Meet Cody Bailey. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama he is on the verge of becoming a full-blown mountain town convert. After spending this past summer in the Tetons on our Trail Crew here at Grand Targhee he is coming back this winter for more to test his skills on the slopes. So how does a kid from Birmingham end up on Targhee’s trail crew? Just like many people who now call Teton Valley home the discovery of the area can be traced back to random connection or just saying yes to a road trip. In Cody’s case, it paid to have adventurous friends.

A few summers ago, friends of Mr. Bailey returned home to Birmingham from a summer at Big Sky with tails of epic riding and a summer well spent. That’s all it took. Cody bought a bike and the next summer followed his fellow Bama boys back out to Big Sky, Montana. From there it was a natural progression. If you’re into the biking scene in the Rockies eventually you’ll hear rumors of the riding on Teton Pass. After a weekend spent doing shuttle laps on the pass, the Bama crew was sold. How do we spend more time riding in this part of the world? By joining the Grand Targhee Trail crew, that’s how. It didn’t matter that they had never heard of Targhee or rode the trails. Just like many of us, it’s the lifestyle that comes first, the details can always be figured out later.

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If you don’t know what trail crew is, they are the ladies and gentlemen who build and maintain those lovely trails that you so much enjoy riding. Here at Targhee our trail crew does a little bit of everything. They rake, shovel, water, and buff out every trail from the cross-country trails in Rick’s Basin to the downhill trails from the top of Dreamcatcher. They are an extension of Andy Williams in the summertime and that means being our event crew here at the resort. No problem said Cody.

“Hosting the races was pretty cool. I’ve been on the other side and raced but had never set up a race. Seeing how much actually goes into it was great and the communities that come with it.”

Of course, when you join a trail crew it’s best that you enjoy either raking or biking. For Cody, it was the latter. “Ride breaks are nice. Those definitely break up the day.” Over the course of the summer, he got plenty of laps in at the downhill park with a heavy emphasis on his favorite trail, Blondie. “I like the steep stuff.” While the biking may have brought Cody to Teton Valley for the summer it’s the small-town vibe that has him coming back for the upcoming winter.

“Everyone sees Alabama as the country, but I come from a big city. Birmingham is huge. A lot of people may not like seeing their coworkers outside of work, but I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been cool seeing people in the grocery store as dumb as that sounds. I like the small-town vibe.”

We’ve still got a little slice of heaven here in Wydaho and taking a minute to remember that can go a long way in having it continue to feel that way. To some, the valley may not seem so small these days but the kid from Birmingham provides some excellent perspective.

“There are definitely perks to being in a small town. Just being able to walk into a random bar and someone who likes you hands you a free beer. That doesn’t happen where I’m from. People just hook you up because you get to know them, and they want to help you out. That doesn’t happen in the big city.”

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While the occasional free beer is nice, being able to spend winter on the slopes is another major reason for Cody’s return to Grand Targhee. He will be getting a crash course in the world of snowboarding as he joins our crew at the Board Shop this winter.

“This will be my first winter on snow. I’ve made two ski trips before. I don’t know what I’m getting into out here. I know there’s going to be snow.”

He’s not wrong, there will definitely be snow, and with any luck, Mr. Bailey’s first winter in the Tetons will be an all-timer with plenty of powder days to go around. Regardless of what Mother Nature brings us this season, there are a couple of things we can count on when the lifts open. We can count on reuniting with ski buddies in the lift lines and catching up over a beer in the Trap. We can count on a few days with one chair visibility and a few where there is not a cloud in the sky. Cody has already caught on to the fact that you can count on Grand Targhee to bring together a bunch of people with a one-track mind.

“People up here just seem like they love to ski.”