow sculptures brined with so much snow you can’t see any green.
With low-cost living and high-class skiing, Teton Valley, Idaho, might be the promised land for skiers. But can it survive its own love affair?
It’s not a secret anymore (although, we selfishly wish it still were) that Teton Valley, Wydaho—just over the-pass from its big sister, Jackson Hole, Wyoming—offers much more than just four sleepy one-horse towns. There’s no debating the recreational opportunities, stunning beauty, and uncompromised authentic mountain-town feel. But it’s the people of Teton Valley—a curious blend of rough-and-tumble locals, deep-rooted LDS potato farmers, and eclectic outdoor enthusiasts—who form a surprisingly harmonious culture. Think of the modern tapestry of personalities as the fur trappers who meshed with the valley’s Native Americans in the early 1800S. They isolated themselves in this high mountain region for a reason—one maybe not too far from our own—and built a community based on a sense of belonging that keeps people here for the long haul.