Long thought of as a bedroom community to neighboring Jackson, Wyoming, the relaxed city of Victor, Idaho, has come into its own, attracting second-home buyers and retirees along with local workers. Although close proximity to Jackson Hole is a bonus, many Victor residents and visitors alike do not feel the need to go “over the hill.”
Eric Spitzer, a real estate agent in Victor for over 20 years, loves that although Victor has changed a lot since the early 1990s, its chill character remains the same. “In the past,” says Spitzer, “some buyers felt they had to buy in Victor since they couldn’t afford Jackson. Now buyers want to buy in Victor.”
Spitzer was one of those when he moved to the Tetons in 1992. Unable to find affordable rent in Jackson, his first home in the area was in downtown Victor. “At the time, Victor did not have a stoplight, there was only one gas station — with a pay phone out front — and no produce was sold at the Victor Valley Grocer,” he recalls.
With the Snake River Range to the south, the Big Holes to the west and the Tetons to the east, Victor is surrounded by mountains on three sides. But the beautiful mountain views aren’t just for looking at — they’re an invitation to explore with incredible out- door recreational opportunities year-round accessible within minutes.
Many entrepreneurs have launched or continued the success of their businesses in Victor. One cannot only feel the momentum of Victor’s business environment, but can literally taste it with the addition of new restaurants, breweries, a cidery and specialty food stores continuing to elevate the culinary scene. Each summer, the free (donations encouraged) Music on Main series of events in downtown builds community and keeps the social scene’s vibrant pulse pumping.
A local couple, the Scofields moved to Victor from Jackson in 2018 and love that they can walk to numerous trails right from their home. Plus, because the western slope of the Tetons is national forest or wilderness, they can also bring their furry friends along on miles of trails before reaching national park boundaries. Another local, Leah Corrigan, moved from Wilson, Wyoming, the same year. An attorney based in Jackson, much of Leah’s work can be done from her office in Victor, enabling her to spend more time with her family and less time in the car.
For downhill skiers, Victor is equidistant to Grand Targhee Resort and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and it’s just a few minutes to get to iconic backcountry areas off Teton Pass like Mount Oliver, Mount Taylor, Mail Cabin and Glory Bowl. Groomed skate, fat bike and cross-country trails add Nordic skiing options.
Even though Victor feels like you are in your own world, access is easy with two airports (Jackson and Idaho Falls) within an hour’s drive as well as a private airport 10 miles north in Driggs. Victor is also a great home base for checking out nearby mountain towns such as Ketchum, Park City, Boise, Bozeman, Lander, Salmon and more.
Victor’s bike network will get your legs spinning. With miles of mountain bike trails within riding distance of downtown you can spend more time riding and less time driving. There are also dozens of miles of paved and gravel backroads to link up. And the fun doesn’t stop when the snow flies — miles of single track are groomed all winter long for fat biking.
Being the highest elevation in Teton Valley, Idaho, the climate in Victor is typically warmer in the winter. Come summer, the numerous springs and tributaries from the winter snowpack in Victor form the Teton River. A local treasure, this picturesque meandering thread of water — with the Grand Teton and neighboring peaks providing a stunning backdrop to an equally magical float — attracts fly-fishers and stand-up paddleboarders, along with painters and photographers.
If more fly-fishing is what you’re after, the Snake River in Jackson and its counterpart, the South Fork, which flows through Swan Valley, Idaho, are both within a 45-minute drive. The Green River, Henry’s Fork, Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Salt and dozens of smaller tributaries are all within a couple hour’s drive.
Progress comes with a cost, however, and Victor is no longer as affordable as it was in 1992. Like many special areas, prices in Victor jumped when the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the prevalent culture of the remote worker. Still, if you’ve been looking for a place to hang your hat that offers a positive, vibrant community, along with stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, you should come see Victor for yourself.