Work A Ski Season at Grande Targhee
Discover information on working a ski season at Grand Targhee and browse winter jobs.USA
Grand Targhee is situated on the western slopes of the Tetons in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, right on the border of Idaho and Wyoming.
From Jackson, it is around a one-hour drive. The world-famous Yellowstone National Park is directly to the north (107 miles) while Grand Teton National Park lies directly to the east (85 miles). Grand Targhee is the second most well-known resort in Wyoming after the legendary Jackson Hole. Often unfairly compared to Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee in fact receives more snow than Jackson Hole and has slightly more in-bound terrain (by acreage, although not by vertical).
Grand Targhee has 2,602 skiable acres and averages around 500 inches (12.7 meters) of deep and fluffy snow per season. This is the highest in Wyoming, and higher even than Jackson Hole. Along with the serenity and beauty of the Tetons, Grand Targhee is a great place for seasonal workers who are avid powder hounds and those who enjoy the serenity and grandeur of the mountains, without the crowds of Jackson Hole.
The winter season runs from mid-November to the end of April.
The resort is around 50 minutes from Jackson (42 miles), Wyoming.
Idaho Falls (pop. ~58,000) is the closest major town and is around 1 hour 30 minutes (83 miles) from Grand Targhee by car.
The closest town to the resort is Driggs, Idaho, 15 miles from the resort. This is where most seasonal employees live.
To get to the resort many people fly into Jackson or Idaho Falls and take a rental car to drive to the resort. Avis, Hertz and Enterprise have offices at both these airports.
There is also a shuttle service from Jackson Airport (AllTrans, Inc. 307-733-3135 / 800-443-6133 / jacksonholealltrans.com). Shuttle rates per person are: To Jackson – $16 one way or $31 round Trip. To Teton Village – $29 one way or $50 round trip.
A taxi ride from Jackson Airport to Grand Targhee with any one of the large number of taxi companies operating out of the airport will cost roughly $35. It will cost roughly $60 to get from Jackson to Teton Village.
There is very limited car parking space available at Jackson airport, so it is advisable to either take a shuttle / taxi or get a lift with a friend if flying out of Jackson.
Grand Targhee runs a shuttle service from Driggs (where employee housing is located) to the resort base, which goes between approximately 6.30am and 10pm each day. It makes stops at the Buffalo Valley Condos, the Driggs Community Center, and the Teepee parking lot in Alta, Wyoming.
The resort vibe is as laid back as they come; rustic Wyoming charm is combined with a no frills all-about-skiing attitude. This is truly a local’s mountain.
There are virtually no crowds at Grand Targhee, even on a powder day. You can basically be assured of no lift lines, even on the first chair of the day, and despite the fact there are only three lifts (plus a beginner lift and a carpet) at the mountain. This is one of the huge advantages of working at Grand Targhee.
The base of the mountain is very small. There are just a couple of restaurants at which to grab lunch, a small café, and a few chalets where guests can stay on-mountain.
Most employees live in Driggs, where employee housing is located, or 9 miles down the road in Victor. Both are small mountain towns. Driggs has a cool, Wyoming vibe, kind of like how Jackson used to be before all the money poured in. The resort village is very small and quiet with not too much nightlife, except for the après-ski at The Trap Bar.
Employees generally come from all over the US in addition to the South Americans who come via the Universal Student Exchange (see below). However, a lot of the staff are local to Driggs.
How is the Terrain?
Grand Targhee has the biggest in-bound skiable area in Wyoming, just a little bigger than Jackson Hole. Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole are the two major resorts in Wyoming, but Grand Targhee is often unfairly compared to Jackson Hole.
Grand Targhee is no Jackson Hole, that is true. The vertical drop is just over half of what there is at Jackson, and the tops of the peaks don’t lead to the same types of big bowls, chutes or other steeps as you will find at Jackson.
However, you will still find in-bound hiking access to glades, chutes and cliffs, in addition to powder bowls and glade riding. From the top of the Sacajawea lift, you will find the most extreme terrain on the mountain, with some double black runs leading you around and over cliffs.
Five lifts service the accessible terrain. One of these is a carpet, and one is a beginner chair, which means there are really just three chairs to whisk you around.
The mountain’s terrain is laid out over two peaks – Fred’s Mountain and Peaked Mountain. Most of the resort is geared towards intermediates and advanced riders (70% on Fred’s Mountain and 85% on Peaked Mountain). This makes it a good place for seasonal workers to work on their powder riding technique.
Grand Targhee gets more snow than Jackson Hole. This is because Targhee is on the western side of the Tetons. As storms travel eastward from the Pacific, the snow is trapped and dumped down – meaning more snow than the eastern side, where Jackson Hole is located. The powder in Wyoming is among the best on earth – deep, light and like riding through clouds.
