- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Tucked away deep in the woods east of Moran is one of Jackson Hole’s niche resorts.

A doer’s paradise, suited for ambitious mornings and peaceful evenings, Turpin Meadow Ranch sits on 39 acres on the edge of the Teton Wilderness.

Nordic ski tracks that begin right outside the door of newly remodeled log cabins and brand new chalets encourage a blood-pumping start to the day.

A deluxe rustic lodge accompanied by upscale Western decor, a roaring fireplace and rocking chairs that overlook a vast meadow with towering Teton views invites the ultimate wind-down experience.

The ranch, 10 miles east of Moran on Buffalo Valley Road off U.S. 26/89/191, promotes the active lifestyle while pampering its guests with luxurious amenities and fine dining.

Fifteen kilometers of Nordic and fat bike trails are surrounded by vast wilderness that beckons to be explored via a full-day or three-hour guided snowmobile tour.

Two years of remodeling and new construction came to fruition when owners and former Olympic skiers Hans and Nancy Johnstone reopened the ranch in January 2014.

The Johnstones turned a rural mountain hideaway into a refined getaway that rivals any of the upscale hotels in Jackson. And although the ranch is an hour away from any grocery store, guests don’t have to wander in search of a Jackson-style dinner.

“I think we’re definitely a dining destination that’s just hidden, and nobody knows about right now,” resort employee Logan Cannon said.

A hot breakfast buffet comes as a part of any stay. A lunch menu that includes soups, chili, salads, burgers and sandwiches will refill the gas tank after a morning of skiing. And the resort doesn’t stick guests with a high price tag simply because they’re the only option around. The most expensive item on the lunch menu is $16.

Chef Jason Welch presents a new dinner menu each evening. Whether it’s the $15 “pasta night” or a set of entrees that include marinated tiger shrimp, smoked chicken ragu or Carter Country grilled skirt steak (grazed in Tensleep), even the pickiest of eaters will head to bed on a full stomach.

From the chef to the front desk and the rest of the 12 winter employees, the staff takes pride in providing a pleasant and enjoyable stay.

The gratification the employees receive in providing such a stay comes easy. Each of them has a different story on how they arrived to this little nook in the woods. And each made a concerted effort to end up there, and stay there, as every current employee returned for at least a second season.

“It’s a special place,” Cannon said. “Everyone’s really invested and wants to see it succeed. We put a lot of elbow grease and proverbial blood, sweat and tears into it.”

They each have succumbed to the lifestyle and keep themselves busy in an area with nothing to do but take advantage of the surroundings.

“Everybody’s really into it,” resort employee Keely Werner said. “A lot of people didn’t know how to skate or cross-country ski and are trying both and are out before work and after work.”

Guests come from all over to Turpin Meadow but the most common guest doesn’t have far to travel. Werner and Cannon said more than half their visitors are Jackson Hole residents looking for a nearby escape. Fifteen dollars gets Nordies and bikers full-day access to five trails that are groomed daily.

“Locally it’s definitely been the Nordic skier for sure,” Werner said. “That’s the bulk of the business. The fat biking is just really coming on this year because Dave Hunger has been so great at promoting us.”

Hunger, owner of Teton Mountain Bike Tours, takes clients all over the Jackson Hole area. And the ranch along the Buffalo Fork River is a hot spot Hunger often hits.

“He kind of uses us as base camp,” Werner said. “He has done demos up here this season and has plans for more demos.”

Hunger isn’t the only outfitter to find his playground at the ranch. Expeditions365 guide Hannah McKeand has plans to conduct a two-week Polar Expedition Training Course on the ranch after searching for a host site across the Western region.

Ski-in, ski-out cabins are the main attraction, and one of the many ways the resort caters to its particular type of guests.

Dogs are welcome at the resort and leashes are not required. The only rule for man’s best friend is that the animals are not allowed in the main lodge.

Skis and fat bikes can be rented on site and leave little excuse for visitors not to try breaking a winter sweat.

“This is the perfect place to try this stuff out,” Werner said. “There’s a ton of trail. There’s a lot of beginner and intermediate stuff, which is nice. More than half of our trails are beginner.”

The resort usually opens for the summer around June and closes in October. The winter season begins around December and ends in March, depending on snow conditions and demand.

From downtown Jackson it takes about 40 minutes on the highway, and another 25 minutes on a snowy Buffalo Valley Road to reach the lodge. Forget about staying plugged in to Facebook; there’s no cellphone service out there.

Whether they are on a mission to explore and burn calories or just looking to sit still and feast on a fresh-cooked meal, the ranch offers something for every type of guest.

“It’s beautiful and no matter what the season is, you have this as your backyard,” said Cannon.

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com


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