So different, Targhee and JH. Hard to say which I liked more.

Skied 1 day plus one run at GT; 4 days at the much closer JH.

S afternoon at GT
M afternoon at JH
T afternoon, very warm, at JH
W one single run, freezing rain and big wind, at GT
T afternoon, warm at JH
F afternoon, warm at JH

If distances had been equal I would have done closer to half and half.

What I donıt know is how much different conditions affect the two places. My
first day at GT, I had what in retrospect turned out to be beautiful groomed
conditions. Itıs a special place, hauntingly beautiful, intriguing trail
layout (reminded me of a gigantic Sutton) and tons of solitude. I spent my
time on the Dreamcatcher and Blackfoot lifts, skierıs right.
My return day, Wednesday, the Jackson town forecast was for rain, so I
guessed maybe itıd be a bit cooler at GT. (While the peaks are similar
altitude, GTıs base is higher than JHıs.) Be careful what you wish for.
There was indeed no rain at GT that afternoon. Instead, fierce, wind-blown
graupel that stung the face, turned visibility to about 2 yards, and
rendered the trails hard as stone. At least at the higher elevations.
Unfamiliar with the trails, and unable to see where the traverses dropped
off, I was hating it.  The lower half of the mountain skied nicely, but the
lifts all take you to the peak. I left, got a free voucher for a return day
this season (guest services said, ³If you can see, it ainıt da Œghee.²), and
gave it to a very grateful local hitchhiker.

JH is a big, sprawling, bustling, Kmart type of place. Its size and
steepness is awesome. It has no sense of mystery. You are never anything
close to alone. I remember once reading on the list how you can find tree
shots at western areas untouched because no one bothers with them. With each
of my four days at JH, I concentrated more and more on those, mainly on the
slow, slow Marmot double, plus some on the Thunder and Sublette chairs, and
from all of those chairs onto their southfacing slopes. There were open
woods, steep by my standards, directly under the lifts‹you could scout them
on the way up‹and I found excellent snow there. (JH actually has signs for
where they keep the good snow; they read, ³Caution.²)
So there I was, threading my way through barely skied woods (one stretch
reminded me of the first open area on MRGıs 20th), and never once out of
sight of the crowds. Itıs a fun place, but not soulful. And everything
costs. (You can sneeze for free. Thatıs about it.)
Conditions were warm, snow was soft. Fixed-heel skiers were complaining it
was too heavy; I was loving it.

Which do I prefer? On the plane back, I sat next to  a woman who spends a
week at GT every year and I gotta admit, that sounded pretty good. But I
loved having the fine food markets in Jackson, Wyoming, and ate well in my
condo at night (Herb-Marinated Peppers and Tuna; Baked Rigatoni with
Spinach, Ricotta and Fontina; Orecchiette with Sausage and Arugula; Baked
Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce; Sauteed Mushrooms With
Shallots and Garlic; Pasta with Tuna, Walnuts, Lemon, and Herbs; yum).
Driggs, Idaho looked pretty spartan in comparison. If I went back (unlikely;
this was an amazing opportunity; thanks, kind lister), Iıd probably split
time again between the two, more evenly than I did on this trip.

Thanks laSH and Ranger, for encouraging me to visit GT. So glad I did. And
thanks to the many listers who offered tips and advice. Trip worked out


On 3/21/17, 4:05 PM, "Sharon Heller" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I know GT and JH are very different places. I'm just wondering if you had a
> preference now that you've skied both.
> On Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 7:43 AM, telenaut <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hypnotic.
>> Fun.
>> .
>> That about sums it up.
>> And, for the more patient readers, the blather report:
>> The powder day was last week. The soft, fresh, sunny day was the day before.
>> Looks yesterday were deceiving. The ungroomed looked sweet and inviting. I
>> made it my first run, and it was a mistake I wouldnıt make more than just a
>> couple times more. Various descriptions, my own and othersı, of the tempting,
>> fresh-looking ungroomed spaces were: death cookie crumbs, hard boiled mashed
>> potatoes, and, from a laconic local, ³some tough crud.²  
>> The groomed was a bit hard to judge from the chairlift. The surface was so
>> uniform it looked like it could be porcelain. Certainly not corduroy. Instead
>> it was something unfamiliar to me. There was a micro-thin layer of loose
>> powder on top of a solid, hard base that had just the tiniest little bit of
>> give at its very top. Maybe itıs more a western thing? In any case, it was a
>> blast watching the western, 3-turns-down-the-mountain skiers put the pedal to
>> whatever this surface was and just fly. Casual as all getout.
>> Me, I did my silly little eastern turn, turn, turns, and had a blast at that,
>> too. This unfamiliar surface‹some called it icy, but not by my
>> standards‹would never let you down. No matter how slick it looked, you could
>> always get an edge. There were no ³surprises.² And that made for some
>> hypnotic skiing.
>> The other thing about Grand Targhee... laSH called it ³fun everywhere²; Iski
>> called it ³flat²... itıs both. (In fairness, there were many double-blacks I
>> never went near.) But the trails are well designed and even the easiest of
>> them had fun and surprising dips and twists and turns. I spent the day
>> wandering from north to south and plucking up any steep blue groomer I saw
>> along the way. (Most of the trails were steep blue groomers.) They each skied
>> like a dream. 
>> Iıd get into tele rhythm and yoga mind and just turn, turn, turn for seeming
>> ever. The scale of the place was baffling. Distant objects took forever to
>> reach, as there was just so much open empty space in between, and the time it
>> took to take in all that open empty space was time out of time. Trancelike.
>> On the other side of the same coin, big as the distances were, I skied
>> no-stop runs that I couldnıt imagine skiing back east. (³Stop? Why would I
>> ever want to stop?²)
>> Brought to mind Rogerıs ³This IS my church² line. Neither church nor
>> temple‹and I attended both, briefly‹has ever been important in my life, so
>> the thread didnıt exactly resonate with me. But skiing solo, dipping in and
>> out all day into ski yoga meditation, on the chairlifts, too, it was a deeply
>> spiritual, and fun day.
>> (OK, fun four hours. Skied 10:30 ­ 2:30 and decided to save what was left of
>> my jellied spine, legs and toes for the next day, now today, which will be
>> JH.)
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