Targhee also has the only snow cat skiing in Wyoming with 602 acres reserved just for this purpose. This is accessed off the top of the Sacajawea chair.
However, where Grand Targhee really shines is in the lack of crowds. While Jackson on a powder day can get smashed, and you can expect lengthy lines for the Aerial tram, at Grand Targhee it is not unusual to look over your shoulder at the lift line and see only a handful of people to compete with for the fresh powder.
There is also a backcountry access gate which gives you access to the famous Teton backcountry. Companies like Burton (Burton Peace Park) and Rockstar have previously held events here.
For days off work, there is snow tubing and 15km of Nordic Ski Trails.
Total Mountain Statistics
- Total acreage: 2,602 acres
- Annual average snowfall: 500 inches / 41 feet / 12.7 meters
- Vertical drop: 2,270 feet (691 meters)
- Base area elevation: 7,851 feet (2,293 meters)
- Number of lifts: 5
- Vertical drop: 2,176 feet (663 meters)
- Lifts: 2 quad chairs; 1 double chair; 1 Magic Carpet Conveyor Lift
- Terrain: 10% Easier; 70% More Difficult; 20% Most Difficult
- Summit elevation: 9,862 feet (3,005 meters)
- Longest run at resort 2.7 miles / 4.3 kms (Teton Vista Traverse)
- Vertical drop: 2,180 feet (664 meters)
- Lifts: 1 high speed quad chair
- Terrain: 85% More Difficult; 15% Most Difficult
- Summit elevation: 9830 feet (2,996 meters)
- 602 acres reserved exclusively for the Snow Cat.
- In-bounds, hike-only terrain
- Summit elevation: 9920 feet (3,023 meters)
Other Resorts in the Area
As a seasonal worker, you may want to check out a few of the other resorts in the area over the season. Jackson Hole is down the road and well worth a trip at some point to ride the huge big mountain terrain. Sun Valley, Idaho (a celebrity hang-out) is around 5.5 hours away, while the well-known Big Sky, Montana is around 3 hours drive.
Salt Lake City and the Utah resorts are around a 5 hour drive.
Finding a Job at Grand Targhee
Winter positions are posted on the website by the middle of August. https://www.grandtarghee.com/grand-targhee-resort-employment/
It is advisable to apply early. Jobs typically are filled by the end of September, but recruiting continues throughout the season to fill positions as the need arises. Grand Targhee is a much smaller operation than Jackson Hole, so there are less positions available.
Instructors may be hired without certifications.
Interviews are done face to face, via Skype or over the phone.
International applicants are able to apply for the Housekeeping and Food and Beverage departments, through Universal Student Exchange (www.workuse.com). This program is restricted to South American students during their summer university break.
You can contact them directly for information on applying to work at Grand Targhee.
Grand Targhee has also in the past hired through CCUSA.
Other Businesses in the Area
Many other businesses in Driggs and Victor hire seasonal employees during winter including many of the restaurants, grocery stores and retail shops.
www.tetonvalleynews.net may have job listings.
- Season pass for you and a dependent
- Reciprocal pass for other mountains
- Ski and snowboard lessons
- Food and beverage discounts
- Free employee shuttle
- Retail and rental discounts
- Discounted use of the Snow Cat
Finding Accommodation for the Season
Employee housing is located at the north end of Driggs, two miles from Main Street. Staff often walk or ride down to Main Street, while the shuttle provides transportation to and from work. Employee housing consists of 3 bedroom / 2 bath condominium units which are fully furnished. Each unit has a washer and dryer as well as central vacuum system. Usually, 3-4 people will live in each unit.
Single and double occupancy (per bedroom) options are available. Housing is first-come, first served.
Monthly rent is $335 a month for a regular single occupancy bedroom. It is $275 a month for a shared master suite per person which includes a larger bedroom, private bath and a large walk-in closet. It is $425 a month for single occupancy in the master suite. These prices are for season-long leases and include partial utilities. Rent is deducted from your pay check as you go. You will need to provide all linens, cleaning supplies, trash bags, paper products, personal items, etc.
Driggs and Victor
You could also look for a place in Driggs or Victor. However, more of the staff live in staff housing as it is an easier option.
www.tetonvalleynews.net may have rental listings.
Expect to pay upwards of $400 a month per person per room if you are in a shared house.
The Trap Bar at the base of the resort hosts après-ski each night and special late night shows throughout the season. There are also a number of bars in Driggs and Victor where employees and locals enjoy hanging out. Most weekends there are multiple concerts at the bars in Driggs and Victor. For the music lover Grand Targhee hosts the annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival and Targhee Fest. Another option is to hop over to Jackson at some point during the season. It is around an hour’s drive, so you will need a designated driver.