Our ski instructors at Turpin Meadow Ranch enjoy teaching guests of all ages and abilities. Several of them are proud to hold certifications from Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). They enjoy guiding, coaching, and encouraging guests while offering instruction on techniques endorsed by PSIA to advance their students in a safety-oriented environment. Our Lead Adventure Guide, Elee, explains how our guests benefit by taking lessons from PSIA certified instructors.

What is PSIA?

It’s the biggest certifier of snow sports including cross-country skiing. We must pass rigorous testing and curriculum in order to be certified and there are multiple levels of certifications to achieve. There are only about 32,000 individuals who hold PSIA certifications.
Professional Ski Instructors of America’s mission, as part of the ski and snowboard industry, is to help develop instructors and their students’ personally and professionally, create positive learning experiences, and encourage all to have more fun.

What Can Our Guests Expect When Taking Lessons from a PSIA Certified Ski Instructor?

A PSIA certified ski instructor not only knows how to ski but how to teach it so that guests learn safely and have fun doing it. When they take lessons from us, they’re not just getting a recreational hobbyist. We’re vetted, certified, and have been checked out by meeting and passing rigorous programs that cover not just our own competency of the sport but also how to instruct it.

In fact, at the heart and focus of the PSIA certification is the guest. To graduate from the first level of the program, a multi-page assessment and observations of our skills and personal engagement abilities are taken over several days at the end of each level’s program that covers topics like our teaching skills, personal skills, and guest interactions.

It means we know how to create a safe environment and can help advance guests’ ability in the sport in ways that are fun every step of the way whether it is their first or 70th time.

How do PSIA Instructors Benefit Kids?

PSIA trained instructors are specialized to teach children. Making sure kiddos always have fun is key in building confidence, improving skills, and level-up their appreciation of the sport so they’ll want to keep doing it. Any parent knows this is important for kids and a different approach is necessary to teach them new and technical skills.

Do Adults Also Benefit from Learning from PSIA Certified Instructors?

Absolutely! To become PSIA certified, we must show a deep understanding and capability of the sport and how to teach it. This means we can adapt lessons to fit each guest’s needs and goals. And let’s be frank, it’s important for adults to have fun doing it, too.

Here at the Ranch, we have instructed first-timers who want to try Classic and/or Skate skiing for the first time to see if it makes sense to invest in their own equipment, to lifelong ski enthusiasts who want to become better at the sport, and even competitive racers seeking to improve their techniques to win their races. We make sure everyone meets their goals and has a fun time doing it!

Stays here during late August and September doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. Most people plan to visit at the peak of summer but there are so many reasons to experience our Ranch as things transition into autumn.

1. Perfect Weather

This time of year the weather is very pleasant. The afternoons are warm, averaging in the mid 70’s and then cooling off into crisp mornings. Due to our elevation, you can expect the mornings to be around the low 40’s to high 30’s depending on the week you’re visiting. Pack for layering and you’ll be set.

2. Exciting Fall Fishing

This is the best time of year to catch the largest brown trout of the season. Water temperatures drop this time of year into the optimal range for trout fishing. They also start the urge to pack on the pounds for the upcoming winter which means they want bigger food and are more aggressive, willing to get out of their lairs to chase down tasty looking flies. September is basically the only time of year that every river within Yellowstone is fishable.

3. Less Crowds at National Parks

Tourism to the Parks typically tapers off in September so it’s a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.

4. Active Wildlife

Wildlife behavior changes in autumn as they begin their winter preparation rituals. Animals that typically linger in high elevation during summer trade the protection of trees for lower grasslands to escape the oncoming snow. Hundreds of bison will head to Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful areas during this time.

Visitors might see some elk in the mountain forests but this time of year they’ll be lower — and you’ll get to hear them, too! Elk begin their mating season during this time and you’ll hear them bugling, a sound alternately deep and high-pitched, as they vie for female attention. Remember to give all the critters their space.

Bears are more active as they forage for food in preparation for their long winter hibernation – don’t forget to store your food safely! Bring binoculars with you as you explore the area. In addition to bear, elk, and bison you may well see pronghorn, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, eagles, and more.

