With regional jet service into Idaho Falls, eastern Idaho offers a family friendly area to ski and board that’s under-the-radar for most. Straddling the Idaho and Wyoming border, called Wyado by locals, Teton Valley is home to the towns of Victor, Driggs and Tetonia, all located east of Idaho Falls and west of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The Teton Mountain Range offers an ideal place to enjoy some of the best snow in the west. Here’s the best things to do in Teton Valley with kids in the winter.
Best Things to do in Teton Valley with Kids in Winter
Go Skiing and Boarding
Try out Fat Biking
Take a Guided Snowshoe Tour
Go Ice Skating
Soak in a Hot Tub
Stay in a Cabin
Bigger isn’t Better at a Family Resort
As some ski resorts got hammered and couldn’t keep their guests happy, the smaller resorts started to shine for many. With less name recognition, smaller resorts can offer some amazing facilities and personal attention without the crazy, cranky crowds plaqueing some big resorts.
For years, I’ve been a fan of the smaller mountain resorts and find them ideal for families. I like to ski with my kids and I want to find them easily on the mountain. We need varied terrain for my family of skiers and snowboarders. I like a mountain resort that offers a separate area for beginners with lots of green runs.
Read More about Family Ski
Grand Targhee Resort
Grand Targhee Resort is actually in Alta, Wyoming, on the western side of the Teton Mountains. Long considered a regional resort, it’s got a lot to offer for families looking to find a new resort.
Grand Targhee Resort by-the-numbers
|Base Elevation: 7,851 ft.||Summit Elevation: 9,862 ft.|
|Vertical Drop: 2,270 ft.||Skiable Acres: 2,602|
|Type of Terrain||Percentage of Runs|
|Total Named Runs:||97|
|Lifts:||2 high-speed quads, 2 quads, 1 surface lift|
Top Features I loved at Grand Targhee Resort
No shuttles required for the Parking Area.
You can pull up and unload the gear and the kids then head to the parking lots just a few feet away.
Everything is Close Together.
Find a rental shop, a gear shop, dining and lessons all within the same area. Grand Targhee offers gear storage for overnight renters and lodging guests.
Fun Instructors with Years of Experience
During my visit, I took a private ski lesson. My instructor gave me the confidence to tackle different terrain features and ski longer distances with his 30+ years of experience on the mountain.
A Dedicated Area just for Kids
For a smaller resort, the staff at Grand Targhee Resort gets family ski. The Shoshone lift is a portal to a green skiing and boarding area. It’s geared towards kids but fun for everyone.
Read More about the Tetons
Grand Targhee Resort with Kids
With its location to the left of the Dreamcatcher lift, Grand Targhee Resort offers area just for green skiers and boarders, serviced by a dedicated lift. The whole area is labeled the Kids Adventure Zone.
It’s not just an open area, tacked onto the end of a longer, more difficult run. Grand Targhee Resort offers a variety of green runs, accessible via the Shoshone lift. With two ways off the lift, green skiers and boarders get to pick their own adventure.
Find The Meadows, a great place to work on those turns. The Bobsled features rollers, or engineered terrain features, that are fun to navigate. The North Pole run boasts a terrain park. The Giant Ant Hills are mounds to navigate.
The runs in the Kids Adventure Zone are divided by glades of trees with paths running through each. The easy-to-navigate glades and tree runs help to build confidence. Best of all, each offers fun theming for kids to discover along the routes.
It’s not just kids in the Kids Adventure Zone, Grand Targhee is a popular multi-generational resort. Adults enjoy the green skiing and snow boarding area and I saw adults well past 70 skiing the runs.
For those just starting out, the Papoose surface lift helps those starting out gain confidence.
Lessons at Grand Targhee Resort
Group lessons start at 6-years-old for both skiing and snowboarding for all levels. The Junior Ski and Snowboarding lessons (6 to 14) are available in the morning, the afternoon and all-day lessons. Lunch is included for all-day lessons. Lift tickets and rentals are extra.
For those new to the sport, the Start Me Up package, includes rentals, a 2 1/4-hour group lesson and a beginner lift ticket. This package is available in the morning, the afternoon or all-day.
