◆ People are excited to have a reset.
In a perfect world, local businessman Bud Chatham would have had one of two choices. Pre-COVID, he would have had all the building materials he needed to expand and grow. Or, with plenty of time, he’d have delayed opening.
But neither was an option. Now a two-by four is worth its weight in gold. And folks across the country coming out of COVID winter are flocking outdoors.
So Alpine Valley RV Resort opened its doors – or rather its gates – to summer-fun seekers early this month. Located on US-26 near Alpine Junction within site of the Snake River, the resort is “not the final product yet,” Chatham told SVI Media. They’re even still working on the landscaping, but Chatham and his wife, Kelly Kaiser, opened their business with 30 original sites and another 65 by August.
“Our goal is to make it a family-friendly atmosphere and to accommodate today’s RV. We have 75-foot pull-through sides, and 60-foot back-in sites. Anyone with an RV, we should be able to accommodate size.
“When it’s all said and done,” Chatham added, “we’ll have 120 RV sites. We’ll eventually put in cabins and we’ll have a nice club house and some cool amenities.”
With the groundbreaking of Alpine Valley RV Resort last spring, Bud and Kelly now own three Star Valley Chamber of Commerce businesses from Alpine to Jackson – including Dave Hansen White Water in Jackson, and Snake River Cabin and RV Village at Hoback Junction. Chatham called the latest business a “soft opening” but credited local excavator Pace VanDeburg for “fantastic” work to welcome in visitors from throughout the country who seek a vacation in the “Equality State.”
“Right now people are traveling, trying to get back outdoors and be [safely] with people,” Chatham related. “These types of vacations enable people to do both. You’re outside, spending time with family. People are excited to have a reset and do these types of activities.”
And, he emphasized, a lot of people want to experience this in the Star Valley region, thus, his joining of the Star Valley Chamber of Commerce. “My wife teaches in the Teton County School District. Our kids were born in Wyoming. We feel more a part of this region than anywhere else.”
Participation in the local business community, he said, is vital, and both he and Kelly are excited to extend their businesses into Star Valley.
“We know the great people who are part of this region. We’re excited about the partnership we have going forward.”
His excitement shows. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, he grew up working summers for his uncle’s KOA campground at Hoback Junction. After college, he came back to work to earn money with the goal of buying a rafting company.
Chatham had found his roots. His uncle, who owned the KOA and Dave Hansen White Water raft business, eventually sold both to his nephew. That all started 16 years ago. Chatham kept the name of one and changed the other to Snake River Cabin and RV Village.
Alpine Valley RV Resort will grow over the coming months, Chatham related, to include a splash pad and a rock climbing park. “We’ll have picnic covers and basketball courts. We’ll have paddle boats and rafts and other water craft to rent as well.”
His hope is that “we’re the highlight of people’s vacations when they come to stay with us.”
To see accommodations for the three businesses owned by Chatham and Kelly Kaiser – with the help of teenage daughters Hyla and Jacie – see https://alpinevalleyresortwy.com/; https://www.davehansenwhitewater.com/ ; and https://www.snakeriverpark.com/.