The Grand Teton Adventure

Well hi everyone. I know that this blog has been more about my running adventures lately but I want to tell you about my trip out to Wyoming this past week. No running was involved but we skied all over the place and even had an opportunity to snow shoe in a national forest. I have to honestly say that I never thought I would get to see this part of the country. If you’re living on a budget and don’t have a lot of vacation time, skiing and traveling this part of the country can get pricey. Luckily, we all had a close friend from high school living about a half hour from Jackson Hole, WY who was willing to host us for the trip. At first, I was a little reluctant to book the trip because of a few reasons but I’m trying out this new mantra of living without any regrets. I knew that if I passed up this opportunity, I would really hate myself for it. So I went for it and booked the flights.

Myself and 2 others friends were able to work out our flights to land in Jackson Hole, WY around the same time on Friday. Fun fact: the Jackson Hole airport is the ONLY airport in the world that is inside of a National Park. Cool right? Anyways, we all landed and had about 3 hours to kill until our ride was able to pick us up. Believe it or not, the Jackson Hole airport is pretty small so we asked at information if there was somewhere close by that we could go to kill time. He suggested we go to Dornan’s which was a restaurant and bar a few miles down the road. We hailed a cab, loaded all our gear in and headed out. Here was our view when we got to the bar:

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It was so breathtaking and I had a feeling at this point that we would be seeing this kind of stuff for the next 5 days.

After a couple beers and some delicious pizza, our ride was here and we were off through the mountain pass into Idaho to relax and hang before day 1 of skiing the next morning. This trip was already off to a phenomenal start. Did I mention we saw a moose on the way out from the airport?

Day 1- Grand Targhee Resort

Our friend living in Idaho has a job at this ski mountain over on the Idaho side of the mountains as a ski instructor and thought we should start the trip at the resort he knew best. This was definitely the smallest mountain we went to but compared to what I was used to on the East Coast, this mountain was HUGE. So much fun and varying terrain with warm spring weather and sunshine. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We got on the lift and our first run was on the Grand Teton Traverse. It’s this easier run with a wondrous view of the Grand Teton range. I wanted to keep doing this run over and over just to keep looking at this view:

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It was unreal. After a day full of fun runs and sunshine, we were all pretty beat and went to the local bar for some local brews and music. I sat and thought about what we had done that day and it still didn’t hit me that I was skiing in Idaho with some great friends from high school. So grateful.

Day 2- Snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park

Other than our friend who had been snowboarding on this terrain all year, the rest of us were TIRED. My legs haven’t seen that kind of work in a very long time, especially my quads. Great cross training for my running right?! We knew we had even bigger mountains to ski ahead of us so we thought we would take a break and do some snowshoeing in the national park and just take it easy for the day. We slept in a bit, got a phenomenal breakfast and a local diner and headed out into the park. We had yet another gorgeous day with not a single cloud in the sky. We trekked off course and discovered some beautiful lakes, ate a small lunch and were on the lookout for any wildlife. There was one moment where it was so quiet. We were so removed from everything and it was amazing. I closed my eyes and could hear nothing but the air and the wind coming from the mountains.

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Day 3- Skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Ok it was time to get serious. Jackson Hole has been voted the number 1 resort in the world a few times in the past years. Mostly because the terrain is tough and they get a really good amount of snowfall. I have to say that this mountain is not for beginners or even moderate skiers. I consider myself a pretty good skier who can handle a lot of terrain if I’m smart about it. This day was…. TOUGH. All of the runs were steep and long so my legs were screaming at me after every single run. However, I had a blast. I love a good challenge and I’m so proud of myself for handling it. Our last run was from the summit so we had to take along tram ride up to almost 11,000ft above sea level. The view alone was worth it but it also helped that there was a delicious waffle shack at the top. After enjoying a waffle and looking at the view, we decided to head down. Here’s what the peak looked like:

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We headed down and were so spent BUT we all felt incredibly accomplished after handling a day on this mountain.

Day 4- Road trip to Big Sky and Bozeman, Montana

Montana. I have been to Montana. I’ve skied in Montana. These are sentences that I never thought I would say. BUT I CAN! After Jackson Hole, we packed everything for our road trip, called it a night and set our alarms for 6am the next morning. We wanted to hit the road early because we had about a 3 and a half our drive ahead of us to Big Sky Mountain. We watched a beautiful sunrise of the tetons:

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And headed for Montana. One thing that I also can say now: I have been to Yellowstone National Park. America’s first national park! We had to drive through a lot of it to get to Big Sky and there was so much to look at. Nothing against Idaho, but as soon as we crossed the border into Montana, the scenery took it up to a whole other level. Mountains everywhere, evergreens as far as the eye could see and HUGE yellow and red rock formations were everywhere. I don’t think people realize how crazy beautiful this country is. There is so much to see within our borders!

We arrived mid-morning at Big Sky Mountain Resort. Fun fact: Big Sky is the BIGGEST ski resort in the world. I looked at the map and muttered ‘whoa’. There was so much terrain. We were there for almost 5 hours and we barely scratched the surface of the runs that were open. Again, we had a 360° view of mountains as far as the eye could see. I think this mountain had some of my favorite runs.

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After some skiing, we decided to head into Bozeman to check out the town and a distillery. It was so funny because there was a lot of nothing on our drive there for about an hour and then all of a sudden, BOOM, a sizable college town! I have to say that this entire trip was also full of some really great food and beer. Who knew?

At the end of all this adventure, I was ready to head home. Physically, I was exhausted in the best possible way. I knew that I had so many memories with my friends and memories of these beautiful mountains that I would be content for a very long time. Like I said before, I don’t ever want to live with any regret and boy, am I glad I took the chance and booked those tickets. I now have memories of 5 amazing days with skiing adventure, amazing food, scenery that was life changing and time spend with lifelong friends. The main word that comes to mind? Grateful.

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xoxo

Stephanie

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