Incoming Powder Mountain owners to enhance resort

Dec 4 2012 - 4:18pm

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Chief Reconnaissance Officer Thayer Walker (right) talks about remodeling work with Summit founder Elliott Bisnow behind him inside the partially remodeled Powder Keg restaurant at Powder Mountain ski resort on Friday, November 30, 2012.  (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)
Summit founder Elliott Bisnow talks about development plans inside the partially remodeled Powder Keg restaurant at Powder Mountain ski resort on Friday, November 30, 2012. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)
Chief Reconnaissance Officer Thayer Walker (right) talks about remodeling work with Summit founder Elliott Bisnow behind him inside the partially remodeled Powder Keg restaurant at Powder Mountain ski resort on Friday, November 30, 2012.  (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)
Summit founder Elliott Bisnow talks about development plans inside the partially remodeled Powder Keg restaurant at Powder Mountain ski resort on Friday, November 30, 2012. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)

EDEN -- New light fixtures overhead and new subway tiles on the wall behind the counter will go along with a new menu at the Powder Keg. Similar improvements can be expected at the other cafeterias and restaurants at Powder Mountain Resort. 

The changes are courtesy of Summit Group, the company behind the Summit Series leadership conference, which took over management of the resort Nov. 5.

The company plans to assume ownership of Powder Mountain in the beginning of 2013. The resort will serve as the company's headquarters and home base for future events.

Aside from better food, the soon-to-be new owners said they will work to maintain the same character and feel of the resort.

"This is a local mountain. This is a people's mountain, and we're basically just trying to enhance it," Summit Chief Reconnaissance Officer Thayer Walker said.

During a meeting with Summit, the company leadership -- most of whom are entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s -- said their goal is to develop the mountain with the goal of preserving uncrowded runs and open spaces.

"We don't want to change a lot. We want to preserve and respect the tradition of Powder Mountain," Summit founder and Chief Executive Officer Elliott Bisnow said.

Bisnow moved to the area in February. He said he and his partners like the atmosphere and the activities available in the area, such as Historic 25th Street in Ogden, as well as the many outdoor activities, including mountain-biking and kayaking.

"It seems to be that Ogden is on its way to be the next Boulder, Colo.," Summit co-founder and curator Jeff Rosenthal said.

Summit owners said they hope to bring a philosophy of sustainability and environmental consciousness to the resort to maintain all of the aspects they enjoyed when they first arrived.

"We love the fact that you can get affordable food, and the lift tickets are affordable," Rosenthal said.

The owners said they would limit most of the development to the backside of Powder Mountain, away from the in-bounds ski areas. Materials used in such development would be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Much of the food in the restaurant would be locally sourced or provided by local businesses, such as the Lucky Slice, which will make the pizza for the cafeteria.

Last month, the Weber County Commission approved a petition to rezone several thousand acres at Powder Mountain resort. The rezone pertains to about 4,297 acres of the Ogden Valley resort, which may be used to build a golf course, affordable housing for employees and other development, such as condominiums and an expanded ski area.

The rezone is part of plans first put forward in 2006 by Western American Holdings LLC, which owns the resort through the end of the year.

Summit officials said there are no plans, at this time, to build many of those projects, including a golf course, which goes against the company's vision for the resort.

Summit does have a plan, however, to build a 3,000-square-foot events center, as well as a development of 500 single-family homes -- using sustainable, prefabricated materials -- called Summit Eden, which Rosenthal said would be in the style of a "Bohemian European Village." The village may include coffee shops and other retail space in the future.

This area will also become home base for Summit and its events.

Other development will follow a cluster philosophy along the lower south side of the mountain, which Summit said will leave more open space and a smaller footprint.

Walker said, "We hope to move our development plan forward in a smart, sustainable, and incremental way, taking input from the local community."

Summit will have more of an idea of future development after it assumes ownership, but construction may begin as early as May 1, starting with improving roads and infrastructure.

Aside from what they call lighter development, Summit owners want to make Powder Mountain a four-season resort, with activities such as mountain-biking trails and ziplines.

In the immediate future, the new owners hope to keep cars off the mountain and encourage parking in the valley. To do so, the resort will run a shuttle from the Wolf Barn, which Summit purchased.

Walker said the resort is looking at ways to heavily incentivise use of the shuttle.

Bisnow said he hopes to have contact through email and town hall meetings with season pass holders. The website, www.summit.co, will have a community forum where customers and the community can share ideas with the company.

 

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