Throughout the 2023-2024 ski season in the Teton area, a dedicated group of groomers worked diligently behind the scenes to maintain over 200 miles of Nordic ski and winter trails. Their efforts, often unseen by those who enjoy the trails, were crucial in ensuring safe and enjoyable experiences for winter recreators. From National Parks to our local recreation centers, these grooming operations (listed below) played a vital role in shaping the winter landscape. As the season draws to a close, it’s important to express gratitude to these hardworking individuals for their tireless efforts in keeping the trails groomed and accessible to all.

Recognizing the Grooming Operations in Our Region

  • Bridger Teton National Forest & Friends of Bridger Teton
  • Bushong Landscaping-Grooming (GTNP & Cache)
  • Caribou-Targhee National Forest
  • Friends of Pathways
  • Grand Teton National Park and GTNP Foundation
  • JH Ski & Snowboard Club – Trail Creek Nordic
  • Grand Targhee Resort
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • Shooting Star Nordic Center
  • Snake River Sporting Club
  • TC/J Parks & Recreation 
  • Teton Pines Nordic Center 
  • TVTAP -Teton Valley Trails & Pathways
  • Turpin Meadow Ranch
A groomer in a red vest stands outside the ski cat machine near Trail Creek
Steven Swan grooms Trail Creek Nordic
Grooming the fat bike trails on Cache Creek in a snowstorm
Cache Creek grooming in the snow

Though you may not see them in action, every skier has benefited from the hard work of our local groomers. Groomers work to make all skiable areas fit, from the steep runs on the mountain to the vast flat Nordic tracks and even some single-track trails for fat bikes.

Let’s take a collective moment to tip our hats in appreciation towards our groomers, whose unwavering dedication ensures crisp, well-maintained tracks throughout the entire season. If you’ve enjoyed the trails they’ve diligently groomed, perhaps consider showing your support by donating to one of the mentioned organizations, helping to sustain their invaluable grooming work for seasons to come. 💸

A Day in the Life of a Groomer

The job of a snow groomer is demanding and requires a high level of skill to execute its demands. It takes experience to properly operate the various machines necessary for the job, from snowcats to snow machines. Though the interior of snowcats is heated, groomers are often outside in extreme weather with below zero temps and harsh winds. In addition, many groomers sacrifice a traditional sleep schedule as they tend to work during the late hours of the night into the early hours of the morning.

Snowcat driver sets the nordic track

Many groomers around the Jackson Hole area work to keep the track operating all season long. From Teton Pines to Turpin Meadow Ranch to Shooting Star to the JH Ski Club Nordic Track, JH Nordic had to opportunity to speak to a few groomers in the area to see how the season went.

Sundog at Grand Targhee Resort
Sundog at Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee Resort:

Despite mechanical issues that delayed Grand Targhee from setting a classic track, it was still a spectacular season. “We get early season snow and sit at 8,000 feet, so that’s always a plus for the Nordic skiers usually can come up when the rest of the area isn’t quite ready,” says Mark Neff. And Targhee will be keeping up with their grooming schedules until the resort closes for the season on April 16th.

Grand Teton National Park:

Snowcat out grooming near Jenny Lake
Grooming in GTNP

Groomers working in Grand Teton National Park have already wrapped for the season, though skiing in the park has yet to come to a halt – as many nordic enthusiasts look forward to crust-cruising. Lee Bushong and his team are whom you can thank for keeping the nordic track set from December to March. His groomers’ team worked all winter to put the 4 lane track from Taggart Lake Trail Head to Jenny Lake and the two-lane track from South Jenny to Signal Moutain Lodge.

“I think what is going on in the park is great, giving so many people access that normally wouldn’t be able to. Thanks to The Grand Teton Park Foundation, which is donating money (for grooming services). And thanks to the volunteers who help there are great too,” added Bushong. 

Cache Creek:

Chris Owen grooms the fat bike track on foot
Chris Owen, a man-powered groomer

Bushong Property Services is also responsible for keeping the fire road up in Cache creek groomed during the season, while Chris Owen, of Friends of Pathways, was busy keeping up with the 12 miles of single-track snow bike trails. In recent years, there has been quite an uptick in bikers using the Cache Creek trailhead.

Owen estimates that 20% of the recreators are nordic skiers, 20% are fat bikers, and the rest are pedestrians and dog walkers. Owen welcomes this increase in bike users, “I enjoy seeing people up there and the general appreciation cause it was something we didn’t have five years ago”. Chris says he’ll keep grooming as long as the nights still freeze. 

Sunrise over Cache Creek
Sunrise in Cache Creek

Turpin Meadow Ranch:

Grooming at Turpin Meadow Ranch went well last season. The grooming team, led by Elee Deschu (TMR’s snow angel) and her group of snowmen were very busy keeping the Nordic trails and singletrack groomed to perfection. The snow was plentiful and the equipment hummed along. In addition to preparing the trails for the guests, the trails were also a thoroughfare for moose and fox last winter. The team at Turpin is already looking forward to this winter – managing a recreation area where folks (and their dogs) can enjoy the beauty of this place, get some exercise, improve skills, and have a lot of fun on their public lands.  

Other Groomers to thank:

Steven and Gannet Swan are the father-son grooming team behind the well-loved Trail Creek system. This 10 miles dynamic loop on Bridger Teton Forest land is the home training ground for the next generation of Nordic athletes participating in the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Nordic program. 

We're grateful for groomed winter trails, thanks to groomers like Steven and Gannet

Over on the Idaho side, a volunteer-based program from Teton Valley Trails and Pathways provides groomed Nordic ski trails in Teton Canyon, Alta, Pioneer Park in Victor, Teton Springs Resort, and the Driggs Nordic Track. These efforts open up miles and miles of skiable terrain in Idaho to the public.

🩵And one thing all skiers can unanimously agree on Nordic skiing wouldn’t exist without the tireless efforts of our dedicated groomers.

The Nordic community has groomers to thank.

Thank you for your dedication last season and here’s to another winter ahead! ❄️

Explore JH Nordic



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