The Trap Bar at the Grand Targhee Resort

In Dec. of 2019, the small but mighty Grand Targhee Ski Resort turned 50. The Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort is known for its live music shows and welcoming atmosphere. The previous Trap Bar burned into the snow in March of 1990. The only thing that survived the blaze was the namesake bear trap that is currently mounted to the wall of the bar.

The project was fast tracked to be ready for the 2007-2008 ski season, and allowed us to test and exercise some of our design and craft expertise. Our primary goal was to give the Trap a much needed technological update. Further conversations lead to us re-working the acoustics and the look of the space. We removed many of the keepsakes mounted on the walls and ceiling. This improved the sight lines helping the space feel more open, and gave us room to provide additional acoustical treatments.

Before and after photos are provided.

Planning Stages

The initial scope of the work was to add new TV’s and install a new sound system. We provided a demo using Meyer Sound equipment, which helped us gain the ear and confidence of the owners. As we discussed the acoustics and the ascetics of the venue, the conversations let to us to take the lead roll as the “designer” of the Trap’s remodel.

Before the remodel, musicians playing on stage had a direct sight line into the woman’s bathroom whenever the door was opened, making for an often awkward bathroom break. We created a much needed and appreciated privacy wall on stage right to fix this issue. The stage received a new motorized projection screen mounted on a floating acoustical back wall as well. This wall was faced with a robust recycled acoustical polystyrene material that could take the punishing beat of a drummer’s elbow or a splash of beer. Warm indirect lighting was added to the back stage wall, casting a pleasing light to frame the musicians playing on stage.

The Install

With the small stage size, we wanted to keep the stage as open as possible. Therefore, we decided to hang the main speakers directly above the stage. A second pair of Meyer speakers were then hung facing the stage as monitors for the musicians. A powered Meyer 600HP subwoofer was added at the side of the stage to fill out the bass. The sound system supports the playback of videos from a motorized projection screen mounted to the back stage wall. An easy to use keypad allows the busy bartenders the ability to control the video projector, TV’s, and sound system when the musicians are on break.

The next step was to update the old tube TV’s with flat screen HD displays. They typically display ski, snowboarding, and sports programs when there isn’t live music, a bright projector/screen was essential for a positive viewing experience. We also created better sight lines within the venue by removing the dated storage cabinets formally located above the bar. The floating back wall idea borrowed from the stage was a great solution for the back wall of the bar. This floating wall was also rimmed with warm indirect lighting. We had previously located a 24’ long timber in Bozeman, which we carved up and placed up-lighting inside. In addition, we added a glass shelf to illuminate the colorful and sculptural booze bottles. We then installed it directly under the floating wall. Alcohol sales went up (or so we heard).

The Result

The first ticketed concert in the newly redesigned space featured the singer songwriter Rodney Crowell. The show was a success- we were very pleased with how the new acoustic treatments, the lighting, and the Meyer gear worked together to improve the experience. The Trap bar at Grand Targhee still lives on; it was a rewarding and enjoyable project. If you’re in the area, make a trip to ski Targhee’s famous powder or ride their well groomed mountain bike trails and, be sure to catch a show at the Trap.

Applicable Links

www.grandtarghee.com/venue/trap-bar-grill/

The story of the father of architectural acoustics: Wallace Sabine

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