True Grass

May 30, 2008
Outside Magazine
Grand Targhee base area during the summer

Grand Targhee's sun-filled base    Photo: courtesy, Grand Targhee Mountain Resort

GRAND TARGHEE, WYOMING - Perhaps you're one of those people who holds to the misguided notion that bluegrass music is for hippies. If so, you may be familiar with Telluride's annual jam-o-rama, which is a great party and a good place to go if you like Hacky Sacks and Ani DiFranco. Real bluegrass festivals, on the other hand, are about impromptu circles of fiddlers and banjo pickers in which solos are passed around with far more reserve than whiskey.

Go to Targhee and you'll see. Fifty miles across Teton Pass from Jackson Hole, at Grand Targhee Resort, the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival (three-day pass, $125; hosts 6,500 people over the course of the weekend, compared with the 10,000 who choke Telluride per day. Mountain-town favorite Tim O'Brien headlines, but listen closely to Tony Trischka's Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular. The two banjos (never a good idea) can be abrasive, but Trischka plays with Michael Daves, a Georgia-born guitarist with a gut-wrenching high tenor that's far more Joe Strummer than Jack Johnson. For a break, ride Targhee's new lift-accessed mountain-bike park. If you can score a room in the resort (doubles, $125), look for the headliners picking and passing bottles in the lobby, and don't say a word. Nearest airport: Jackson Hole.