For kids 3 1/2 to 5 years, private lessons are available for fully potty trained kids. Adult lessons are also available.
Grand Targhee Resort offers a day care for babies 2 months and older. Reservations are required.
2021- 2022 Grand Targhee Resort Lift Tickets
|Adult–13 to 64||$93 to $15||$115 to $125||$92|
|Senior—65+||$72 to $85||$86 to $93||$75|
|Junior—6 to 12||$42 to $49||$49 to $53||$40|
|Child 5 and under||Always Free||Free||Free|
|Beginner Lifts (Shoshone)||$50||$55|
Big Kids and Dare Devils
In addition to a great green area for skiing and boarding, there’s lots of varied blue and black terrain at Grand Targhee Resort. The Dreamcatcher lift heads to the top of Fred’s Mountain at 9,862 ft. (3,005 km) with a selection of blue and black runs.
The Sacajewea Lift is located away from the main plaza and heads the majority of Peaked Mountain 9,830 ft. (2,996 km). Look for another lift to be added for the 2022-2023 that services the southside of Peaked Mountain.
Grand Targhee Resort offers cat skiing and boarding for a truly unique day and is the only resort in Wyoming to offer it. Snow Cat service runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is available for intermediate skiers and boarders with off-piste experience. Reservations are required in advance.
More Activities at Grand Targhee
In addition to skiing and boarding, find other activities at Grand Targhee Resort. Enjoy the outdoors and explore the wooded glades and aspen groves. It offers guided snowshoeing tours, fat biking and nordic skiing on multi-use trails.
Grand Targhee Resort offers on-mountain lodging along with a heated pool and fitness center.
Where to Eat at Grand Targhee Resort
Find several areas to dine on-mountain from a coffee shop with quick bites to casual dining with live music to a fine dining restaurant with a locally sourced lunch or dinner menu.
Find quick bites for breakfast and lunch along with a full menu of barista-made coffee at Snorkels Cafe. I enjoyed a hot mocha one day and followed up the next day with an iced mocha.
Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located just off the main patio in front of the Dreamcatcher Lift.
Trap Bar and Grill
This is your destination for a local beer and the Wyadho nachos. The crowd starts to gather at lunch and doesn’t let up until closing. During my visit, it offered live music.
The menu offers lots of local flavors with apps, soups, salads and burgers. The Trap Bar and Grill offers a full bar menu with speciality drinks along with local beers.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and located above the Snorkels Cafe overlooking the main patio.
In a stunning dining room, the Branding Iron is a fine dining restaurant located mountainside at Grand Targhee Resort. As diners enter, the high ceilings showcase the antler chandelier and wood beams. With floor to ceiling windows, get a grand view of the resort as you dine in front of a kiva-inspired fireplace.
With a menu showcasing the best of the Wyadho region, including Wyoming raised beef, diners can enjoy a hardy meal after a day of skiing or boarding. In addition to local ingredients, the menu fuses international flavors and find items like ramen and lamb shawarma.
While visiting the Branding Iron, order a signature cocktail or micro-brew. It also features a kids menu.
Located along the main patio, just inside the main building. Open daily from from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and at 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends.
Grand Targhee Resort is located at 3300 Ski Hill Rd. in Alta, Wyoming. Winter operations run from mid-November to mid-April. Summer operations run from June to mid-September. Lift are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What to do in Teton Valley Idaho
A day on the slopes is great, though find more to do in the Teton Valley.
Kotler Ice Arena
Enjoy a session of ice skating at a community ice rink with rental skates and public skating times. The Kotler Ice Arena is covered though open air. Open seasonally.
Located at 380 Agate St. in Victor.
Teton Valley Adventures
Take a guided snowmobile tour through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Reservations required and its office is located at 47 S. Main St. in Driggs.
Guided Backcountry Tours
Yostmark Backcountry Tours offers guided tours and lessons in skate skiing, classic skiing and telemark skiing. Reservations required and its office is located at 110 E. Little Ave. in Driggs.
