A New Way to Ski | Braving the Slopes with Teton Adaptive Sports

On a day too warm and pleasant to belong to the Teton’s in January, I found myself at the base of Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming, taking in the sights of their Plaza and base ski area. As is often the case at Targhee, there were not throngs of crowds, just enough individuals and families to add joviality and color to the scene. The stucco facades rose up like canyons on either side in contrast to the sun-sparkled and snow covered conifers rising up the angles of Fred’s Mountain ahead. The smell of grilled food and hot chocolate filled the air.

I sat strategically in the corner window of Branding Iron restaurant, holding a gourmet huckleberry barbecue burger in one hand and binoculars in the other. I was trying desperately to sneak glimpses of my daughter who was enrolled with her kindergarten classmates in an Alpine ski winter sports program. Kids in Teton Valley, Idaho have it good – the public schools offer a variety of winter sports to immerse themselves in the Teton winter wonderland. Today was my daughter’s first opportunity to experience the thrill of careening down a slope of wonder.

But this was no ordinary first-time experience.

Two years ago my daughter was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a rare neuro-genetic disorder. When a parent first learns that their child has a condition that will render them unable to speak, unable to walk and require lifelong care, it’s hard to have much hope for the future. While most parents worry about ear infections and what college their child will attend, I’m wondering if mine will speak more than 10 words in her lifetime, or ever be invited to a sleep over. My mental “things my child will never do” list was quite extensive. Skiing was certainly high on that list.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of a great team of therapists and sports professionals at Teton Adaptive Sports, individuals with physical, cognitive or medical disabilities are able to enjoy the same thrills (and spills) that captivate the rest of us in the wintertime. Headquartered in Jackson Hole, Teton Adaptive Sports was formed in 2005 with a mission “to promote and support sports and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities living in and visiting the Greater Teton Area.” Their winter Adaptive Ski Programs are available at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village and Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. They provide lessons for all ages, adaptive ski equipment, and offer financial assistance when necessary. In the summer months, Teton Adaptive Sports sponsors events that include biking, paddling, rafting, fishing, and climbing, and more.

According to Disability is Natural, “one American in five has a disability, making people with disabilities the largest minority group and the only group that anyone can join at any time: at birth or through an accident, illness, or the aging process.” The folks at Teton Adaptive Sports believe that people should never be limited by their challenges, and instead create new possibilities and an environment of inclusion for everyone in the community and beyond. Their motto – “It’s not a disability, it’s a possibility.”

Teton Adaptive Sports does a great job of partnering with existing services in our valleys. Our daughter had a great team… Tara Sanders, the Adaptive Program Coordinator at Targhee (who also doubles as a moose); Annie Kobetsky, Occupational Therapist from Teton Therapy in Victor, ID; Mary Langdon, a volunteer for the Adaptive program, and Jessy’s treasured paraprofessional Rachel from school. Together they strategized to give Jessy the best possible experience. I was amazed by their ingenuity and teamwork.

How was Jessy’s first-time skiing experience, you might well ask? Despite my high expectations for seeing my daughter whizzing down the bunny slopes, she remained timid and uncertain, at best. Okay, she cried for 3.5 hours. My friends assured me that this can be the case with neuro-typical kids too. I’ll take their word for it. If I have gained anything at all on this special needs journey, it is Endurance. Nothing worthwhile is achieved easily. In fact, it is the extent of our adversity that makes the eventual Joy even greater.

It takes a community to remind me that all things are possible. Great people, in love with a great place, can make a great difference in the lives of all of us, helping us find new ways to ski and overcome boundaries and barriers. Thank you, Teton Adaptive Sports, for your commitment to our families.

Julie Mcknight
Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty

Barron’s Ranks Jackson Hole #1 | Top 20 of America’s Best Retreats

We knew it would happen sooner or later. Our little western enclave of Jackson Hole is being “discovered”. Of course I’ve always adored living in Jackson Hole for it’s natural beauty and community of people who appreciate being in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. But the good news is Jackson Hole offers some very practical reasons for home ownership as well.

