Targhee: Tedeschi Trucks, Chris Robinson

By Jim Stanford on April 1, 2014

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Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi perform with their band at Center for the Arts in Jackson on the summer solstice last year.

Once again, the strains of Southern rock will reverberate through the hills surrounding Grand Targhee this summer.

The lineup for the 10th annual Targhee Fest on July 18-20 features Tedeschi Trucks Band, whose guitarist is Allman Brothers protege Derek Trucks. A pair of Black Crowes will perform with side bands: singer Chris Robinson with his Brotherhood and drummer Steve Gorman with Trigger Hippy.

Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools returns in Hard Working Americans, fronted by crooner Todd Snider (auteur of this patriotic hymn). Royal Southern Brotherhood, featuring another Allmans scion, guitarist Devon Allman, also will play at the Alta, Wyo., resort.

Rounding out the lineup are Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, The Wood Brothers, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers, The Hooligans, and Big Head Todd.

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in memoriam: Slim Weston

By Jim Stanford on February 12, 2014

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Leon “Slim” Weston

Leon “Slim” Weston, the iconic cowboy lifty who greeted skiers at Grand Targhee for 45 winters, died last night after a battle with cancer. He was 72 years old.

Weston’s smile, cowboy hat and long, lean frame were a fixture at Targhee since the resort’s inception in 1969. He appeared in Warren Miller films and a host of ski magazines, gaining as much of a reputation as the resort’s fresh powder. A snowboarder, he was known to give out hugs and back rubs in the lift lines.

“He is the spirit of Grand Targhee and is greatly missed,” resort spokesman Ken Rider said. “A bunch of heavy hearts over here today.”

Weston was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and had been fighting an ongoing battle. Still, he worked three days at the resort last week.

“Whatever he wanted to work, we’d let him work,” Rider said.

Weston was a farmer and rancher who lived outside Driggs. He got his nickname after riding up on his horse at the beginning of a Miller ski movie, and the filmmaker called him “Ol’ Slim.”

Rider said the resort is deferring to Weston’s family on plans for a memorial service. More information will be posted as soon as it is available.

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powder, sunshine for Targhee opening

By Jim Stanford on November 23, 2013

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Frederick Reimers carves a north-facing stash above the Blackfoot lift.

Grand Targhee couldn’t have scripted a much better opening for its 45th season.

A huge crowd from Wyoming and eastern Idaho turned out yesterday to carve fresh powder beneath a brilliant blue sky. The Alta, Wyo., resort opened all of its lifts, with a 4-foot base on the north-facing slopes.

After several weeks of slogging through the backcountry and even up Snow King, shredders were elated to have lift service again. Skiers glided down runs with the crags of the Tetons and Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the distance. To the west, the view across the Gem State stretched for more than a hundred miles.

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new features for avalanche forecast

By Jim Stanford on November 21, 2013

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Nov. 10 slide on Jackson Peak.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center began issuing forecasts several weeks early this year, good timing given considerable snowfall and two avalanches (here and here) triggered by skiers in extreme terrain.

Forecasters continue to improve the website. New this winter is an interactive map on the home page that allows users to find forecasts for other mountain ranges around the West, from the Gallatins of Montana to Utah’s Wasatch and even the San Juans in southern Colorado.

The home page also has a photo gallery of recent avalanches and conditions around the region. The site makes it easier for backcountry travelers to submit observations, and new layers on the avalanche event map show closures for motorized use and winter wildlife.

While traffic on the website continues to grow, phone use (307-733-2664) has dropped off sharply, so much so that forecasters have considered eliminating the phone recording. The number of calls has dropped from 40,000 in 2010-11 to 20,000 and then 10,000 the last two winters, forecaster Bob Comey says.

The snow depth at Grand Targhee is 4 feet. Targhee, located on the west slope of the Tetons above Alta, Wyo., opens tomorrow. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which opens on Thanksgiving, has nearly 3 feet of settled snow.

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the last notes of summer

By Jim Stanford on August 13, 2013

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A rainbow appears over the Targhee Bluegrass Festival on Saturday.

Donna The Buffalo had a better view than the crowd.

“Everybody scream!” guitarist Jeb Puryear urged fans spread out on the hillside, who willingly obliged. “Now turn around and look at the rainbow.”

The passing squall came during the band’s centerpiece jam, “Hot Tamale Baby,” on Saturday at the 26th annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival. The audience went wild in front of the stage, hooting and dancing in the rain as nature and the musicians put on a show.

The rainbow was yet another in a summer of magical moments at Grand Targhee. The Bluegrass Fest capped perhaps the best season of music yet at the Alta, Wyo., resort, which hosted three festivals spanning everything from the heavy rock of Widespread Panic to last weekend’s acoustic picking and fiddling.

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