5. Fall Scenery

Many people come at the start or peak of summer but fall has it’s own beauty here when the scenery transforms itself. This place feels magical as you watch the leaves and grasses change to lovely shades of yellows and oranges. Horseback riding through this vast land while witnessing the landscape changing colors daily will leave you with memories you’ll never forget.

If you’ve never visited in fall, you’re in for a treat. Give us a call if you have any questions. We’re happy to assist you with your trip planning.

A trip to our ranch might be the perfect opportunity to expose your child to fly-fishing. We’ve got Orvis equipment available to rent and the Buffalo Fork River is right outside your cabin door.

Now, getting your child hooked on fly fishing might be a challenge. Tom Rosenbauer, a fly-fishing guide and author who produces a podcast for Orvis, has 10 tips he’s either tried or gotten from other guides on how to introduce kids to fly-fishing. You can hear Tom talk about these tips on his podcast. The list starts at the 21-minute mark.

1. Go fishing

Start with a simple rod and reel setup. This is an easy introduction that lets your child experience the basic principles of fishing without getting into the technical aspects of fly-fishing.

2. Start with the prey

Kids love catching critters like frogs, turtles and snakes. Show them crickets, beetles and other bugs that serve as the prey. Then you can explain to them how those insects are used to create flies, which are used to catch fish.

3. Take the kids to fly tying demonstrations

Many kids get into fly tying long before they do fishing. It’s like a craft project to them. They like the colored elements and the chance to be creative.

4. Pick the right time and place

The first experience needs to happen when the fishing is good and it’s easy. You want them to experience some early success.

5. Go after sunfish or panfish

The first fly-fishing trip should be fishing in shallow water for sunfish or panfish. These fish are generally easy to see, which lets your child watch how they react when going after a fly.

6. Scout the fishing site

Fish at the spot you’re thinking of taking your child to make sure the fish are biting.

7. Find riffled water

If you’re fishing in a stream for trout, find a section where there is pool with shallow to moderately deep water that moves at a moderate pace. Tie on small streamer or wet fly and have them cast across the current and follow the fly on the tip of the rod.

8. Skip the boat

Bank fishing is better than boat fishing, especially for a beginner. There are too many obstacles in casting and line handling in a boat. Fishing on a bank gives a novice angler the opportunity to take their time and learn.

9. Shorter is better

Keep the kids engaged. This means fishing trips shouldn’t be all-day affairs. Limit the outings to an hour or two at the most.

10. Provisions

Make sure to bring snacks and drinks. Kids need nourishment to keep them going.

It’s An Adventure

Any chance to get your kids outside is a win and Tim’s tips might just what your child needs to peak in an interest in what could be a life-long hobby. We’ll do what we can to help when you’re at the ranch.

The ranch is a great place to take your child on their first fly-fishing trip. The Buffalo Fork River is right outside your cabin door and provides an expansive space to spend as long as you want casting into the lazy flow of the water.

But before that fishing trip, wherever it might be, spend some time teaching your child how to cast. Giving them a few tips and time to practice this critical element of the sport will help them enjoy their time on the water.

Our experienced guides have got a few pointers on what to focus on during those sessions.

Hands On

Any lesson includes a bit of explanation and demonstration. But don’t spend too much time telling or showing. Let your little one get their hands on a rod as soon as possible. You might want to assist on the first few casts, but as soon as you can, step away and let them get the feel of the rod and line.

Shorter is Better

The deficiencies in your casting stroke are magnified the longer the line is out. Let your child build confidence by limiting the amount of line they’re going to cast. Start with 15 to 20 feet of line and let them build a consistent and comfortable cast before increasing the line length.

Go Light

This seems obvious but go with a lighter weight line than you would use. You don’t want to tire your child out too soon or risk an injury. Start with something like a 7- or 8-foot 3- or 4-weight line.

Fun First

While you are giving your child a fishing lesson, let’s remember to keep it fun and light. You’re just helping your child to get the line in front of them. Don’t get too tied up in how they accomplish that task. Take it too seriously and you might ruin your child’s interest in the sport.

Watch the Trees

Pick a spot on the water where you’ve got plenty of clearance from trees that might interfere with wayward casts.

Knotted Up

Depending on your child’s age, ability and temperament, let them try to untangle that first knot. If your child is amenable, offer a few tips. But don’t let them get too frustrated before you step in to solve the problem.

