Situated some 2,135 meters (7,000 feet) above sea level and high above the town of Jackson, Wyoming is Amangani, a nominee for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Ski Hotel.
If it is action-packed days on the slopes and a convivial après-ski atmosphere you are in search of, look no further than this 40-suite resort. Amangani, which translates to "Peaceful Home", is the first Aman resort in the United States. Opened in October, 1998, Amangani is near the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park.
Constructed with soft-hued Oklahoma sandstone, Douglas fir, cedar and Pacific redwood, the three-story resort is cut into the hillside on the western edge of the East Gros Ventre Butte. The area is encircled by elevated peaks and buttes, hence the world "hole" is used to describe this extensive alpine valley. It is a peaceful location at the southern end of the Greater Yellowstone Area, a vast expanse of mountain and meadow, sage flats, river bottoms, national forests and wildlife sanctuaries.
Amangani is a short ride away from some of the North America's most acclaimed ski runs at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where ski and snowboarding enthusiasts enjoy 1,000 hectares of high-thrill skiing and snowboarding terrain featuring a lift-serviced vertical drop at 1,260 meters (4,139 feet). As Jackson Hole averages 1,016 cm (400 inches) of snow a year, it offers some of the best skiing conditions in the world. During winter months, snow piles up to four meters (10 feet) in the mountains. The entire valley turns white after mid-November and winter can stretch past early April.
In Teton Village, at the base of Rendezvous Mountain, the resort has a private ski lounge where guests will find snacks, hot beverages and a concierge service (which organizes ski equipment rentals and lessons). The resort offers a complimentary shuttle service as well as private transfers to and from the resort and the ski lounge, which is 20 minutes away. After a day on the slopes, guests unwind before the large wood-burning fireplaces of Amangani's Lounge with the two-story window wall offering beautiful views of the Snake River Range.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities enjoyed by the guests include snowmobiling, snowshoeing and half-to-full day dog-sledding. Amangani also offers horse-drawn sleigh rides which take guests up to the ridge of the butte where they will see panoramic views of the valley. Guests can also spend a day visiting nearby Yellowstone National Park, which is America's first national park and its largest outside Alaska. Yellowstone boasts its own Grand Canyon, plentiful geysers and Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake in America.
While the resort has been nominated for best ski hotel, Amangani is also a great option for spring and summer vacations. During the warmer months, wildlife safaris led by biologist guides enable guests to view a wide variety of wildlife including black bears, grizzly bears, elk, bison, moose, pronghorn, bald eagles and golden eagles. Fly fishing enthusiasts enjoy the Snake River, which is a haven for local cutthroat trout as well as rainbow, lake and brown trout. Canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding and hot-air ballooning are other activities offered to guests.
The Health Center features treatment rooms, exercise studios, steam rooms and individualized yoga programs. The resort offers a 30 meter outdoor pool and whirlpool with magnificent mountain views; both are opened year-round.
Each of the resort's 40 suites have spectacular mountain and valley views. Rates start at $565 for April to mid-June and mid-October to mid-December; $725 from early January to early April (excluding Presidents' Day weekend when the entry rate jumps to $875); and $857 from mid-June to mid-October. A four-bedroom home with full hotel amenities is also available for $3,400 to $4,800 per night, depending on the time of year. The resort is a 20 minute drive from the Jackson Hole Airport.
Vote now for what you believe is the best of breed for each of the Winter Travel categories. Readers' Choice Awards for the Best in Winter Travel will be announced on January 31st.