This month, Barron’s released it’s annual “America’s Best Retreats” focusing on the recovering second-home market and those of us living in states classified as low tax states made top marks.

Writes Barron’s journalist Steven M. Sears, “The big winners were Wyoming, Nevada, Florida, and Texas; real-estate agents tell Penta (Barron’s Penta offers advice for families with assets of $5M or more) the trend is carrying briskly into the current year. Conversely, it’s interesting to note that the few resorts registering price falls last year included the Hamptons and Pebble Beach in high-tax New York and California, respectively.”

Barron’s Penta ranked Jackson Hole, Wyoming as #1 of America’s 20 Best Retreats not only for it’s financial benefits but for the ease of travel to and from, our spectacular scenery, world renowned ski resort, fly-fishing waters and proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Add in our restaurant scene featuring Culinary Institute of America trained chef at the Snake River Grill and our burgeoning arts community and Jackson Hole becomes more compelling than ever.

Luckily, Jackson Hole always maintains its welcoming, rustic and refined atmosphere. Celebrities who come to Jackson Hole are not here to be “seen”, but quite the opposite. They come here with their families to experience the natural beauty of the area and the friendliness of its people.

Not an Aspen or a Vail, Jackson Hole is a Rocky Mountain gem of a town with some very unique attributes not found in many parts of the world.

Amangani Resort Jackson Hole | Best Hotels of 2013

Congratulations to Amangani (translation: Peaceful Home) for their most recent award as one of the top hotels in the United States. Perched atop Gros Ventre Butte overlooking the entire Teton Mountain Range, one feels as if they are on top of the world with the beautiful valley below.

With the Snake River Valley below and the stunning mountains as a backdrop, enjoying an evening cocktail on the terrace of Amangani is probably one of the more memorable hotel experiences one can have.

Recently, Amangani was awarded Best Hotel for 2013 by US News and World Report. The location of Amangani itself is nearly perfect. Only moments from the Jackson Hole airport it is easy to get to but it feels a million miles away from any hustle and bustle.

For the winter visitor, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, known for some of the most acclaimed ski runs in North America, is 20 minutes away via a private shuttle. At the resort a private ski club is waiting for Amangani guests.

Summertime offers incredible fly-fishing in Jackson Hole. Amangani is situated just above the Snake River, known for it’s lush waters and trout habitat.

A Taste of Jackson Hole | A perspective by 13 year old Max Wilbrecht

Thirteen year old Henry Bartlett walks into a small Thai restaurant called Teton Thai, near the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He sits down waits for the waitress to come and orders the green curry and digs in.

If you’re planning a trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming, here are some tips for the dining in this mountainous region. The valley is broken down into three main groups, town, the village, and the west bank. We will start with the west bank.

The west bank or the west side of the Snake river is filled with restaurants big and small.  One of my personal favorites is the Q- Roadhouse. From steaks to seafood this restaurant is located on the village road on the left if you are going to the village. My personal favorite dish there is the Chicken Fried Chicken. It is mashed potatoes, green beans, and fried chicken covered in a delicious homemade gravy.

Next to the Q is Calico. Calico is all about pizza and pasta. The pizza is very good, and the pasta even better. You can eat inside or outside, and outside is a garden, park, field that you can just hang out in or play football, soccer, Frisbee, or any sport you desire.

In town there are too many great places to eat I cannot fit them all in. First we have The Snake River Grill. This is a fancy restaurant located on the town square. This is probably one of the nicest restaurants in Jackson. One of my favorite things there are their homemade Onion Rings. They are spicy and are huge. The come with multiple dipping sauces and are the best.

For breakfast the spot to go is D.O.G. They have the best breakfast burritos in the world. You can choose from vegetarian spicy, mild, or no spice. The same is for the meat. This small shack is located on Glenwood -hence the name Down On Glenwood.