Heise Hot Springs
Located about 45 miles away, Heise Hot Springs is on the way from Idaho Falls to the Teton Valley. Enjoy a mineral water soak in 109F (42C) water year-round. It’s a great way to finish up a day of skiing or boarding.
Located at 5116 E Heise Rd. in Ririe. Open Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the winter. Locker room and towel rental available. Adult admission (12+) is $10 and kids (11 and under) are $8.
Where to Eat in Victor Idaho
Knotty Pine Supper Club
If your party has a hankering for BBQ with live music, then head to Knotty Pine. And it’s family friendly.
Inside, the interiors offers a slice of nostalgia with knotty pine accents and local artifacts on the walls. Grab a booth, and if it’s your first visit, the Picnic might be the best bet. A selection of brisket, ribs and pulled pork with sides of BBQ beans, mac-and-cheese along with cole slaw hits all high notes.
Located at 58 S. Main St. in Victor, ID. Open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where to Stay in Victor Idaho
With freestanding cabins, the Teton Valley Resort is an easy yes for families. A complex of self-contained western-inspired cabins conjure up lots of adventurous thoughts.
Each cabin offers a fully equipped kitchen including a dishwasher and a range with an oven and a microwave. For families who want to cook, the kitchen is equipped for quick meals.
The common area features a small dinette set, a gas fireplace, a sofa with coffee table along with a large screen television.
With a variety of bedding options, I had a king cabin, though find lodging for up to eight at Teton Valley Resort.
Find plenty of storage in the closet and a bathroom with a tub featuring designer details. On the exterior, there’s a porch along with an outdoor wooden settee.
Dining and Activities at Teton Valley Resort
The Teton Valley Resort features the Wanderlust Bistro, an on-site restaurant that’s open from breakfast through dinner. Breakfast offers baked goods along with barista-made coffee and a good selection of grab-and-go items for later in the day.
The lunch and dinner menu offer lots of local flavors and I recommend the Yellowstone Bison Patty Melt with the fries. Find a selection of wine and beer along with canned cocktails.
The Wanderlust Bistro is located behind check-in and the pool and spa. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Teton Valley Resort offers a seasonal pool (summer only) along with a year-round spa. Find a playground on property as well. Sports courts are available during the milder weather.
The Teton Valley Resort offers shuttle service into Grand Targhee Resort if you don’t want to drive for the resort.
Located at 1208 ID-31 in Victor, ID.
First Time on the Snow?
Consider heading to Kelly Canyon Resort for a day on the snow with inexpensive lift tickets. It has one of the longest surface lifts in Idaho along with a gentle beginner area.
Beyond, find a double chair (Number 3) with green skiing and boarding. Though the green double chair doesn’t offer the safety bar that is standard at most resorts.
Kelly Canyon Resort has more advanced skiing as well. Head up its newest chair lift (Number 2) to find lots of blue and black runs.
Check out Kelly Canyon Resort’s renovated lodge for soups, sandwiches and baked goods. Though no lodging is available at the resort, it’s the closest resort to Idaho Falls and a favorite with locals for a day of skiing and boarding.
Kelly Canyon offers a shorter season, opening from December to mid-March. It offers zip lines and mountain biking trails during the summer season.
Located at 5488 Kelly Canyon Rd. in Ririe. Open Monday to Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing is available Monday to Saturday from 4:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m. with a separate lift ticket.
Traveling in or out of Idaho Falls?
Where to Stay in Idaho Falls
Holiday Inn and Suites Idaho Falls
Enjoy a new property that’s close to the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA). Find large, comfortable rooms and the property offers a restaurant, Burger Theory. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner along with local beers, wine and cocktails.
Located at 3005 South Fork Blvd. in Idaho Falls, off of Interstate 15.
Where to Eat in Idaho Falls
Smitty’s Pancake and Steak House
If you need to load up on carbs before skiing all day, then Smitty’s is your destination. Grab a stack of its buttermilk pancakes with choice of toppings.
Located at 645 Broadway St. in Idaho Falls. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.
Know Before You Go:
You will need a car for eastern Idaho. The roads into the resorts are windy so check road conditions at Idaho 511 before heading out.
This article was written after a press trip to eastern Idaho.