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Teton Valley, Idaho: The Quiet Side of The Tetons

Story by Max Ritter

Spend a few days on the far side of the Tetons and you too will realize that Teton Valley, Idaho is more than just a commuter town.

It might be on the quiet side of the mountains, but Teton Valley, Idaho is a bustling little place. Just over Teton Pass from its more famous neighbor Jackson Hole, it's home to a bustling community of like-minded individuals living for that ultimate experience in the mountains. As the community has expanded and evolved over the last few decades, Victor and Driggs have become much more than just commuter towns; the vibrant communities are home to thriving businesses, families and a culture that has defined itself on its own. Besides, the view of the West side of the Tetons absolutely can’t be beat.

Powder To The People

Grand Targhee Resort is one of those places that relishes in it’s somewhat off-the-beaten-path vibe. Situated on the west side of the Tetons and lacking the high-adrenaline attitude so commonly found on the other side of those mountains, Targhee is home to some of the best powder skiing in the country. Averaging well over 500 inches of snowfall a season, those pow turns come easy for most of us. 

The guardians of the mountain that make sure everyone stays safe on powder days. Buy them a beer. Jamye Chrisman and Cody Downard photos.

However, long before the mountain ever even opens, a dedicated crew of ski patrollers makes sure everything is on point. Patroller Joe Calder takes us through a typical day of keeping the mountain safe: running routes to mitigate avalanche risk, checking snow conditions in the hike-to and expert terrain, and helping out anyone who needs it once the lifts start spinning.

Local Tools Get The Job Done

Feeding that pow stoke requires a specific set of tools. Those are exactly what Sego Ski Co.’s Peter and Tim Wells set out to create just five seasons ago. They set up shop just outside Victor during a time of change in the ski industry, focusing on providing a lineup of high-performance big mountain skis that make sense to ride in the Tetons. 

"Product testing." It's hard work, Sego tells us. Grand Targhee Resort photo.

Sego is perfecting the balance between overly artistic and totally boring skis: They’re elegant and fun to look at, but most importantly, they rip. In order to keep oversight on quality, every single ski is manufactured in the local factory and tested right in their backyard. Talk about efficiency.

Where The Locals Come To Play

When it comes to mountain towns, the après scene is what makes each unique. Of course, Teton Valley is no different, and Victor’s favorite local watering hole is no doubt the Knotty Pine Supper Club. With Adam Towle, an avid snowboarder and snowmobiler, taking care of bar duty, the Pine serves as a beacon of the community. The menu ranges from Kansas City-style BBQ through garlic edamame to traditional burgers; the food is sure to satisfy. 

Adam Towle and Alpha Barrie forged a relationship based on surfing. Now it's taken them to the mountains. Max Ritter photos.

Since 1960, the Pine has been hosting live music several nights a week, showcasing sounds from all over the world. Towle himself loves traveling far and wide to pursue his own surfing and snowboarding adventures and always tries to bring a little piece of the world back with him. Recently, he was part of a program that brought Sierra Leonean surfer Alpha Barrie to the Tetons. Barrie now lives in Victor and is pursuing a career as a big-mountain snowboarder, channeling his surfing skills into a new medium.