The uncommon beauty of Wyoming’s Alpine Airpark
May 11, 2016 | By Thomas B Haines
The “10-minute warning” text message is simple enough. It might be “sunset flight” or “breakfast, Driggs” or “Costco.” With that, hangar doors yawn open and a pack of Aviat Huskys and maybe a few other brands fire up and trundle toward the end of Runway 13 or 31 at Wyoming’s Alpine Airpark. “Within minutes we’ll have five to 15 Huskys and they just go,” explains Scot Cook, owner of Landings Aviation, the FBO at Alpine. The text message might be initiated by any resident of the fly-in community, located 29 nautical miles southwest of Jackson Hole Airport—morning, noon, or evening.
The frequent fly-outs are just one of the everyday events that help weave the social fabric of Alpine Airpark. And it is a tight weave.
“Everybody gets together,” says Cook. “There’s fire in the hole, fire in the bowl, or an impromptu potluck dinner at someone’s hangar at least weekly.” Fire pits and fire bowls seem almost mandatory among the airport’s 70-some homes and hangars. Huskys, built just down the valley in Afton, Wyoming, seem almost universal. And the official runabout for the airport seems to be the Polaris Ranger.
There are many themes at the picturesque airpark, tucked into the Star Valley, where the Greys and Salt rivers feed into the Snake River to form the Palisades Reservoir on the Idaho border. “People who move here love the West and the outdoors and the mountains,” says Cook. “They’ve all achieved something in life. They’ve got nothing to prove. They’re good neighbors.” more »