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Biz Buzz: Local ski resort invites you to celebrate its 50th anniversary

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Ryan Zimmer skiing at Grand Targhee Resort | Courtesy Ski Idaho

Do you want to know what’s happening on the east Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.

BIZ BRIEF

DRIGGS

Grand Targhee remains a massive global draw 50 years after it opened

Courtesy Grand Targhee

ALPINE, Wyo. — You may want to consider Grand Targhee Resort when you hit the ski slopes during the Christmas break.

Dec. 26 marks 50 years since it opened.

“We’re celebrating half a century of legendary snow, good times and the Targhee vibe. We’re a family-owned resort and we want to keep it in the family, be true to the mountain and stay true to the soul of skiing,” the resort’s director of marketing Jennie White tells EastIdahoNews.com.

A week-long celebration commemorating the occasion begins Saturday, Dec. 21, with snowshoe tours and tubing parties, and Santa will be in the plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 50th birthday celebration will continue through Jan. 1.

A torchlight parade will start at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 26. Special guests and friends of the resort will fill the lift an hour before with torches in hand. They’ll head to the top of Fred’s Mountain. A flare will be fired off at the top before the parade makes its way down the mountain. A fireworks show will immediately follow.

The parade will include about 50 people who have been involved with the resort over the years. Among them will be the owner George Gillett and his family members, as well as Gene Palmer, the first director of the resort’s ski school. Resort ambassador and Olympic skier Jaelin Kauf will lead the parade. Other guests include former owner Carol Mann, the Flynn family, which helped establish the Targhee culture and vibe, and Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson.

“The 26th is one of the busiest days of the year, so we’ll have a really good crowd if the coverage on the mountain is good. The snow’s been great,” says White.

A full schedule of the celebration is at Grand Targhee’s website.

The future of Grand Targhee

Grand Targhee has become a destination for more than 25,000 tourists every year, but there was a time when Teton Valley would shut down during the winter. During the 1960s, a few locals got together and decided to change that.

“People were moving from Teton County altogether too fast. Wayne Cole and I decided to get the county declared a depressed area, which we did during the year of 1963. The next year, someone conceived the idea that we had a mountain that would be good for a ski area,” Evan Floyd, a Driggs resident, wrote at the time.

Historical photo of the chairlift at Grand Targhee Resort | Courtesy Ricker’s Film Productions

People began scouting the area for a good location. A site known as Fred’s Mountain across the state line in Alta, Wyoming became the designated spot for what would become the Grand Targhee Resort. Read more about its history here.

The U.S. Forest Service recently accepted a master plan from the resort to expand the lodge, add new ski lifts and trails, along with other projects.

“We’re in the beginning stages of looking at a new lodge down in the base area. Our peaked chair lift has been approved, but we’re still looking at a timeline and (determining when we can) financially lay it out. Those are some of the (plans) in the near future,” White says.

The approval process could take several years, and even if it is approved, White says expansions will likely not occur for another 10 to 15 years.

Courtesy Grand Targhee

BIZ BITS

Finish your Christmas shopping in downtown Idaho Falls with a horse-drawn trolley ride

IDAHO FALLS – Finish your Christmas shopping in downtown Idaho Falls this Saturday with a horse-drawn trolley ride. Trolley rides began earlier this month, but this is the final weekend you can experience it. It’s happening from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pick up and drop off is across from the Civitan Plaza in the southeast corner of Park Ave. and B Street. All rides are free.

Meet a local author and get your books signed Saturday

IDAHO FALLS – If you still need some gift ideas, John Groberg and his wife, Jean, will be at the downtown Deseret Book location for a book signing.

Groberg is an 85-year-old resident of Idaho Falls who served a three-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the 1950s. While there, he experienced many hardships, including rats eating calluses off his feet and nearly drowning when his boat capsized during a storm. He has written several books about his experiences. The 2001 Disney film “The Other Side of Heaven” depicts his story. A sequel “The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith” was released this summer.

RELATED | His son was born with life-threatening illness in Tonga, and new John Groberg movie shows how his life was miraculously saved

Groberg will be signing books and movies at Deseret Book at 750 Pioneer Road from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Local utility company pays out more than $1 million to customers

REXBURG – Fall River Electric Cooperative mailed checks to nearly 6,500 of its owner-members (customers) this week, totaling $1,013,000. This cash payout is part of its patronage capital program. Fall River Electric operates as a nonprofit cooperative, and is owned by the customers. When revenues collected by the co-op exceed operating costs, those extra revenues become patronage capital, which is then disbursed to its owner-members on an approximate 20-year cycle.

Fall River Electric serves 14,000 customers throughout eastern Idaho. The bulk of them are in Fremont County and Teton Valley, but there are some customers scattered throughout Madison, Jefferson, Bonneville and Bannock counties. To learn more about Fall River’s patronage capital program, click here.

SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

MENAN

New attraction gives visitors a walk through Christmas

MENAN – Over the river and through the woods to the Christmas River we go!

James and Teresa Stoker’s new Christmas-themed attraction, The Christmas River, opened to the public Friday with rave reviews.

“Two days after Halloween, we decided to go with the Christmas attraction and I’ve just been going nonstop to get it ready,” James Stoker tells EastIdahoNews.com.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY.

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If you have a Biz Buzz item you want to share, send it to rett@eastidahonews.com. Remember to use “Biz Buzz” in the subject line. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the free Biz Buzz email newsletter.

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