Fish On

You might want to finish the lesson by casting yourself to get a fish on the hook and then let your child reel it in. This lets them get the experience of how a fish feels on the hook and let’s be honest, catching is always more fun than casting.

Emails, meetings, grocery lists, the kids’ sports schedules, whatever consumes your daily thoughts quickly disappears the minute you settle into your saddle and head out on a guided horseback ride at the ranch.

The beauty and vastness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest will command your attention. You’ll ride through Alpine meadows, see a variety of wildlife and have the Grand Tetons as your constant companion.

The tranquility of a horseback ride is why it’s been used for years as a therapy tool. It’s helped people become more assertive, improve problem-solving skills and lower their stress.

While therapy isn’t the focus of our rides, you will definitely get some unintended benefits. Here are just a few.

Focus

Your worries and distractions will disappear once you settle into the saddle and head out into the wilderness. Riding requires complete focus and being in the moment.

If your mind wanders, your horse is going to follow that lead. So, let go of everything and join your horse in your singular goal – enjoying the ride.

Get Strong

You might not realize it, but the more you ride the stronger you’ll get, both physically and mentally. Riding requires keeping your core engaged. Your abs, lower back and obliques benefit from this focus as these muscles will grow stronger the more you ride.

The ride will also help improve your balance and coordination as you keep yourself centered in the saddle.

Emotional Stability

The beautiful part of a horseback ride is the interaction between you and your steed. A horse is capable of sensing your emotions and reacting. Exhibiting fear or anger will not give you the best experience.

Remaining calm and in control will put the horse at ease and let both of you get the most from the ride.

Patience

Your horse has a mind of its own and at some point during the ride will likely make a decision you find disagreeable. Patience rather than anger or frustration is the preferred response. By taking the time to redirect your horse, you’ll avoid a negative response and maintain the sense of team between both of you.

Luckily, the herd at the ranch is a seasoned and mild-mannered bunch. They know the terrain almost as well as our guides and we’ll match you with a horse that best fits your riding style.

Forgiveness

Riding is so much like life. Nobody is perfect and no ride is perfect. Being able to forgive your horse for any missteps will help you put the daily frustrations in perspective. This is especially easy when you ride at the ranch with the beauty of the Grand Tetons always there to mesmerize.

Trust

The trust between you and your horse is unspoken but understood. You’ll quickly come to trust Spoon, Roosevelt and the other horses in our herd who will put you at ease and take you on a great summer adventure.

I Did It

Those final steps back to the ranch will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment whether it’s your first ride or 100th.

Summer is still a few months away, but it’s not too early to start planning your fishing adventure and this year we’re adding to your options with two venues you’ll want to tick off your bucket list – the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park and Wind River.

These additional locations are part of our larger strategy to provide a full-range of fishing destinations that appeal to anyone interested in fly-fishing – the beginner to the seasoned veteran.

“We’ve got such beautiful rivers, streams and lakes around the ranch that we want to continually update our fishing offerings to appeal to a broad ranger of anglers,” said Ron Stiffler, manager at the ranch. “You couple these pristine waters with the experience of our guides and you’re going to get an unforgettable adventure.”

Tried and True

The North Fork of the Buffalo Fork River remains the stalwart in our river portfolio. Located just steps from our cabins, the river serves as the perfect place to hold our casting and fishing classes for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills.

The river, along with Pacific, Spread and Blackrock Creeks, is also part of our full or half day Walk and Wade guided fishing trips.

Yellowstone

Jay Allen, the renowned fishing guide who oversees our fishing program, is especially excited to explore the Firehole River within Yellowstone National Park. The river is known for its nymph fishing and is one of the first to open with the spring melt.

He’s also eyeing other locations within the park as the season progresses and the fish move.

Wind River

The mountain range in this area soars to 13,000 feet, creating a breathtaking backdrop to the rivers and streams that teem with trout. The west side of the range is a popular destination to fish for cutthroat, brook, rainbow and golden trout.

But Jay will be taking our guests to the less visited east side that is situated in the Wind River Reservation. We are the only guides with access to this section of the river and you’ll be able to try your hand at landing a cutthroat or brown in this rarely fished area.

