April 24, 2024

Netflix Billionaire Buys North America’s Largest Ski Resort

The latest news in the ski world is the marriage of a 21st-century tech billionaire and a troubled ski mountain. In one fell swoop, Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix, has made a $100 million investment in Powder Mountain, Utah, the country’s largest resort. Hastings, who stepped down as CEO of Netflix in January and became a minority owner of Powder Mountain in April, ascended to majority owner of the resort with this investment on September 6.

Powder Mountain is the largest ski resort in North America by skiable acres. Located above Northern Utah’s Ogden Valley, the resort extends over 8,464 acres. It has 54 trails, nine lifts, and two terrain parks. It also has cat skiing options that extend the range of terrain possibilities. It receives upwards of 500 inches of legendary Utah powder in good snow years. It also lies about an hour north of Salt Lake City International Airport, not in a remote wilderness area. Powder Mountain’s skier policies have also elevated it in the skiing world. It’s the rare resort that has the unusual and welcome policy of capping day passes and season pass sales to provide an uncrowded ski experience.

For the past decade, Powder Mountain was owned by the guys behind the Summit Series conferences, who bought the resort for $40 million in 2013 and saw the unsung resort as an opportunity to build an eco-friendly ski resort for the tech wealthy. The intention was to build 500 homes in a village set at 9,000 feet, along with various science, medical, and educational facilities. They ran into countless challenges, and as the project foundered, Hastings, who already owned a house here, stepped in with a big check and a new vision.

“This is an investment in what we consider to be the ultimate skier experience,” said Hastings. “My wife Patty and I love this place; we love the untracked powder several days after a storm cycle, we love the vastness of the terrain, and we love the community. We’re looking to accentuate what has always made it special. We’ll do that by making it more easily accessible, by bolstering infrastructure and amenities, and by maintaining the uncrowded feel Powder Mountain is known for.”

Hastings intends for the investment to have an immediate impact. The influx of cash is earmarked for improvements that will expand skiable terrain, create a new Nordic and snowshoe trail system, and support the progression of all levels, abilities, and ages on the mountain.

Notable improvements for winter 2023/24 include DMI Guided Backcountry Terrain. Powder Mountain will open access to 500 acres of some of the steepest terrain accessible from the mountain. The newly opened terrain is DMI (Don’t Mention It) and offers views of the Eden Valley and the Ogden Divide. Skiers can look forward to 3,000 feet of vertical drop, chutes, and open bowls. In short, it’s steep technical terrain for the big dogs, challenging enough that it can only be skied with a guide.

A new cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trail network near the Village lift will offer guests additional ways to get onto the snow, while a new on-trail warming hut will provide hot chocolate.

The resort’s new activity hub, the Launch Pad Yurt, will open in December near the top of the Village chair. The Launch Pad will serve as the jumping-off point for various winter activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, moonbike tours, snowmobile tours, and more. Moonbikes, new this year, are easy-to-ride electric snow bikes, opening up Powder’s terrain with a guide.

One other addition: at a time when triple-digit lift tickets are commonplace in the ski world, Powder Mountain will offer $19 night skiing lift tickets, available to everyone every night.

Now, that’s radical.

Visit Powder Mountain.

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