What do you do when 1,500 pounds of Moose ambles casually out from the trees and stops dead below you in the middle of a powder ski run?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

You wait until that big hulk of a creature decides to mosey on. Sighting game - moose, elk, deer, coyotes, high-leaping jackrabbits escaping hungry mountain lions while bald eagles soar overhead - is only one of the unusual attractions at this dynamic gem on the western slopes of the majestic Grand Tetons in the northwestern comer of Wyoming, close to Yellowstone National Park.

Another is the awesome fact that it averages 500 inches, or more than 40 feet, of snow every winter. The snows are so dependable that Grand Targhee’s envied slogan is: “Snow from heaven, not hoses.”

All skiing is on two adjacent peaks: Peaked Peak and Fred’s Peak.

Peaked Peak, with a 2,800-foot vertical, is never groomed. It’s a powder paradise and its long fall-line slopes are perfectly suited to learn powder skiing. It can be reached by snowcat. Tickets include a guide,
powder lessons, and a small transmitter to slip into your pocket so you can be located if you have to be dug out of a snow slide.

Fred’s Peak, with a 2,200-foot vertical, is served by three chairlifts and a surface lift. Groomed trails cover only a quarter of the mountain. The rest is left untouched for the glorious benefit of powder, or would-be powder, skiers. Seventy percent of the skiing is rated intermediate on both mountains; 20 percent is in the expert to extreme range; and only 10 percent is for novices and beginners.

Snowboarders are as welcome as skiers both on the snowcat trips and on Fred’s, with its permanent snowboard half-pipe to play on.

There are 15 km of maintained cross-country ski trails that range from flat and easy to most difficult.

Nordic skiers have a wide range of breathtaking backcountry options. Guided tours, on either skis or snowmobiles, range across the nearby woods and into the high country with views of Greater Yellowstone.

It’s important to note that the resort suffered a major disaster in March 1990 when fire swept through the base area. Quickly rebuilt, the new base area, a cluster of lodgepole and stucco buildings with a southwestern flavor, won a top design award a year later from Snow Country magazine. The base includes the usual stores, restaurants, condos, hotels, and one bar. Readers also voted Grand Targhee one of the top five resorts in North America for snowfall, scenery, snow surface, accuracy of snow reports, food, and service.

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