Forbes | By Carrie Coolidge
February 25, 2017
If the idea of living on a ranch and immersing yourself in the great outdoors sounds like a dream come true, then look no further than Snake River Sporting Club in Jackson, Wyoming.
As you traverse across a century-old, red truss bridge over the Snake River to enter the Sporting Club, which includes a fully functioning ranch, you immediately feel as if you are immersed in an authentic Western experience – yet this residential resort and private club is only 20 minutes from downtown Jackson, which is known for its charming art galleries, boutiques, cowboy bars and gourmet restaurants.
“It may be outside of central Jackson, but that is a major selling point,” explains Christopher Swann, founder of Atlanta, Ga.-based Cygnus Capital, the majority owner of Snake River Sporting Club. “It is out of the fray. When you get out here, it is so quiet.”
Bordered By A River And Protected Wilderness
The peace and serenity found here are a result of its stellar location. Bordered by a river on one side and a protected wilderness on the other—the 3.4 million-acre Bridger Teton National Forest—Snake River Sporting Club provides all the benefits of living on a pristine and expansive property as it is surrounded by mountains and protected land, but with the amenities of a luxurious world-class resort.
“We have utilized the exceptional aspects of the land to build a great destination from a residential aspect but also from a hospitality standpoint, as well as a well-regarded club,” adds Swann. “We have tried to make this a very interactive and active lifestyle destination. People can use it as a springboard to jump into the back country whether that is on horseback, on foot or on mountain bikes. There are great on-property experiences, too, from golf to horseback riding.”
Similar amenities found at Snake River Sporting Club can be had elsewhere in the Jackson Hole vicinity, but it would require you to drive long distances, says Jeff Heilbrun, Executive Vice President and Director of Sales at Snake River Sporting Club. “What we have tried to do at the outset is to become somewhat of a miniaturized Jackson Hole within the confines of a private development. What makes this property so unique is its setting. It is completely surrounded by a national forest and all of its views are protected forever.”
The nearly 1,000-acre Snake River Sporting Club is the perfect escape every season of the year. Love to fly fish? A crystal-clear river runs through the property and is one of the last places in the world where the Snake River Fine-spotted Cutthroat Trout, one of the 14 subspecies of Cutthroat Trout Fish (a native species in the Rockies), is found. Here, you can fish all year round with nearly five miles of private, unfettered access. Outdoor Pursuits guides are available for guided fly fishing trips on the river and on-property casting clinics. The fly fishing school is endorsed by Orvis.
There’s a complete equestrian center on the property, where you can rent or board horses and have access to countless miles of trails. There is also mountain biking, hiking, rafting, paddle boarding and canoeing on the river, to skeet and trap shooting and 3D archery. During the summer there is even a rodeo that takes place on the property.
The club is working toward setting up a “glamping” spot in the adjacent national forest this summer for members who want to go camping in style.
The Number One Golf Course In Wyoming
Snake River Sporting Club’s 18-hole championship par 72 golf course was designed by none other than Tom Weiskopf and has been ranked the number one golf course in the entire state by Golf Digest. Its fairways, which are lined with sage brush, offer spectacular views of the natural landscape. There’s also a full practice area and driving range for warming up.
The club’s 26,000 square foot clubhouse includes a restaurant that services three meals a day, a 24-hour fitness center and a golf pro shop. There are paddle tennis and full-size tennis courts (some are heated and lit at night) as well as an infinity-edge swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a fire pit.
During the winter months, residents and club members can participate in a wide variety of winter activities on the property, from snowshoeing, snow biking and ice skating to cross country skiing or tubing on its very own tubing hill. Helicopter skiing also lifts off from property through High-Mountain Heli Skiing.
If you’d like to go alpine skiing or snowboarding, the club provides daily shuttle service to and from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which is approximately 45 minutes away. There, members can have access to lockers at the base of the mountain service or take advantage of a discount memberships at Caldera House, a premier alpine retreat at the base of the resort.
Home Ownership Options
Snake River Sporting Club offers a variety of home ownership options, ranging from free-standing homes to condominiums and estates large enough to include horse stables. But rather than shouldering all of the responsibility of maintaining a large property, at Snake River Sporting Club it is all done for you. The club offers real estate services that includes property management and caretaking, from snow removal to landscaping. Even your refrigerator can be stocked with your favorite foods in advance of your arrival.
Not far from the Clubhouse, there are ½ acre to two acre lots located in the woods and tucked in and around the fairways of the golf course, where it is possible to build a custom home up to 6,500 square feet in size or choose from an already designed home/lot package. These homes range from 2,600 square feet with four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms and a two-car garage to 3,700 square feet with five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms and 2.5 car garages.
The homes feature living areas with vaulted ceilings and oversized fireplaces, ensuite bedrooms, gourmet kitchens with high-end appliances, rustic plank flooring and floor-to-ceiling picture windows with stunning views.
Homes are beautifully decorated with Restoration Hardware furniture packages and are turn-key, down to the sheets on the beds, towels in the bathrooms and dishware in the kitchen cabinets. There are four and five-bedroom residences with four and a half bathroom residences that range from 2,600 to 3,800 square feet in size on 1/8 to ½ acre parcels. These residences are ideal for anyone seeking a full-time residence, family retreat or an investment opportunity, as owners can participate in a short-term rental program managed by the club.
Those seeking larger spreads can opt to invest in a Ranch Estate with a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains and Snake River Canyon. These lots range in size from 35 acres to 105 acres and priced from $2.7 million to $8.95 million. Here, it is possible to build a family compound with a floor area of up to 10,000 square feet (8,000 square feet habitable), complete with your own stables, which can be managed on your behalf by an on-site equestrian manager. These properties have direct access to Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Snake River.
Down the road, the final phase in is real estate development will include the construction and sale of luxury condominiums within the Lodges. These homes will be ideal for a short-term rental program operated by the club when not in use by their owners.
In 2018, there were 24 property sales at Snake River Sporting Club, up from 21 in 2017.
Wyoming Is A Tax-Friendly State
Indeed, Wyoming has much to offer besides its nature and unspoiled natural environment. The state is considered to be one of the most tax-friendly states in the country as there are no taxes on the sale of real estate, no income tax, and no tax on out-of-state retirement income.
Wyoming is an excellent place to retire, as there is no inheritance or estate taxes and relatively low property taxes. As such, home ownership at Snake River Sporting Club is appealing from a tax perspective, either as a primary home or for rental income when the property is not in use.
For more information about membership at Snake River Sporting Club or home ownership opportunities, click here.
Carrie Coolidge is a luxury travel and real estate contributor to Forbes Life. You can follow her on Twitter at @carriecoolidge