Summit Series Assumes Management of Powder Mountain

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The Summit Series is now operating Powder Mountain, the sale of the ski resort will become final in early 2013, significant changes are coming, and the Ogden Valley is buzzing with excitement. 

According to an article in Forbes 12/3/2012 online edition by Steven Bertoni, “The Summit Series, the five-year old entrepreneur conference run by a gang of mostly twenty-something nomads, has announced that it has taken over management of Utah’s Powder Mountain (rumors have been around for months) and is set to close the transaction to purchase the resort in early 2013.” 

Powder Mountain is located in the Ogden Valley, a gorgeous, idyllic alpine valley ringed by jagged peaks, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain ski resorts, and is the home of Pineview Reservoir, a popular destination for fishing, boating and water sports.  The resort gets an annual average of 500 inches of Utah’s famous “greatest snow on earth,” and has over 10,000 acres of terrain that could be utilized for skiing and touring, making it potentially the largest ski resort in terms of acres in North America.   Salt Lake and its international airport are less than an hour’s drive away.

Bertoni also gives some history of the Summit Series. “Summit in recent years gained notoriety in the start-up world for its annual A-list-packed, weekend conferences that have taken over both a cruise ship and Squaw Valley, California.  These innovation festivals have included speakers and attendees like President Bill Clinton, Virgin Billionaire Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Russel Simmons and Ted Turner.  Now it’s transforming itself from an annual event to a year-round community.  Think entrepreneurial country club.”

And he goes on to describe how the Powder Mountain project will work.  “Members buy plots of land on Powder Mountain (early lots were rumored to have sold for $1million a pop), build a home and get access to a private lodge and thousands of acres of skiing riding, biking and hiking.  Membership also brings a year-round program of speakers, conferences and concerts.  The goal is to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who dig the Summit ethos of innovation, art, and social impact with some hard partying mixed in.

Gregory Ferenstein, writing for the blog Tech Crunch, offers the thoughts of investor Tim Cheng, managing director of the Mayfield Fund, who has held gatherings at the Summit’s temporary lodge.  “Imagine authentic friendship and community of something like Burning Man, but with deeper substance, a la TED.”

This reporter attended an open house for the public hosted by Summit Series founder Elliot Bisnow and other partners in the Powder Mountain project, and their philosophy and initial plans for the resort were very well received…and by a local community ofter leery of development plans for their pristine valley.  Bisnow and his associates are young, bright, articulate, and offered promises of a low impact, environmentally friendly development that will retain the unique, family feel of all that is Powder Mountain.  The resort will remain open to the public.

500 homes for Summit Series members surrounding a village will be the center of the initial phase of development, and a lodge and meeting facilities for Summit meetings and seminars has already been approved.  Bisnow talked about a “world-class transportation system” which would utilize shuttles to attack the thorny problem of the Powder Mountain access road.  Homes will be limited to a modest 4,000 sq. ft. (at least for such a well-heeled group), and will be built with as much green technology as possible.

The Summit Series is making a sustained and what appears to be sincere effort to become an integral part of the local community, and improve the lifestyle of Ogden Valley’s residents, as well as those who visit Powder Mountain for recreation.

So how will this news impact the real estate market in the Ogden Valley?  A positive impact is a given…unless you’re looking for a great deal.  Local real estate agents report calls from clients desperate to purchase property before prices go up after they saw the initial flood of media reporting on the Summit Series acquisition.  And all the positive press and buzz surrounding the developments at Powder Mountain follow Powder Magazine’s ranking of Ogden, Utah (adjacent to Ogden Valley) as the “# 2 ski town in North America and a National Georgraphic online feature that gushed that the town is a “Disneyland for adrenalized adults.”