Backcountry

The spring snow melt clears the path for cutthroat heading to the high country to spawn in the collection of lakes. By August, they start making their way back down, creating a small window of opportunity for backcountry fishing trips.

The first 15 days in September are the best to make the journey into the wilderness where anglers will practically have the river to themselves to fish.

Turpin Experience

The unique destinations we’ve selected for this summer should be a big draw. We’ll make it even more enticing by providing all of the fishing gear you’ll need, making packing that much easier. We do that because our guides know the constantly changing conditions that help them pick out the best spots and flies on any given day.

Better yet, you’ll return each day to the ranch where you can relax in your well-appointed cabin and enjoy a meal prepared from local ingredients.

The snow continues to fall at the ranch, giving us a great end to winter with conditions perfect for all of our outdoor activities, including fat biking. The ability to bike in the snow still catches some guests off guard.

We’ve got a few helpful tips for those who are coming to ride at the ranch that translate well to wherever you might want to ride in the snow.

Flat Pedals a Must

If you’re used to clipping into your pedals, forget it when you’re fat biking. You’ll be putting your foot down much more often than in other riding conditions. Plus, the snow tends to accumulate on the bottom of your shoe, making it difficult if not impossible to clip into a pedal.

Layering a Must

Fat biking, like any other winter activity, requires layering of clothes to keep you warm and dry. This is probably even more important with fat biking where one moment you’re producing plenty of heat from a climb and then moments later dealing with the chilly temps during the descent.

You’ll want to start with a base layer to wick away the sweat and then add on from there. Pay special attention to your hands, feet and head.

Keep the Gearing Simple

We run 1x drivetrains at the ranch because you really don’t need the same high and low gears you do when mountain biking. This set up gives you plenty of gearing to ride comfortably without the over torque and spin outs.

Modest Goals

If you’re new to fat biking, don’t use your normal riding distances as the benchmark. The bigger tires and snowy terrain will likely translate to a shorter rider. The fun, however, will be the same if not more.

Go Low

The more rubber you get on the snow, the better the ride. That means going low with the tire pressure. If you’re getting bounced around and the ride isn’t comfortable, let the air out.

Find Your Cadence

Pedaling in snow requires constant focus on your cadence. Pedal too fast and with too much torque and all you’re going to do is spin the tires and tear up the terrain, neither of which will get you anywhere or endear you to your fellow riders.

Concentrate on the grip of your tire and find that point of maximum output with minimal slippage and then lock into that rhythm.

The Ranch Ride

Fat biking at the ranch will give the beginner and experienced rider plenty of terrain to carve out an epic ride. The 20 km of groomed trails that is spread across seven connected loops provide a perfect surface for getting out and exploring the land round the ranch.

Our goal at the ranch is for each guest to have the best experience out of their adventure. That’s why our guided tours, like snowmobiling during winter, are so popular. We take care of all of the logistics, so guests don’t have to worry about the details.

More importantly, our guides receive regular safety training to make sure your adventure is as safe as possible. The most recent training session occurred before opening day and involved our snowmobile guides updated their Wilderness First Responder and avalanche safety certification. Here’s a quick look at what that training involved.

Wilderness First Responder

All of our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders, which is essentially the same training EMTs receive. The federal government created the first EMT guidelines in the 1960s. Not long after that, the Wilderness Medicine Outfitters took the EMT model a step further by adding techniques to help ski patrols aid injured skiers.

The skills and techniques taught in those original classes have been continually updated to help people like our guides help anyone injured in order to survive the “golden hour,” that critical period of time to get the patient stabilized and transported to a hospital.

Avalanche Training

On top of the medical training, our snowmobile guides also take a class that involves classroom and field work to help them identify and analyze avalanche dangers. The course covers the various types of avalanches, teaches them observational skills to identify potential dangers and how to plan a safe trip.

The information helps our guides avoid conditions that could put sledders in danger.

Guest Experience

Our guest’s safety is constantly at the forefront of the minds of our guides. That’s why we start each snowmobile trip with a brief safety briefing that covers the operation of the sled as well as basic precautionary tips.

