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Loving where you live

Imagine waking up to the brilliant blue skies of Wyoming under the shadow of the Tetons, strolling over to your hangar just seconds from your front door, nudging your Husky awake and down a 6,000-foot-long runway, and taking off into the wilderness where your morning goal is to spot elk, moose, and goats from 1,000 feet agl, at a leisurely pace of 80 mph.

The community is still in its infancy, with new homes continually being constructed.
The community is still in its infancy, with new homes continually being constructed. Photography by David Tulis

The Refuge AirRanch

At The Refuge AirRanch, airplanes and gorgeous homes go together; the 80-acre community lets pilots live with their passion. The community is still in its infancy, with new homes continually being constructed. It’s a playground for people and their toys, The community is surrounded by the majesty of Wyoming’s natural beauty.

That’s how Stan Dardis starts his mornings in Alpine, Wyoming. He is a resident of The Refuge AirRanch, “the world’s most majestic fly-in residential sporting community,” according to its founder Steven Funk. This 80-acre community in Wyoming’s Star Valley offers pilots the opportunity to live and fly in some of the most incredible landscapes in the world and features highly designed homes with jet-size hangars just minutes from recreational pursuits like snowmobiling and skiing, kayaking and rafting, horseback riding and fly-fishing. It’s a playground for grown-ups. “The natural beauty is off the charts,” says Funk. And “there’s nothing like parking your airplane in your garage,” adds resident Clint Newell. The Refuge AirRanch is a year-round fly-in residential gated community near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which Funk established in the early 2000s. There’s a strong sense of community and camaraderie here, with residents sharing like-minded interests—and some pretty great Friday night hangar parties.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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