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Grand Targhee celebrates 50 years of skiing

This winter season marks 50 years of the Grand Targhee Ski Resort. The resort was started by locals in Teton Valley who wanted a way for people to have winter jobs in the area. Some who come to experience Targhee never leave.

“My wife and I came here for one year,” said Mark Hanson, director of Grand Targhee Ski and Snowboard School. “We just came to play for one year. And, of course, now it’s our 27th. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. It’s a unique blend of mountains, people and energy.”

Grand Targhee opened on Dec. 26, 1969. Many families have been visiting the ski area ever since then, passing down the tradition from generation to generation. It has become a place that welcomes everyone thanks to the legacy of those who created it.

“I wear this hat in honor of Slim Weston, who was one of our original employees,” Hanson said. “He helped set a special vibe here by welcoming everybody in his own special way. In fact, he gave me this hat so I wear this sticker in his honor because we need to carry that vibe forward, to continue to welcome people to this place.”

Many around the Targhee ski area talk about that Targhee vibe. They say the place is special because of the guests, the employees and, of course, the mountain.

“It has a great feel to it,” said Jennie White, marketing director at Grand Targhee Resort. “It’s different from other resorts. People are coming here to enjoy each other, the snow, the conditions, and just have a great time.”

The Grand Targhee resort continues to grow after 50 years. This past summer, $1.8 million went into the resort for projects including expanding the Trap Bar deck, a grading project on the Powder Reserve Traverse and a new grooming machine. There is also a new master plan that, if approved, would include many things, such as a base area expansion and new lodges.

“The future for Grand Targhee is looking bright,” White said. “The resort – we want to see growth, but we want to do it in a sustainable and positive way that doesn’t interrupt guests’ experiences or our Targhee culture, the Targhee vibe that’s here.”

Grand Targhee is also celebrating 30 years of snowboarding at the resort. There will be a snowboard reunion party January 12 and 13.

The resort opens for the ski season on Friday. The Dreamcatcher, Shoshone and Papoose lifts will be open. The resort has had 56 inches of snow so far, and there are 28 inches currently at the base.

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