The village or the Jackson Hole Ski Resort is a great place for eating great food. The Osteria is another Italian restaurant in Jackson Hole, but this one is different. First off the pizza there is outstanding, and can not be compared to any other pizza in Jackson. The pastas are also amazing. But the best thing there is only served for lunch. The burger, this is not just any burger, this is one hundred percent all beef burger with fontina cheese, fried onions, homemade ketchup, oh and it is juicy. Overall the valley of Jackson Hole is a must see it or taste it to believe it place, that should be on your bucket list.

Benefits of Being Western | An Overview of Jackson Hole’s Amenities

When it comes to a town with natural benefits Jackson cannot be beat. The outdoor lifestyle complimented by the old, wild western feel is unmatched in today’s fast paced environment. No mailmen, strip malls, or big-box department stores can be found, instead Mom and Pop Delis thrive and social hour occurs at the post office.

But don’t take my word for it. Barron’s cites Jackson as one of America’s best retreats for its innumerable amenities.

The main attraction to the area is its proximity to some prominent national parks: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Being located within driving distance to the National Parks makes Jackson a desired location for the outdoorsman. While visiting the great American countryside you may be lucky enough to encounter some of the local wildlife. Don’t be shocked to run into elk, moose, bald eagles, or even the occasional bear. But don’t leave home without your bear spray!

In addition to exploring the parks you can also try your hand at some world-class angling. The Snake River is not only a whitewater rafting destination but a renowned fly-fishing location. If you tire of the expansive Snake, which is not likely, the Wind River Range is located just south of town with thousands of lakes prime for discovery.

If fishing is not your forte there are a handful of world class golf courses in the area. Shooting Star, designed by Tom Fazio, is located at the base of the Mountain Resort, Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, PGA Tour Professional Keegan Bradley’s home course, can be found north of town, and 3 Creek Ranch, a Rees Jones creation, is located south of town.

Not only is Jackson packed with activities for all ages, it also provides some financial incentives. Wyoming is one of nine states that does not impose individual income taxes on its residents. If you choose to move to Jackson you’ll be happy to know the purchase of your property will not be taxed by the state either.

Last but certainly not least Jackson is home to one of the most challenging ski resorts in the contiguous United States. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort contains 2,500 acres of inbound terrain and recently invested $31 million for the addition of the modern Ariel Tram. With two mountains to conquer, Rendezvous and Après Vous, Jackson Hole offers a truly unique winter experience.

Not only does Jackson Hole have ample avenues for your entertainment, it also contains a world class team eager to serve your real estate needs. Here at Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty we pledge to provide an outstanding customer experience. Please feel free to visit us at any of our offices located in the valley.

Flying A Ranch | Private Ranch near Jackson Hole

A trip to the Flying A Ranch in winter is an exceptional experience hardly matched around the Jackson Hole area. After a one hour drive to park and load up the snowmobiles with a picnic and supplies, I and another broker embarked on the 7 mile trip to the ranch on the narrow track. As each mile passed, I felt the elation and peace that comes with leaving day to day life behind and entering the winter wonderland of the upper Green River Valley, the stunning scenery and the remote yet accessible ranch in the shadow of the Wind River Mountains.

Stories of the old cabins, the early settlers, hunting and fishing, wildlife sightings, wolves, elk, moose, horseback rides on the ranch and into the wilderness are endless.

I can imagine bringing my family and friends here, or business associates, away from the clutter and noise of civilization, to a place of peace and serenity, adventure and activity, campfires and dark nights, stars and the sounds and quiet, all together. The call is out for a new owner to settle into the Flying A Ranch, live the dream of the wilderness and experience this unique and special place, so close yet so far.

I blink and I am back in the lodge with a picnic and a snowshoe tour of the ranch where I see ravens, magpies, Clark’s nutcracker, gray jays and mountain chickadees. The occasional martin, coyote, fox snowshoe hare and weasels are reported winter sightings of the ranch manager. Spring will bring the big game back, babies are born, the lake ice will melt, the streams flow, the waterfowl settle in and the seasons change on the ranch. I will be back.