Memberships of Privilege: Powder Aplenty
The morning after a huge storm has dumped 3 feet of feather-light powder across the Rocky Mountains, members and guests of the Yellowstone Club are leisurely sipping coffee and easing into their ski boots beside a roaring fire. Absent is the panic they would be experiencing at any major ski resort, the fear that if they do not reach the top of the mountain soon, a night’s worth of fresh snow will be gone, packed and cut up by hordes of skiers intent on getting first tracks.
Such fear would be completely unfounded at Yellowstone Club, where skiers are privy to an area larger than Deer Valley, Beaver Creek, or Telluride, and the slopes are limited to a fraction of the number of skiers that even the smallest resorts see. With more than 60 trails, eight lifts, and 2,200 acres of terrain spread across two mountain areas, Yellowstone Club could easily accommodate 20,000 skiers. But its slopes are reserved for its 864 members, who never have to wait for a lift or worry about finding untracked powder.
From the top of 10,000-foot Pioneer Mountain, you can drop off the back side to access acres of pristine tree runs, while skiing off the front means taking on one of the steeply pitched chutes that plummet to a gentler canopy of immaculately groomed intermediate runs.
Skiing was the driving force behind this project, founded by timber baron Tim Blixseth and his wife, Edra, but the 13,400-acre compound also includes trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and dogsledding. After the snow melts, those same trails become available for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Anglers have access to miles of private fishing along the southwest fork of the Gallatin River, and the first nine holes of a par-72 golf course recently opened. The course was designed by resident and former British Open champ Tom Weiskopf.
Attire is casual at the property’s three restaurants, and social events such as fly-fishing clinics and overnight camping trips are designed to let members mingle in relaxed settings. Large building lots and a remote location tucked between Yellowstone National Park and Big Sky Mountain assure privacy, as does a security force led by a U.S. Secret Service veteran.
The club plans to double its skiable terrain and add more lifts as well as a gondola. A new stable area for horses, the completion of the golf course, and a 110,000-square-foot lodge that will hold condos, retail space, dining, and conference facilities are also in the works.
Joining the club
Membership is by invitation only and requires the final approval of the club’s owners and a $250,000 initiation fee. Members must purchase property at the club. Homesites ranging from 1 to 6 acres, some with ski-in/ski-out access, are priced from $1.1 million to $3.5 million, and 160-acre ranch sites start at $8 million. Custom-built homes range in price from $3 million to $9 million, and 5,000-square-foot, on-mountain chalets start at $4.2 million. Annual membership dues are $16,000. While their homes are being built, members can stay at the cabins adjacent to the Rainbow Lodge, one of three lodges at the club.