It’s also an added value to our guests that our guides have years of working and playing in the area around the ranch. They are extremely familiar with the terrain and weather patterns. That local knowledge when paired with today’s forecasting technology ensures that your snowmobile adventure is as safe as it is fun.

Photo credit @jnelmcintosh

A vacation is a great time to try something new. You’re generally more relaxed and open to new ideas and experiences. This holds especially true at the ranch with so many adventures waiting right outside your cabin door.

If you’re visiting us with your children, winter presents the perfect opportunity to expose those little ones to Nordic skiing if they haven’t given it a try. It’s a great family activity that let’s everyone enjoy the outdoors.

“We’ve got the equipment, the location and the ideal atmosphere for letting your kids experience Nordic skiing for the first time,” said Ron Stiffler, our manager at the ranch.

The Ideal Setting

Guests at the ranch don’t have far to walk to the ski hut, grab their gear and hit our 20 km of trails. We groom our trails daily, giving beginners a smooth surface for the best experience.

The trails are expansive enough that you won’t feel like you’re getting in the way of others and you’ll have a variety of terrains to explore.

A Teachable Moment

The beauty of Nordic skiing for kids is that the lesson, and we’re using that word loosely, is very simple. Nordic skiing utilizes the basic motion of walking, something your kids already know how to do.

Plus, you’re not reaching speeds of downhill skiing so if you’re little ones do fall, it’s not going to hurt them.

Focus on Fun

Another reason we think of teaching in air quotes, is that it’s best to not make that first Nordic skiing adventure too series. Give them the basics and get out of the way. Let them have fun and experiment with skiing the way they want to try.

We’d also encourage you to think about skipping the poles or at least let them try without them. At such a young age, poles aren’t a real necessity.

Keep it Short

Let your child’s age and interest level dictate how long you’re out on the trails. It’s better to leave a bit earlier so your child views the adventure as something enjoyable rather than something they’re being forced to do.

Free Ski Day

If you’re around on Jan. 5 consider coming by to be part of the Jackson Hole Nordic Alliance’s Free Ski, Fat Bike & Snowshoe Day. This annual event has become a great gathering for the community to visit the ranch, hit the trails for free and try out skis, fat bikes and snowshoes from our amazing partners.

The free day has grown from a humble gathering to one of the more anticipated community events in the Jackson Hole area. You’re guaranteed to have fun and the focus is definitely on families so you’re kids will have plenty of others to play with on the trail.

The summer crowds at Grand Teton National Park can be a bit of a deterrent for some. Fall instantly removes that barrier. Vacation summers have been exhausted and kids are back in school, leaving you with a park that returns to its wide-open spaces.

Take advantage of the change in seasons to plan a trip to the ranch and treat Grand Teton likes it’s your private wilderness getaway. You won’t be disappointed.

Here are a few suggestions for your itinerary.

Jenny Lake

The size of the lake isn’t what’s going to take your breath away. It’s the beauty. The lake is perhaps one of the most photographed areas in the park as it sits with the Teton Mountains as the backdrop.

The views and hikes around the lake are huge draws during the summer. That’s why visiting in the fall is a much more attractive option. You’ll be able to explore the area without the jostling.

Jackson Lake

Views and activities abound at Jackson Lake. Rent a boat, fish, hike or grab a bite at Leeks Marina or Signal Mountain Marina. You can easily make several trips here to take in all that this gem of a lake has to offer.

Hiking

There is no shortage of hiking options at the ranch. You’ve got a plethora of hiking routes right outside your cabin door. Phelps Lake, Bradley-Taggard and Two Ocean Lake are a few other popular hiking spots in the park

If you want some insider knowledge, make sure to talk to the staff at the ranch for their favorite hiking spots.

Come With Us

You’ve always got the option of spending a half day with one of our experienced guides on one of our guided tours. You’ll hit well-known sites as well as a few favorite hidden locales while learning about the history of the area.

This also gives you the opportunity to customize your tour by letting the guide know what’s important to you.

Slow Roll

If your time is limited, a drive along the park’s Inner Park Loop Road gives you a representative perspective of what the area has to offer. You’ll be able to meander past Jenny and Jackson Lakes, get amazing viewpoints of the Grand Teton range and, if you’re lucky, see an abundance of wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot deer, elk, bears, moose and pronghorn antelope along this route.