NPR Story: 50 Young Entrepreneurs Buy Powder Mountain, UT for $40 Million

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Powder Mountain, Utah
Powder Mountain, Utah

The headline of this article seems like exaggeration, but it isn’t.  50 young entrepreneurs closed a $40 million deal to purchase 10,000-acre Powder Mountain in April, 2013.

Their plan is to build a village around the old ski resort consisting of 500 homes, a retail village, and ‘rotating residences for artists.”

Powder Mountain.  photo:  stan evans
Powder Mountain. photo: stan evans/powder mountain

Who are these 50 young entrepreneurs?

“Count plenty of cool kids among the mountain’s 50 investors: PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Olympic-level snowboarder Danny Davis, the founders of Wiredmagazine and pop music hit maker Dr. Luke, responsible for songs like “Since U Been Gone” and “I Kissed A Girl,” each pitched in anywhere between $500,000 and $2 million to invest in the mountain purchase. In return, they can opt to build a mountain home.” – Elise Hu/NPR

Danny Davis, one of the entrepreneurs involved.
Danny Davis, one of the entrepreneurs involved.

Powder Mountain’s history is a bit of mystery for most of us.

“For decades, Powder Mountain was owned by sheep farmers who barely put up ski lifts on the mountain, much less a resort. Skiers and snowboards do enjoy Powder Mountain, but it’s been a well-kept backcountry secret that’s not as easy to get to as other Utah attractions. You can only get to Powder Mountain by winding through two-lane roads and canyons. No fancy amenities are available. On peak days, the number of people who ski Powder Mountain don’t even make up a tenth of the skiers who take to Telluride. Locals like it that way.” – Elise Hu/NPR

Powder Mt.  photo:  stan evans/powder mountain
Powder Mt. photo: stan evans/powder mountain

This owner’s group is called Summit:

“Summit is a company that until now has specialized in putting on invitation-only-event experiences, gathering boldfaced names from across various fields. It started as a way for young tech founders to get together and share ideas, but it’s grown to include leaders in business, entertainment and philanthropy.” – Elise Hu/NPR

This plan to develop Powder Mountain is expansive and ambitious.  The town of Eden, Utah and Powder Mountain have struggled to attract skiers and vacationers.  It will be interesting to watch and see if this gamble pays off.  Buying an entire mountain in Northern Utah  is no small risk in today’s market.

Read the full NPR Powder Mountain Story here:  “Why Buy a House When You Can Buy a Mountain”

pow mt.  photo:  skiutah.com
pow mt. photo: skiutah.com

QUICK POWDER MOUNTAIN HISTORY:

1971–72 season

  • Powder Mountain opened with Sundown Lift.
  • Ski School began.

1972/73 Season

  • Main Lodge opened.
  • Sundown Lodge opened.
  • Timberline lift opened.

    Powder Mountain Trail Map
    Powder Mountain Trail Map

1975/76 Season

  • Hidden Lake Lift added.

1981/82 Season

  • Shuttle service for employees and for Powder Country started.

1984/85 Season

  • Powder was the first Utah resort to allow snowboarding.

1986/87 Season

  • Hidden Lake Day Lodge opened.

1994/95 Season

  • Sunrise Lift opened.

1999/2000 Season

  • Paradise Lift, a quad, opened up an additional 1300 acres (5.3 km²) of lift accessed terrain.
  • Cat skiing moved to Lightning Ridge accessing an additional 700 acres (2.8 km²).
  • Powder Mountain became the resort with the most skiable terrain in America.

2006–07 season

  • Hidden Lake lift replaced with a high speed lift.

2012–13 season

  • In 2012, Summit announced its plans to purchase Powder Mountain with the goal of preserving the throwback character of Powder Mountain while creating a permanent home for the Summit community.[4]

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29 thoughts on “NPR Story: 50 Young Entrepreneurs Buy Powder Mountain, UT for $40 Million

  1. Just skied PowMow for the first time (2 days there). We think it’s a great place to ski, of course. It’s unique and progress/development is inevitable, although apparently moving slowly. Hopefully it’ll remain special for many years. Otherwise… note this old article shows a picture of the John Paul lift (and lodge) at Snowbasin and says it’s Powder Mt.

  2. Let pow mow have the slowest lifts in THE USA , THATS how we keep it so deserted / empty

  3. Lets have a bake sale so the new owners will have enough cash to put up some working chair lifts

  4. WHO NEEDS CHAIR LIFTS ? powder mountain is , was ,and always will be just a place to party , get drunk + stoned NOW MORE THAN EVER !! PARTY ON !

