Teton Valley presents the first annual great Snow Fest a place where the Snow Gods are truly celebrated!It has definitely been a strange winter thus far. No one can dispute that. Weather is always a hot topic of discussion, in all seasons, but even more so this year across the entire country. You see news clips of people ringing in the New Year rolling skating through Central Park, in t-shirts no less. The Rocky Mountains in particular were poised to celebrate another repeat performance of La Nina after the 2010-11 ski season was one of total euphoria, not to mention record snow fall for many ski areas. Now, most of these same resorts find themselves off to a struggling start, and the areas fortunate enough to open for the Christmas holidays now limp into a new year. They remain eternally optimistic. That’s the only way to approach the "snow farming" business that ski industry types find themselves in. They’ve all struggled through the years with marginal at best snow conditions, and having been down this road before, they cringe at the thought of history repeating itself.
Ski Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole
Now, let’s talk about Teton Valley and the snow levels at our local resorts Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole. These guys jumped ahead of the pack right out of the gates and continue to lead the nation on total snowfall to date. Their snow measured on summit and base snow stakes reflect this early bounty. All of Grand Targhee’s terrain is open, all lifts running. Normally this January status would be ho hum for this powder capital of the country, a what-else-is-new kind of update. However, in this particular year, this is indeed a precious development and 11 feet of total snowfall to date is not lost on the masses, view more of Targhee Mountain conditions.
Jackson Hole also has reason to celebrate, sitting at the 10 feet of total snowfall, and is proud of its 42" summit snow depth, and rightfully so. All of their lifts are operating except one, which does indeed turn on weekends. Both of these mountains have impressive skiable acreage so their snow reports are especially meaningful, especially compared to many of their competitors in the region.
The Great Snow Fest – Teton Valley Style
The entire community of Teton Valley, Idaho, including Grand Targhee in nearby Alta, Wy, is getting ready to celebrate their first annual Great Snow Fest January 12-15 and in their words, this event is "celebrating the wonder of snow." Somehow seems more relevant this season… Teton Valley relies heavily on winter recreation, of which Grand Targhee is a major component. Their home resort boats an annual average snowfall of 500" plus, and snow levels even on the valley floor never ceases to impress even the hardened winter visitor. Yeah, no argument here that this year the numbers are not quite as impressive but this valley is feeling blessed non-the-less. Their local mountain is open and also garnering national attention for its refusal to participate in the "no snow" trend of 2011-12. The first Snow Fest is quickly approaching and the events will be a welcomed reprieve, especially for out-of- towners expected to attend, anxious to play once again in the white stuff.
There’s something at this festival for everyone. We’ve all seen the artistic wizardry created out of a bloc of ice. It’s usually at a wedding when a dove, swan or heart decorates the reception table. Snow sculptures are definitely cool and gawkers should be in for a huge treat when they see what will suddenly appear from a block of ice at this snow festival. It solidifies the old saying, "every job is easy if you have the right tools," and in this case, it’s a hunk of ice, albeit sizable block of ice, a sharp chainsaw and some blow torches. Oh, and did I mention talent sure helps. Artist Michael Hoffman is the iceman for this event and viewers will be astounded by what this guy can do with water frozen over. The Teton Arts Council has many events in Teton Valley.
For the folks who covet the Nordic tradition of skiing, a don’t miss event is the Backcountry Film Festival hosted by Teton Valley Trails and Pathways on the 12th in Victor’s Wildroom Room. You’re sure to be inspired by what you see on this silver screen. Sufficiently motivated, you’re ready to sign up for one of the most celebrated Nordic events in the Rockies – the 9th Annual Teton Ridge Classic held Saturday at the drop-dead gorgeous Teton Ridge Ranch. Harboring outdated equipment in your ski quiver – not a problem. These guys are also featuring a "wood ski" division this year!
There’s a luge demo in Victor’s park, snow bike demos and races at Grand Targhee, and of course the big daddy event – Skijoring! Trust me, you don’t see a dynamic event like skijoring often and it alone is worth a trip to Teton Valley this weekend! Skiers and snowboarders are pulled by horses through jumps and other obstacles while holding on for dear life. This takes a brave soul, not to mention competency and precision on their boards. Check this one out for sure!
The Best Place to Stay in the Teton Valley or Jackson Hole
A stone’s throw to events, but a welcomed reprieve when you need a break from all the action is Teton Springs Lodge and Spa. This all-season luxury resort in downtown Victor is offering special lodging rates for the Snow Fest and other winter activities. You’ll love the quiet elegance and affordability this place affords. While you’re there be sure to check out the Stillwaters Spa & Salon. After all, tomorrow is another big day! Check the schedule and plan to spend some time in Teton Valley this winter, where there’s always a celebration of the snow.