With 500 inches of annual powder a year at its local ski resort and jet service into Idaho Falls, eastern Idaho offers an under-the-radar for winter sports. Straddling the Idaho and Wyoming border, 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 especially at Grand Targhee Resort. 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
Head to a Mountain Resort
Go Fat Biking
Take a Guided Snowshoe Tour
Soak in a Hot Tub
Spend the night in a Cabin
Bigger isn’t Better
As some of the big name ski resorts got hammered last season and couldn’t keep their guests happy. If that happened to you then it’s time to branch out. 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 interesting 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. Starting with its 500 inches of powder a year. One of the top five snowiest resorts in the U.S.
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:||6–1- high-speed 6-pack, 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.
2022- 2023 Grand Targhee Resort Lift Tickets
|Ages||Regular||Holiday||Half Day Reg | Holiday|
|Adult–13 to 64||$120||$135||$96 | $108|
|Senior—65+||$90||$103||$72 | $83|
|Junior—6 to 12||$53||$60||$43 | $48|
|Child 5 and under||Always Free||Free||Free|
|Beginner Lifts (Shoshone)||$50||$55|
Grand Targhee Resort offers lots of varied terrain and does an excellent job at dispersing its skiers and boarders across the resort. As a self-described Mom skier, I appreciate the fact Grand Targhee is zoned, where the slow and low skiers don’t become speed bumps for those trying to achieve a personal best.
This is an area with kids in mind. Though I met moms and silver skiers (65+) in this area as well, enjoying the variety of runs paired with its scenery. So those just learning, or those enjoying an easy ride down the run, won’t collide with the racers.
Located in a corner of the resort, this green area is portioned off, yet close to the main lodge. So it’s easy to check in with those in beginner lessons.
To reach the newest lift at Grand Targhee Resort, the Rendezvous and Ermine runs off the Sacajawea Lift are used to reach the Colter Lift. Skiers and boarders can explore new terrain and enjoy first new lift since the Blackfoot Lift was replaced in 2016.
In an area that was once restricted to Cat Skiing, the Colter Lift opens up 30% more skiing and riding the Grand Targhee Resort and is largest expansion since 2001. With the addition of 600 acres of new terrain off Peaked Mountain, the skiers and boarders get a mix from blue to double black pistes with the runs gradually becoming more treed.
Named after famed explorer, John Colter was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition and explored the Greater Yellowstone area extensively. The Colter Lift moves 2,000 people per hour to the top of Peaks Mountain (9,830 ft.) gaining 1,815 vertical feet in just over five minutes.
Dreamcatcher Lift and Blackfoot Lift
Considered the main lift since it’s located at the base of lodge operations. The terminus of the Dreamcatcher Lift is on Fred’s Mountain, the tallest peak in Grand Targhee at 9,862 feet. From there, skiers and boarders find a wide selection of treed or open blue runs with some black chutes thrown in the mix.
The Dreamcatcher Lift is also how skiers and boarders get to the Blackfoot Lift and its quiet runs on the western side of the resort.
Accessible down mountain from the lodge, Sacajawea Lift a mid-mountain lift with varied runs with a bit more tree coverage. Skiers and boarders will find blue runs off the Sacajawea Lift and is a favorite area with groups since the runs tend to be more open.
Winter Activities at Grand Targhee Resort
Skiing and boarding is a great way to spend a day though Grand Targhee offers more ways to enjoy its pristine landscape. With groomed and rated trails, the resort features green to black rated trails with 9 miles of Nordic trails and 7 miles of single track trails.
From snowshoe rentals (10+) to private guided tours, snow shoeing at Grand Targhee is an easy activity to add on to your getaway. Close to the main lodge, guests will find groomed, multi-use trails. Some are wide offering XC trails and space for fat biking. Others are single-file. Both explore the winter wonderland landscape at Grand Targhee. Snowshoeing is an easy sport to pick up for nearly everyone.
Outfitted with larger tires, fat biking has taken to the snow. For mountain bikers, fat biking is a must. Grand Targhee offers a green and blue trail especially for fat biking. Rentals are available at the lodge.
Though not as easy as snowshoeing, the basics of nordic skiing can be picked up by downhill skiers relatively easy. For those new to the sport, Grand Targhee Resort offers lessons.
With classic cross country and skate skiing trails, XC skiers can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the region along the Rick’s Basin and Quakie Ridge. In total, Grand Targhee offers 15-km of groomed trails.
An adult nordic skiing pass is available for $20 a day. Equipment rental starts at $30 a day.
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 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located just off the main patio in front of the Dreamcatcher Lift.
A cafeteria-style eatery inside of Rendezvous Lodge and offering hand-made Mexican favorites, hand-tossed pizzas along with burgers and baked potatoes. This is the place for a filling lunch in-between runs.
Open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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 7 p.m. and located above the Snorkels Cafe overlooking the main patio.
Powder Cache Bar and Grill
In a stunning dining room, the Powder Cache is a chef-created menu located mountainside at Grand Targhee Resort. As diners enter, the high ceilings showcase the antler chandelier and wood beams. With floor to ceiling windows, diners get a grand view of the resort in front of the 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. While visiting the Powder Cache Bar and Grill, order a signature cocktail or micro-brew. It also features a kids menu.
Located along the main patio, just inside the Rendezvous Lodge. Open Monday to Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 8 :30 p.m., Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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 Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Holidays. Night skiing is available Monday to Saturday from 4 p.m to 8 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.