  5. How cam powder mountain put sooooo much effort and money into a EVENT that we cant even go to and then refuse to upgrade the ski resort ….. the lifts are garbage !! and the lodges are beyond funky

  6. IF YOU DONT HAVE A MEMBERS ONLY JACKET , A NATURAL GASS VEHICLE AND A FAT WALLET POW MOW ISNT THE PLACE FOR YOU ……. INVITATION ONLY , CALIFORNIANS PREFERED

  7. P.M. IS ALREADY WELL ON ITS WAY TO A PRIVATE SKI RESORT ….. THE EVENT THAT SUMMIT JUST HOSTED WAS INVITATION ONLY ….. AND COST THOUSANDS OD DOLLARD TO ATEND ….. SUMMIT SAID THEY HIRED MANY LOCALS TO WORK THE EVENT BUT REALLY ONLY HIRED HISPANIC DAY LABORERS AND JAIL WORK FURLOW WORKERS FOR LOW PAY….. POW MOW FINALY HAS A WORLD CLASS LODGE BUT WE ARNT ALLOWED ….. HIGH ROLERS ONLY …. SUMMIT BOSTS THAT IT WILL BE A R ESORT THAT YOU CAN HELLICOPTER TO FRESH TERRAIN THEN HAVE A ORGANIC MEAL IN A PRIVATE LODGE !! PRIVATE IS THE KEY WORD FOR POW MOW

  8. POW MOW HAS ALREADY IN JUST THE FIRST 3 MONTHS OF OWNERSHIP GREATLY PRIVATIZED A LOCAL SKI RESORT…… PRIVATE LODGE / TERRAIN / BIG “EVENTS” THAT ARE INVITATION ONLY …… AND WERE NOT ENVITED !! THEY SAY THEY HIRE LOCALS FOR THE EVENTS BUT REALLY ONLY HIRE MEXICAN DAY LABORERS OR INMATES FROM THE “LOCAL” JAILS ……….. GOT TA MAKE A BUCK …..

  9. POW MOW WILL ALL BE PRIVATE NO MONEY NO FUNNY , NONE AT ALL , THANK GREEG GREER ,HE WANTS ITALL FOR HIS BUDS AND KIDS ….. THATS FAIR I GUESS IF THE NEW OWNERS ARE GONA GO ALONG WITH IT … JUST HIKE FOR POW !!!

  10. who cares that the lifts are the slowest in America , the problem is they seem to all break down every powder day !!

  11. I am 80 years old and the powder mountain lifts are way to slow for me . I think a 90 yr old would find them just about right …….boring !!

  12. Summit has already committed to nothing to fix up the resort , live with it !!!! all us seniors like it that way …..

  13. powder mountain will never have working chairlifts , its gona be all cat $ sking and private zones that the homeowners have mo beta access to

  14. I left pow mow when the lifts got so bad I could walk up the hill faster . just get a split board and youl get more pow for free

  15. Just by a lift ticket and start walking ,its the only resort in America where people pay to hike ? WHY ?

  16. POWDER MTN is fun but only if you hike for it . The lifts are HORIBLE and the cats that get the majority of the terrain are pricey …… only the bosses and patrollers get around easy at that place

  17. POW MOW is sooooo fun , great new owners !! BUT it has the WORST lifts in AMERICA !! hope for changes

  18. Please put up a few new chair lifts that the common folks [paying customers] can use ….. Timberline and Sundown cost more to maintain than new lifts would cost ….. Just ask Danny .Mark + Stevo [maint] The loud mouths that want to keep pow mow old and funkey don’t actually ski there EVER !

  19. The new resort owners are putting up great new lifts that we cant use and we are stuck with the slowest /worst chairlifts in AMERICA ….. rich boy club

  20. Danny just wants to hang with some rich Cali. trust fund kids , follow the money ! HAAAAAAAAa

  21. Pow mow has a new lodge that we cant use [only rich kids] a new lift we cant use , a bunch of terrain we now cant use ….. how is that good ?

  22. Powder mountains biggest problem is that 50 rich kids bought it. The best part of PowMow was the real feel. Now it will be Park City light and the common person won’t be able to ski there.

  23. They need a better access road. Existing one is a very hairy steep winding 2 lane road.
    one of the worst to any ski area. Another entrance from Logan area would help.
    Active NIMBY’s will fight these guys every step of the way.

    Prime example is it took 10 years to get the mile long “short cut” road from Trappers Loop
    to Snowbasin approved (even with all the political clout and $$$ that the CEO & also pres
    of Sinclair Oil has)

    Gondola from Ogden to Snowbasin is DOA due to rich landowners on the benches.

    Powder Mt’s other problem is lack of lift serviced advanced trails. A lift in the roadside “Powder
    Country” back country or Lightening Rdge cat ski area would help.

  24. The place has potential, it’s just way out there. If they can create the ‘exclusive’ feeling that rich skiers want, they might be on to something. It’s tough for most to drive past the cottonwoods, but if you can create a village with all things upper class, they’ll certainly come.

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