14. Grand Targhee, Idaho

Grand Targhee has more than one personality. On the surface, this mellow, pristine mountain is shadowed by the western face of the spectacular Grand Teton. Problem is, it snows so much (500 inches a year) you can never see the peak. Ahh, but when it snows, it’s that cold, dry, weightless, linger-in-the-air-for-five-turns smoke riders dream about.

The only problem is getting up to speed¿Fred’s Mountain is fairly flat. But once you do, you can float through wide-open glades past rime-encrusted trees, or surf long natural gullies absorbing powder shots and ripping off the lips. If the lack of steeps gets boring and you long for some pitch, the ‘Ghee is not all mellow cruisers¿the resort also has a hidden dark side. A short hike off the top of the Dream Catcher Quad, past Mary’s Nipple to the north-facing ridge of Peaked Mountain, will expose you to more temptations than a prenuptial party. With names like Bobcat, Das Boat, and the Toilet Bowl, the steep chutes, suicide shots, and major cliff drops can be more exciting than your fiancée or more trouble than your ex-spouse’s attorney.

If you don’t know exactly where you’re going¿don’t go. If you do, take a photographer ’cause the ridge is awesome. But it’s closed quite frequently due to avalanche hazard.

The 2,400 feet of vert on Peaked Mountain is the exclusive terrain of Targhee’s catboarding operation. Just think, you and nine other boarders riding 20,000 vertical feet of untracked Wyoming fresh for only 240 dollars a day.

‘Ghee’s balls-to-the-wall boardercross course is a great place to test your skills. You’re sure to feel better after a little competition, that is if you don’t get passed by a fifteen-year-old ripper airing over your head in the whoop-dee-doos.

Check out Grand Targhee¿it’s a marriage that’ll work.

¿Steve Shand