Nacho Is Retiring – We Will Miss You!

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As seasons come, go, and blur together it’s the people that stand out over time. While the powder certainly helps it is the friendly faces that make Grand Targhee feel a bit like home. The longevity and dedication of world-class employees make this place unique. Since our first season in 1969, we’ve had some incredible employees who have had a hand in shaping the resort over the years. However, there are very few people in Grand Targhee’s history that are a better example of that than the man we are talking about today. His car is usually the first in the lot in the morning and the last to leave at night.

Ignacio Orduno, more commonly known as Nacho has been with Grand Targhee Resort for 34 years and has seen it all during his time here. He started in hospitality in 1973 at the Carefree Inn in Arizona, where he began as a dishwasher. Executive Chef, Jim Banton, took him under his wing and taught him the ways of the kitchen. At night, Nacho spent his time in school learning English and just 3 years later found himself as the new Executive Chef. Not only did he find his calling in Carefree, Arizona, he also met the love of his life Jan there. Little did he know that his future wife would lead him to Teton Valley. 

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After Jan and Nacho spent some time in Mount Lemmon, Arizona, working for her uncle, they made their way back to Jan’s home in Teton Valley. Upon returning to the area, Nacho continued to work in the restaurant industry. He managed the Red Pepper in Jackson, owned a Mexican restaurant in Rexburg, and operated a taco stand in Driggs.

When Mori Bergmeyer and Carol Mann purchased Grand Targhee Resort in 1987, they saw the potential to develop it in a way that would preserve the beauty and vibe of the area. They met Nacho at his taco stand in Driggs and knew that he would be a great addition to the Targhee team. So, they asked him to help build and open a Mexican Restaurant at the resort. It took some convincing, but Nacho eventually took the job, and South of the Border was born. Nacho was excited for the opportunity, as he loved to ski. One of his favorite days during the winter was Super Bowl Sunday as he could ski all morning and watch the game in the afternoon at the restaurant.

Mori and Carol’s vision was to create a lively, stimulating environment with year-round opportunities, as well as find a way to keep their new chef busy through the summer months. In the summer of 1988, the 1st Annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass festival took place, and Skadi’s Restaurant was opened for summer business. Nacho found himself as the host, chef, and server at the restaurant while serving up Nacho’s Carnitas during the festival. If you have ever been to a festival, you know that this is one of the traditions that has been running strong for years. Nacho has worked every festival since then, and over the years has brought his family to help.

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During his first summers at Targhee, Nacho was not only the man in the kitchen, but he was also out on the mountain clearing trees on what would become the Powder Reserve Traverse and the Cat Skiing area. Those were some of his favorite days as he split his time between the mountain and the kitchen.

Nacho has been here through good times and bad times. He remembers that day in 1990 when the Rendezvous Lodge burnt down. He was on his way to work when a sheriff stopped him and told him about the fire. The resort was quick to respond and set up temporary facilities, and Nacho’s Carnitas was the saving grace to hungry guests. 

Throughout the years, Nacho has seen many changes at Targhee, but he said that the one consistent thing is the incredible employees he has had the pleasure of working with. This place has been a second home to him. He has raised his family here, and he’s been honored to be part of the team for the past 34 years. We’ve been honored to have him.

Nacho has been much more than just a chef at Targhee; he has been a leader behind the scenes. From catering events, delicious dinners, and employee meals, to cat ski lunches, the soup of the day, and of course, the tamales, Nacho is one of the many things that makes Targhee uniquely Targhee. While he will be missed, his traditions and inspirations will continue.

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Nacho Fun Facts:

  • Over 10,000 tamales made and served
  • 80 to 100 gallons of homemade soups and chili every week
    • Add that up – over 100,00 gallons over his years here!
  • Catered over 350 weddings
  • Catered over 100 employee parties
  • Serving up the best tacos at 11 Pierre’s Hole Bike races, each event averaging 350+ racers
  • Each of his children and close family members has worked at Targhee or during one of the festivals
  • Loves to garden and pick huckleberries

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