The Teton Ice Park Opens at Grand Targhee Resort


Brian Smith samples the climbing at the brand spaking new Teton Ice Park at Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming. Photo by Tony Jewell courtesy of Teton Ice Park's facebook page.

Thanks to Local Support and Sponsorship the Teton Ice Park will officially open Saturday, December 19, at Grand Targhee Resort It’s been a steep learning curve for local mountain guide Christian Santelices, but his dream became a reality when he climbed on the “KB Wall” for the first time on Sunday. While cold temperatures the past few weeks seemed ideal for making ice, a series of frozen pipes, and miscellaneous snafus have slowed progress. “Transporting water has been the weak link in the system so far,” says Santelices, an internationally certified guide and Exum Mountain Guide’s Chief Guide, “and things keep getting more and more expensive as we react to changes.” However, thanks to generous sponsorship from Marmot, Exum Mountain Guides, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, Rain for Rent and Mountain Athlete, as well as volunteer hours from local guides, and membership fees, the ice keeps flowing and the wall should be fat for Saturday’s opening. The Teton Ice Park, inspired by the world-class Ouray Ice Park, is located on cliffs known as the “Parking Lot Rocks.” It is about 100 feet wide and 100 feet tall- with 40 feet of advanced vertical climbing combined with 60 feet of lower angle, broken terrain ideal for learning the sport. Using a 3000-gallon tanker of water connected to mining pipe and low-flow showerheads, water is sprayed over the cliffs and the waterfall feature slowly forms. The KB Wall is named after one of Santelices’ mentors, Kevin Brown of Santa Barbara, who took him on his first ice climb over 20 years ago. Brown passed away in November after a difficult bout with cancer. The wall provides the easiest access to ice climbing in the Tetons and has something for all levels of climber. It is operated under a permit from the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

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Santelices will provide guided climbs through his company, Aerial Boundaries. Today (Monday) sixteen top Exum, JHMG, and NOLS guides will be up at the site for a training session for a pool of instructors (PHOTOGRAPHERS WELCOME). Grand Targhee is on board and excited to offer guests a new, exciting experience to complement their ski vacation. No experience is necessary, Aerial Boundaries provides the gear, and anyone 12 years old and up can give it a go. Classes can be booked directly through Aerial Boundaries or the Grand Targhee Activities Desk. The site is open to the public at all times when there is not a class in progress. A Google calendar on the website-, will be updated daily so the public can logon to see when classes are booked and when the showerheads are going. It’s important that climbers check in so they don’t get up there and find it closed. Santelices is offering Memberships to the Teton Ice Park for $40 for individuals who would like to support the park. All sponsorship money goes directly to making more ice. The membership card includes discounts from local businesses.