The New York Times just profiled Montana's most exclusive ski area, the Yellowstone Club, and things are looking up for the 13,600-acre private club. After defaulting on a $375 million loan in November 2008, the Yellowstone Club spent years trying to clean up from a messy divorce case and bankruptcy. But though the caviar bar might be gone, the Yellowstone Club is back on top and thriving.
Not just anyone can ski the Yellowstone Club. Condos start around $4 million, single-family homes at $5 million, and members must pay an initial fee of $300,000 to join. And don't forget the $36,000 a year for dues. But what does it all get you? Try 15 chairlifts, an 18-hold golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, and three ski lodges servicing 2,200 skiable acres. And powder, of course. You'll never see anything like this at the Yellowstone Club, with maybe a few hundred people on the mountain at a time. They don't have powder days at the Yellowstone Club, they have powder weeks.
We gleaned 10 insightful facts from the recent article in the New York Times that prove this tony resort is thriving. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. In the last two years alone, the Yellowstone club has sold nearly $1 billion in real estate.
2. Membership at the Yellowstone Club has doubled and these are just your Joe Schmoes. There were 260 members in 2009 and now there are more than 500 member households, including Bill Gates and Hollywood producer Peter Chernin.
3. The Yellowstone Club now employs 700 people in the winter and 450 in the summer.
4. Construction is booming. The New York Times estimates that 2,000-3,000 contractors commute into the Yellowstone Club each day to build homes, renovate lodges, and break ground on new projects.
5. More creative license is being allowed in the architecture of new buildings in Yellowstone Club. Forget traditional ski homes with huge log timber, modern is the hit trend with lots of sharp angles, glass, and metal.
6. The Yellowstone Club has chosen to put land that was slated to be developed on the mountain into a conservation easement. It's a win-win for conservationists and skiers, as this will allow the club to focus instead on building condos, duplexes, and amenities near the base of Pioneer Mountain.
7. The caviar bar has been turned into a breakfast buffet. Enough said.
8. A useless grand ballroom planned for the basement of the Warren Miller Lodge has now been dedicated to basketball, games, and a movie theater. Kids everywhere rejoice.
9. Under the Yellowstone Club's previous owners, members spent an average of 20 days per year at the club. Now, that number is up to 60.
10. Improvements are in the works. Skiers can expect more restaurants, a golf clubhouse, below-ground parking, and new spa and fitness facilities. But don't worry billionaires, membership is capped at 864 households, so you'll never see Vail-style crowds.
Looks like the world of high-end ski real estate has officially rebounded from 2008.
· Huge Ski Resort for the Rich Is Bouncing Back [NYT]
· 10 Fast Facts On The Ski Industry's Biggest Player: Vail Resorts [Curbed Ski]
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· Hey Skiers, Now's the Time to Buy That $25M Ski Chalet [Curbed Ski]
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