This 4,774 foot-long behemoth of a lift is, put simply, a stunning example of modern chairlift technology.
To access the lift, one will have to ride down the Mill Creek Traverse to the bottom terminal of Sacajawea, ride up “Sac” as it is known to locals, and then take the Ermine traverse to the bottom of Colter.
One can expect 15-20 minutes of skiing or riding to get to the bottom of the Colter lift from the base area, or around 30 minutes from the top of Dreamcatcher, the main base area lift.
Once at the bottom of Colter one can expect to see virtually no lines, a testament to the lift’s stunning capacity as it is a 6-person chair with a high line speed of 984 feet per minute.
Colter will whisk you to the top terminal in just under five minutes, gaining 1821 vertical feet along the way.
Those last sentences contained a lot of numbers, so what do they mean? They mean that this lift is an absolute leg burner, in the best way.
Serving a good mix of intermediate and expert terrain, skiers and riders can expect to be put through their paces without a whole lot of time to rest their muscles on the ride up. The terrain truly exemplifies getting the most ‘bang for your buck.’
Speaking of terrain, one can expect to find some of the steepest, and at times deepest, non hike-to terrain in GTR’s boundaries. The closer you get to the bottom, the steeper the pitch will become on Colter.
Like most of the terrain at GTR, skiers and riders can expect to find mostly open powder slopes at the top and sublime tree skiing and riding as you make your way down the mountain, with plenty of powder pockets in between the trees and cut runs.
As far as run selection, you really can’t go wrong.
Rolling Thunder is the easiest way down, a run that meanders along the south boundary of the resort. Jack Straw and Poudrerie round out the intermediates, save for the Rendezvous return run to the top of Sacajawea.
Pierre’s Hole, Beaver Dick’s, and Eleanor are the black diamond runs that shoot off of the top terminal, the increased rating given more so for where they will lead you should you continue down these runs.
Beaver Dick’s is the only run of the black diamonds that is consistently groomed, and ski racers and corduroy artists should rejoice as it is a thrilling ski or ride from top to bottom.
One must watch out for grooming roads on this run as they come up fast on those who do not see them, and extra caution should be advised if the typical ‘Foghee’ weather is shrouding the mountain.
The Goat Path is the mid-mountain traverse and can ferry skiers and riders all the way back to the bottom of Sacajawea.
The Tanglefoot trees, which drop down off of lower Rolling Thunder, are also rated as black diamond due to their steepness and terrain features.
For those looking for drops, rocks to pop off, and natural jumps and transition, the crown jewel of Colter is the Silver Jae lift-line run. Immediately after loading Colter, one will have a bird’s eye view of this intimidating slope filled with natural features that make it a freeride terrain park.
As great as Colter is, the snow is even better. A typical storm will not only blanket the slopes with a generous helping of light, dry snow, but winds rising from Teton Canyon also have a tendency to add wind-deposited powder to the northern and lower slopes of Peaked Mt.
Compared to the other lifts on the mountain, Colter is in a league of its own.
Due to its isolation from the base area, its exceptional terrain, and its strikingly modern design, one can sometimes feel like you are on a whole different mountain compared to the rest of the resort.
While anyone can enjoy this lift and its stunning views, to truly get the most out of it a high level of skiing and riding experience is needed. This lift most rewards those who are willing to go fast and take chances with some of the best runs at the resort.
Aggressive-minded skiers and riders should also beware of unmarked and hidden obstacles due to the difficulty of terrain found on Peaked Mountain. The lower reaches of this terrain are also some of the last to fill in, so please ski and ride mindfully. Treewell danger can also be high, so always ski and ride with a partner.
To get back to the base area, follow either Rendezvous or Jack Straw from the top of Colter to the top of Sacajawea and hop on Dreamweaver, which will lead you to the Powder Reserve Traverse (or “PRT”).
From there you can have a beer and enjoy live music at the (in)famous Trap Bar or a delicious meal at the Powder Cache restaurant. If you feel the need to keep a good thing going this route also accesses the Dreamcatcher chairlift, which will bring you to the top of Fred’s Mountian.
We hope you enjoy your stay at Teton Valley Cabins and your time at Grand Targhee Resort. Thank you for visiting and be sure to stay with us on your next adventure to our magical mountain valley!