Turns out the Hollywood moguls love Wyoming just as much as skiers. Celebs like Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel like hiding out in Wyoming. Dick Cheney lives here too. The stars are drawn to the same attraction as we are, the postcard-perfect scenery of the Grand Tetons and big mountain skiing, but the cowboy culture of no tolerance for paparazzi has them staying.
We discovered our own heavenly hideaway while skiing Wyoming, it’s called Amangani, and it’s amazing. Arriving at Amangani is like reaching your private hideaway above the spectacular Teton Valley of Jackson. This new west hotel is tucked on a mountainside, perfectly blended into the landscape with low-profile architecture of natural stone and wood. The concierge and management team welcome us by name and whisk us into a grand three-level lobby of soaring redwood, flagstone and glass that frames the beautiful setting. As if on cue, a herd of elk graze outside.
Despite my excitement, I lower my voice in this spa-like atmosphere, as we tour the 40-suite resort. Our spacious suite has all the latest luxuries in an art-deco new meets west motif, plus a private balcony, extravagant bath with slate walk-in shower and soaking tub all framed by floor to ceiling windows to the valley and aforementioned elk.
We put on our fluffy robes and head to the spa for the awesome outdoor heated pool and hot tub with distant views of the ski slopes of Snow King and Jackson Hole.
After a spa soak, it is time for après ski drinks from the Zinc Bar in the expansive lobby with two grand fireplaces. There is also an inviting fireside library stocked with games, DVDs and guidebooks to all the other Aman Resorts. Amangani is one of 19 posh properties spread across 13 countries.
Dinner at Amangani Grill is truly haute cuisine above 6,000’. Native bison, elk, and steelhead trout prepared by a James Beard award-winning chef, served in the dining room with yet another fireplace, fantastic artwork, and more windows on Wyoming.
The next morning, we could take the complimentary shuttle to ski legendary Jackson Hole, just 20-minutes away, where Amangani has an exclusive Ski Lounge for your boots and gear. But after skiing Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee for several days, we decide to ski Snow King Mountain in town. Dating back to 1939, Snow King is Wyoming’s first ski area, and still the steepest ski resort in the country with a real retro feel. A double chair takes you 1,571’ vertical to the summit where you ski 40-degree trails of soft snow, providing sensational views down to the town of Jackson and the Grand Tetons beyond. There are no groomers, blue or green trails, off Snow King’s 7,808’ summit.
Whether you ski, shop the wild west town of Jackson, or roam with the wildlife in the nearby National Parks and Elk Refuge, you know you have Amangani (translation: peaceful home) to retreat to at day’s end.
Wyoming is addictive, it’s hard to leave. I see why so many New Englanders and the Hollywood set have moved here for big mountain skiing, serious snow (it’s snowing heavily as I write this), gorgeous Grand Teton scenery, cowboy culture, no crowds. There are so many reasons you should ski Wyoming.
Photos by Greg Burke