This week NPR's Elise Hu filed a report from Powder Mountain, where the group of young and wildly ambitious entrepreneurs behind the Summit Series, which Business Insider described as "a Davos for the up-and-comers," have begun construction on their permanent conference home, Summit Eden, after buying Powder Mountain for $40 million this past December. The article focused on the "young thrill-seekers" alternative development model for the quite resort, the plan for 500 homes to pay off the investment, down from the former owner's plans for "thousands of units," and the funky group of investors already signed up, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, pro snowboarder Danny Davis, and pop-music maker Dr. Luke.
But what NPR may or may not have anticipated was the online response that followed, some of which criticized them for writing "a love fest of a story" about "rich narcissistic brats" who somehow think their vacation timeshare project is going to save the world, while the article itself lacked input from locals. Others derided Summit for their potential to turn quiet and downhome Powder Mountain into another rich people-only Vail or Aspen to the exclusion of the local middle-class population (there were some misconceptions that Summit plans to make the resort private; so far their plans are to keep it open to the public as it's been). Still others doubted the financial success of the development itself and the group's high-flying idealism. What is clear is that whatever red carpet this group of young entrepreneurs walked in on, it's surrounded by skeptics anxious to see how all the Summit Series' idealistic marketing translates into local action.